Meet our Next Speaker

Steven Pifer

December 5, 2022

Topic: Putin's War: Ramifications and Response

Steven Pifer is an affiliate with Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation as well as a non-resident senior fellow with the Brookings Institution. He was a William J. Perry Research Fellow at the center from 2018-2020 and a fellow at the Robert Bosch Academy in Berlin from January-May 2021.

Pifer’s research focuses on nuclear arms control, Ukraine, Russia and European security. He has offered commentary on these issues on National Public Radio, PBS NewsHour, CNN, Fox News and BBC, and his articles have run in the New York Times, Washington Post, National Interest, Moscow Times and Kyiv Post, among others.  He is the author of “The Eagle and the Trident: U.S.-Ukraine Relations in Turbulent Times” (Brookings Institution Press, 2017), and co-author of “The Opportunity: Next Steps in Reducing Nuclear Arms” (Brookings Institution Press, 2012).

A retired Foreign Service officer, Pifer’s more than 25 years with the State Department focused on U.S. relations with the former Soviet Union and Europe, as well as arms control and security issues.  He served as deputy assistant secretary of state in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs with responsibilities for Russia and Ukraine (2001-2004), ambassador to Ukraine (1998-2000), and special assistant to the president and senior director for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia on the National Security Council (1996-1997).  In addition to Ukraine, he served at the U.S. embassies in Warsaw, Moscow and London as well as with the U.S. delegation to the negotiation on intermediate-range nuclear forces in Geneva.  From 2000 to 2001, he was a visiting scholar at Stanford’s Institute for International Studies, and he was a resident scholar at the Brookings Institution from 2008 to 2017.

Ambassador Pifer is a 1976 graduate of Stanford University with a bachelor’s in economics.

Meetings open to members and members’ guests only.  Unless otherwise noted, all meetings take place at Elk Hall, 210 Rankin Street in Rockland.  Please plan on arriving by 11:30 AM for noon meetings.  The speaker begins promptly at noon and lunch is served from 1 PM.

Audios of Past Presentations

Listed below are links to recent presentations. Click to listen:

For Would-be New Members:

It’s pretty simple: just click here to display and fill out a Membership Form.

How to Contact Us

We can be contacted by email, mail, or phone:

The Mid-Coast Forum on Foreign Relations
PO Box 41
Rockport, ME 04856
207-236-8288

 info@midcoastforum.org

Upcoming Speakers

  • December 5, 2022
    Steven Pifer
    Topic: Putin's War: Ramifications and Response
  • December 12, 2022
    Daniel Golden
    Topic: Ransomware
  • January 9, 2023
    Admiral Michael Rogers
    Topic: Russia-Ukraine: how did we get here and what does it portend for the future?
  • May 8, 2023
    Christopher Costa
    Topic: Reflections on Counterterrorism and the Future Terrorism Threat
  • July 10, 2023
    Thomas Ricks
    Topic: First Principles: What America's Founders Learned from the Greeks and Romans and How That Shaped Our Country

View all speakers past and present »

Articles

Would Putin Roll the Nuclear Dice?

Posted on Tuesday November 1

By Steven Pifer, Time, October 18, 2022 Since Russia launched its most recent invasion of Ukraine in February, Moscow has threatened—sometimes subtly, other times explicitly—nuclear escalation should the war not go its way. Ukraine and the West have to take such threats seriously. But the Kremlin also needs to take their probable responses seriously and […]

Read full announcement »

We can’t afford US Congress wavering in its support for Ukraine

Posted on Tuesday November 1

By Steven Pifer, The Guardian, October 27, 2022 On 24 October, 30 members of the House Democratic Progressive Caucus released a letter to Joe Biden calling for a “proactive diplomatic push” on Kyiv to work toward a ceasefire and “direct [US] engagement” with Moscow to end the Russia-Ukraine war. One week earlier, Republican House leader Kevin […]

Read full announcement »

Taliban facing backlash after U.S. drone strike against al-Qaeda leader

Posted on Monday October 3

By Pamela Constable, The Washington Post, August 2, 2022 KABUL — The U.S. drone strike that killed al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri here early Sunday also struck a humiliating blow against the Taliban regime, which had secretly hosted the aging extremist in the heart of the Afghan capital for months but failed to keep him safe. […]

Read full announcement »

Beneath Kabul’s surprising veneer of normalcy, a precarious balancing act

Posted on Monday October 3

By Pamela Constable, The Washington Post, August 11, 2022 KABUL — An uneasy calm has settled over the Afghan capital this summer, a wary detente between the country’s stern religious rulers and a deflated, worried populace that is struggling to survive but also relieved that the punishing 20-year war involving foreign troops is over. Both […]

Read full announcement »

Restore Reagan’s Military ‘Margin of Safety’

Posted on Wednesday September 7

By Roger Zakheim, The Wall Street Journal, August 28, 2022  The U.S. faces the most daunting security landscape in 45 years. That’s no coincidence. Earlier this year Russia launched the bloodiest armed conflict in Europe since World War II, and this summer China publicly displayed plans to strangle or swallow the free people of Taiwan. Leaders […]

Read full announcement »

What is America’s end-game for the war in Ukraine?

Posted on Thursday July 28

By Felicia Schwartz and Amy Kazmin, Financial Times, May 29, 2022 Shortly before Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine in February, General Mark Milley, the chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, gave a pessimistic view of the prospects. One possible outcome, he told a closed congressional hearing, was that Kyiv could fall within 72 […]

Read full announcement »

Collapse of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces: An Assessment of the Factors That Led to Its Demise

Posted on Monday June 27

By the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), May 2022 Since 2002, the United States has allocated nearly $90 billion in security sector assistance to the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF), with the goal of developing an independent, self-sustaining force capable of combating both internal and external threats. Yet, in August 2021, […]

Read full announcement »

The big emerging question: How to finance the net-zero transition in emerging markets

Posted on Monday June 13

By Paul Bodnar, Jean Boivin, and Isabelle Mateos y Lago, Black Rock Investment Institute, October 2021 Climate change is a global crisis that requires a global response. Without a successful green transition everywhere, climate risk is unmanageable anywhere. Reaching the globally agreed climate goals requires speed – notably a 50% reduction in emissions by 2030, […]

Read full announcement »

USAID Development Assistance Counter Terrorism: A Guide to Programming

Posted on Friday May 6

Below you will find the USAID document that Stacia George thought would provide a helpful background in advance of her May 2022 presentation on counter terrorism. USAID Development Assistance Counter Terrorism: A Guide to Programming. October 2009. This guide discusses the implications for practitioners pursuing development objectives in the context of counter-extremism (CE). Because programming […]

Read full announcement »

Understanding Central Asia’s Cautious Approach to Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine

Posted on Friday April 1

By Bruce Pannier, Foreign Policy Research Institute, March 25, 2022 The governments in Central Asia are treading cautiously in their remarks about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Central Asia, too, was part of the Russian Empire and Soviet Union, and, when some in Central Asia see the news from Ukraine, they might wonder if they are […]

Read full announcement »

Ambassador Laura Kennedy: Article, Podcast, and Video

Posted on Friday April 1

Below you will find an article, podcast, and video that Ambassador Laura Kennedy thought would provide a helpful background on the “Stans” in advance of her April 2022 presentation. Dealing with Kazakhstan’s Nuclear Inheritance, Foreign Service Journal, March 30,2022. Ambassador Kennedy’s book review of Atomic Steppe: How Kazakhstan gave up the bomb by Togzhan Kassenova. To […]

Read full announcement »

Trump and Obama: The odd couple who broke ‘extended deterrence’ for the Indo-Pacific

Posted on Thursday March 3

By David Cooper in The Hill on February 24, 2021  If there is an upside to nuclear weapons it is extended deterrence. This term refers to the “nuclear umbrella” that the United States promises to extend over its closest allies in Asia and Europe to protect against hostile nuclear powers who otherwise might be tempted to […]

Read full announcement »

A Nuclear Cruise Missile Could Be Vital For Arms Control And Nonproliferation Efforts

Posted on Thursday March 3

By David Cooper in Breaking Defense on September 7, 2021 A simmering debate over the fate of the new intermediate-range nuclear-armed sea-launched cruise missile (SLCM-N), initiated by the Trump administration, has centered on whether the weapon is needed to strengthen deterrence in the face of escalating geostrategic competition with China and Russia. Because then-candidate Joe […]

Read full announcement »

Turning Away from the Middle East

Posted on Wednesday February 16

By Steven Simon in the New York Review of Books, April 8, 2021. The Biden administration will not have a lot of time for the Middle East. Its foreign policy agenda will more likely be shaped by the looming question of how to come to grips with Xi Jinping’s China. To read the entire essay, […]

Read full announcement »

Why is the U.S. Military Occupying Bases Across Africa?

Posted on Friday January 21

By Eric Schewe in JSTOR Daily, April 11, 2018 In recent months, many Americans have been surprised to learn that the U.S. has an extensive military presence in Africa. In recent months, many Americans have been surprised to learn that the U.S. has an extensive military presence in Africa. An intelligence snafu over fitness tracker […]

Read full announcement »

Read all announcements »