Debate: Should Washington Talk to Moscow Now?


As Russia’s war in Ukraine enters its third year, the threat of a protracted stalemate looms large. With Ukraine’s summer offensive stalled, Russia’s forces digging in, and the West wavering on financial and military aid, the Biden administration now faces difficult choices. Should Washington pursue peace negotiations with Moscow now, or would such efforts be premature and counterproductive?

On January 23, the Center for the National Interest hosted a virtual debate on this important question featuring two leading Eurasia experts: Anatol Lieven (in favor) and Andrew Kuchins (against.)

—Anatol Lieven is Director of the Eurasia Program at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. He was formerly a professor at Georgetown University in Qatar and in the War Studies Department of King’s College London. Lieven recently co-authored a piece titled “Russia’s upper hand puts U.S.-Ukraine at a crossroads.”

—Andrew Kuchins is a Senior Fellow at the Center for the National Interest. He recently served as the President of the American University of Central Asia in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Previously, he was Director of the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (2007-2015) and at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (2000-2003, 2006), where he also directed the Carnegie Moscow Center (2003-2005).

Jacob Heilbrunn, the editor of The National Interest, moderated the debate.