“We have to take the threat posed by Putin's Russia quite seriously,” William J. Burns says. Burns came to know Vladimir Putin as well as just about any American over a decades-long career in American diplomacy. Today he reflects on the lessons and missed opportunities of those decades in U.S.-Russia relations.
Burns looked back at the British author Anatol Lieven’s 1996 warning about Russian risks, “A New Iron Curtain,” for an episode of the Masthead’s podcast.
This issue sums up Burns’s review of U.S.-Russian history. You can hear him go into detail in our podcast feed. The audio is available on SoundCloud, or you can get it directly in your podcast player.
By Matt Peterson
Anyone caught flat-footed by Russia’s global aggression in recent years missed a lot of warning signs. That’s the inescapable conclusion I’ve reached after reading through The Atlantic’s archives for our Masthead podcast series. A careful reader will find worryingly accurate predictions in our pages of how the next couple of decades would play out. To name just a few from the turbulent end of the Soviet Union:
To access this story, become a member
Sign up for our brand-new membership program, The Masthead, and you’ll not only receive exclusive content you can’t find anywhere else—you’ll also help fund a sustainable future for journalism.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.