Carnegie Mellon University


Putin says his Ukraine invasion is about NATO. Here’s how you know he’s lying, April 8, 2022

In his fateful speech on February 24, Putin justified his impending invasion of Ukraine by focusing on numerous grievances against the West. His main complaint, however, was clear: The eastward expansion of NATO since the 1990s and its enlargement to Russia’s borders. This, in his narrative, is the causus belli justifying his campaign. Yet careful scrutiny shows that Putin is lying about NATO as his key motivation for the invasion. 

How do we know? A wider view of Russian military interventions in the post-Soviet space is key. Ukraine is the most ambitious, but by no means only, attempt by Putin to intervene in a neighbor state. Since his rise to power in 1999, Putin has intervened in many countries, including Georgia in 2008, Ukraine in 2014, Syria since 2015, and Belarus and Kazakhstan in the last two years. These events show it is democratization, more than NATO, that Putin fears.


Grassroots Environmental Activism Is One Answer to China’s Climate Commitments, December 17, 2021

On November 4, 2021 the Chinese government released a white paper detailing its past accomplishments and objectives for combatting climate change. Among other goals, the Chinese Communist Party government pledged to reach “peak carbon” output by 2030 and to create a carbon neutral economy by 2060.

The Chinese commitments drew criticism from world leaders, including US President Joe Biden, who called them “disappointing.” Furthermore, an unexpected energy shortage in recent months led the Chinese government to call for a compensatory, short-term increase in coal production. With these crosswinds – international pressure to decarbonize and domestic pressure to cheapen energy costs – will China honor even its “disappointing” public commitments?


Were Twenty Years in Afghanistan “Costless”? October 12, 2021

There has been a significant outcry that the decision to withdraw US forces from Afghanistan was a mistakeespecially given the chaos that unfolded there during the spring and especially over the summer of this year. A key pillar of this argument is that our presence in Afghanistan was virtually “costless” in terms of American lives lost. Daniel Silverman and Kyle Larson argue here that this idea of a costless “forever war” is deeply misleading.


IPS Assistant Teaching Professor Colin P. Clarke parsed the Department of Homeland Security's Homeland Threat Assessment report.


IPS Senior Fellow Richard Grenell outlined America's foreign-policy goals for the next ten years and the means by which to achieve them. 


IPS Research Fellow Abby W. Schachter excerpted an essay she wrote about the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting. The essay will appear in the book, Bound in the Bond of Life: Pittsburgh writers reflect on the Tree of Life tragedy, which was released October 27, 2020, the two-year anniversary of the shooting.


IPS Postdoctoral Fellow Daniel Hansen discussed the Federal Reserve's policy shift and the difference in expected outcomes between inflation-based and employment-based policies.


Research Coordinator John Chin analyzed the coup in Mali that unseated Ibrahim B. Keita, the first unconstitutional military ouster of the coronavirus era. 


Colin Dueck, a professor at George Mason University who gave a virtual lecture this semester at the IPS Policy Forum, authored the inaugural article in our online extension of the Carnegie Mellon University Journal of Politics and Strategy. His piece discusses the ways in which the Trump administration can take a hard stance with allies and competitors, but also expresses a willingness to negotiate.