Paul J. Saunders

Russia, Eurasia, Indo-Pacific, Political Development, Energy Security, Energy Technology, Climate Policy and Climate Diplomacy, National Security

Paul J. Saunders is President of the Center for the National Interest and a member of its board of directors. His expertise spans U.S. foreign and security policy, energy security and climate change, U.S.-Russia relations and Russian foreign policy, and U.S. relations with Japan and South Korea.

Saunders is a Senior Advisor at Energy Innovation Reform Project, where he served as President from 2019 to 2024. He has been a member of EIRP’s board of directors since 2013 and served as chairman from 2014 to 2019. At EIRP, Saunders has focused on the collision between great power competition and the energy transition, including such issues as energy security, energy technology competition, and climate policy in a divided world. In this context, he has engaged deeply in energy and climate issues in the Indo-Pacific region, especially U.S. relations with Japan and South Korea. His most recent project at EIRP is an assessment of Russia’s evolving role in the global energy system.

From 2005 to 2019, Saunders was Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer of the Center for the National Interest. In addition to his management role, he directed the Center’s U.S.-Russian Relations Program and led projects on other issues, including energy and climate change and U.S.- Japan relations. He also served as Associate Publisher of the foreign policy magazine The National Interest.

Saunders served in the Bush Administration from 2003 to 2005 as Senior Advisor to the Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs. In that capacity, he worked on a broad range of transnational issues, in particular with respect to Russia, Ukraine, and the former Soviet Union, as well as Iraq, China and India.

Earlier, Saunders served as Director of the Center from 1997 to 2003, and was Assistant Director of the Center from its founding in 1994 until 1997. In 2000, he was a Senior Policy Advisor to the Speaker’s Advisory Group on Russia, established by the Republican Policy Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Saunders has written extensively for major newspapers and journals, and is a frequent commentator in national media. He is the author of Restoring America’s Nuclear Energy Leadership and Exports, Energy Technology in an Era of Great Power Competition, Land Use Requirements of Solar and Wind Power: Understanding a Decade of Academic Research, Toward an Indo-Pacific Clean Energy Framework (with Amelia Gilchrist), Ambitious Mandates, Ambivalent Communities: Land Use Challenges to New York’s Renewable Power GoalsExtended Deterrence in a Changing AsiaRussian Energy and European Security, and Russia and the Greater Middle East: Challenges and Opportunities (with Geoffrey Kemp). He is the editor of various works including A New Direction in U.S.-Russia Relations? America’s Challenges & Opportunities in Dealing with RussiaCosts of a New Cold War: The U.S.-Russia Confrontation over Ukraine and Enduring Rivalry: American and Russian Perspectives on the Former Soviet Space.

You can follow him on X (Twitter) @1796Farewell.

Recent Publications: