Countering Russia’s Assertive Foreign Policy

On November 30, Partnership for a Secure America and the United States Institute of Peace hosted an off-the-record briefing on Russia’s increasingly assertive foreign policy and the role of Congress in guiding future relations between the U.S. and Russia.  Ambassador Bill Taylor, Executive Vice President at USIP, was joined by Dr. Michael Carpenter, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia, to discuss the strategic implications of Russia’s foreign policy that includes the use of disinformation campaigns, hybrid warfare tactics in Ukraine and Georgia, and intervention in violent conflicts like Syria and Afghanistan.  This discussion was moderated by Cory Welt, Analyst in European Affairs at the Congressional Research Service.

Ambassador Bill Taylor

William B.Taylor

William B. Taylor is the executive vice president at the U.S. Institute of Peace.  Earlier, he was the special coordinator for Middle East Transitions in the U.S. State Department.  He oversaw assistance and support to Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, and Syria.  He served as the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine from 2006 to 2009.

He also served as the U.S. government’s representative to the Mideast Quartet, which facilitated the Israeli disengagement from Gaza and parts of the West Bank.  He served in Baghdad as the first director of the Iraq Reconstruction Management Office from 2004 to 2005, and in Kabul as coordinator of international and U.S. assistance to Afghanistan from 2002 to 2003.  Ambassador Taylor was also coordinator of U.S. assistance to the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. He earlier served on the staff of Senator Bill Bradley.

He is a graduate of West Point and Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and served as an infantry platoon leader and combat company commander in the U.S. Army in Vietnam and Germany.


Dr. Michael Carpenter

carpenter michael

Dr. Michael Carpenter is a nonresident senior fellow with the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center. He is also senior director of the Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement at the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Carpenter is a former deputy assistant secretary of defense with responsibility for Russia, Ukraine, Eurasia, the Balkans, and Conventional Arms Control. Prior to joining the Department of Defense, Dr. Carpenter served in the White House as a foreign policy adviser to Vice President Joe Biden and as director for Russia at the National Security Council. Previously, he was a career foreign service officer with the State Department, where he worked in a number of different positions, including deputy director of the Office of Russian Affairs, speechwriter to the undersecretary of political affairs, and adviser on the South Caucasus. Dr. Carpenter also served abroad in the US Embassies in Poland, Slovenia, and Barbados.

During his career at the State Department, Dr. Carpenter received four Superior Honor Awards and three Meritorious Honor Awards. He holds an MA and PhD in political science from the University of California at Berkeley and a BA in international relations from Stanford University. Dr. Carpenter was a Fulbright scholar at the Polish Academy of Sciences and has received fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, MacArthur Foundation, and IREX Foundation for his academic research.


Cory Welt

Cory Welt is Analyst in European Affairs in the Foreign Affairs, Defense and Trade Division of the Congressional Research Service. He covers Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, and the Caucasus. Previously, he was Associate Director and Research Professor of International Affairs at the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at the George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs, where he co-directed the Program on New Approaches to Research and Security in Eurasia (PONARS Eurasia) and taught courses on post-Soviet Eurasian politics and security (2010-2016). He also has been associate director of the Eurasian Strategy Project at Georgetown University and deputy director and fellow of the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).