iOS app Android app

Rajan Menon
GET UPDATES FROM Rajan Menon
Rajan Menon holds the Anne and Bernard Spitzer Chair in Political Science at the Powell School, the City College of New York/City University of New York, and is a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council. Previously he was the Monroe J. Rathbone Professor and Chairman in the Department of International Relations at Lehigh University. He has been a Fellow at the New America Foundation in Washington, DC, an Academic Fellow and Senior Adviser at the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, and Director for Eurasia Policy Studies at the Seattle-based National Bureau for Asian Research (NBR). He has taught at Columbia University and Vanderbilt University and served as Special Assistant for Arms Control and National Security to Congressman Stephen J. Solarz (D-NY), while an International Affairs Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, of which he is a member.

His current work concerns American foreign and national security policy, international security, globalization, and the international relations of Asia and Russia and the other post-Soviet states. His latest book, The End of Alliances, Oxford University Press (2007), was selected as an “Outstanding Academic Title” by the American Library Association.

His other books include Soviet Power and the Third World (Yale University Press, 1986), Limits to Soviet Power (co-editor), (Lexington Books, 1989) and Russia, Central Asia, and the South Caucasus: The Emerging 21st Century Security Environment, (co-editor), (ME Sharpe, 1999); Energy, Development, and Conflict in the Caspian Sea Zone, (co-editor) (Armonk, NY: ME Sharpe, 2000).

Some representative articles include: "When America Leaves: Asia After the Afghan War," The American Interest (May/June 2012), "Counterrevolution in Kiev," (with Alexander J. Motyl), Foreign Affairs (October/November 2011), “Prisoners of the Caucasus: Russia’s Invisible Civil War,” (with Charles King) Foreign Affairs (July/August 2010), “Pious Words, Puny Deeds, The International Community and Mass Atrocities,” Ethics and International Affairs (Fall 2009) and “Pax Americana and the Rising Powers,” Current History (November 2009).; “Chaos in the North Caucasus and Russia’s Future,” (co-authored with John B. Dunlop), Survival (Summer 2006); and the “Myth of Russia’s Resurgence,” The American Interest (Spring 2007); and “The US and Turkey: End of an Alliance?” (co-author) Survival, Vol. 49, No. 2 (Summer 2007); “The End Of Alliances,” World Policy Journal (Summer 2003); “The Sick Man of Asia: Russia’s Endangered Far East,” The National Interest (Fall 2003); “Russia’s Quagmire: On Ending the Standoff in Chechnya,” The Boston Review (Summer 20004); and (co-author), “An Axis of Democracy,” The National Interest (Summer 2005) “Russia’s Ruinous War in Chechnya,” (with Graham Fuller) Foreign Affairs (March/April 2000); “Asia in the Twenty-First Century,” (with S. Enders Wimbush) The National Interest (Spring 2000); and "In the Shadow of the Bear: Security in Post-Soviet Central Asia," International Security, Vol. 20, No. 1 (Summer 1995), pp. 149-181.

Menon was awarded the Ellen Gregg Ingalls Award for Excellence in Classroom Teaching (at Vanderbilt University) and the Eleanor and Joseph F. Libsch Award for Distinguished Research and the Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching (at Lehigh University). He was selected as a Carnegie Scholar (2002-2003) and has also received fellowships and grants from the Woodrow Wilson Center, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Rockefeller Foundation, the John D and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Smith Richardson Foundation, and the US Institute of Peace. Menon has written more than 50 opinion pieces and essays for the Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, Financial Times, International Herald Tribune, Christian Science Monitor, Newsday, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, and Washingtonpost.com. He has appeared as a commentator on National Public Radio, ABC, CNN, BBC, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and World Focus (PBS).

Entries by Rajan Menon

Obama's Vacuous West Point Foreign Policy Speech

(26) Comments | Posted May 30, 2014 | 5:25 PM

In his May 28 West Point speech on foreign policy President Obama took a swipe at "so-called realists." But the acolytes of this particular school of thought will by and large be satisfied with his manifesto. The most scathing attacks on Obama's foreign policy have come from neo-conservatives such as...

Read Post

India Under Narendra Modi: More Continuity Than Change in Foreign Policy

(6) Comments | Posted May 27, 2014 | 11:17 AM

The Congress Party took a beating in India's recent parliamentary election and has been now been sidelined by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (Indian People's Party, or BJP).

The spotlight is on Narendra Modi, the BJP's leader who will be the next prime minister. A former tea vendor, Modi's...

Read Post

Lessons From Ukraine's Crisis

(6) Comments | Posted March 17, 2014 | 7:36 PM

The referendum that occurred on Sunday in Crimea was a flagrant violation of Ukraine's constitution. And it was held amidst a Russian military occupation supposedly mounted to defend ethnic Russians on the peninsula, even though there was no evidence that they were under attack.

Close to

Read Post

Is Crimea Preparing to Exit Ukraine?

(0) Comments | Posted March 6, 2014 | 12:53 PM

The Crimean parliament has voted to organize a referendum on March 16 if the Russian government -- basically Putin -- agrees that the territory is eligible to become part of the Russian Federation and to secede from Ukraine.

But here's the problem:

According to Article 73 of Ukraine's...

Read Post

Stop Bashing Obama on Ukraine

(3) Comments | Posted March 3, 2014 | 3:53 PM

Even as I write these words, President Obama, who probably hasn't slept much lately, is being bombarded with advice on Ukraine: Do this. No, don't; do that instead. Do that, but not yet.

Apart from the pressure the president is under, it must be galling to be criticized by, and...

Read Post

Was will Putin in der Ukraine?

(6) Comments | Posted March 3, 2014 | 9:10 AM

Die erste Antwort auf diese Frage, was Putin wirklich in der Ukraine will, ist: niemand weiß es wirklich - und Sie sollten niemandem glauben, der vorgibt, es zu wissen. Nichtmal der russische Präsident Wladimir Putin kennt seine nächsten Schritte und weiß nicht, wann er von einem Sieg in der Ukraine...

Read Post

What Does Putin Want in Ukraine?

(128) Comments | Posted March 1, 2014 | 3:28 PM

The first thing to be said about the question I've posed in the title is that no one truly knows -- and you shouldn't believe anyone who says they do. Even Vladimir Putin is unlikely to have figured out all his moves, or decided what would constitute victory for him...

Read Post

Why Assad Has the Upper Hand in the Syria Peace Talks

(0) Comments | Posted January 22, 2014 | 11:37 AM

It would be wonderful were the Geneva peace conference on Syria to lay a foundation, however tentative, for winding down a civil war that's approaching the three-year mark. The carnage has consumed some 130,000 lives, at least half of them civilians. Moreover, 2.4 million Syrians have become refugees...

Read Post

Anxiety in the House of Saud

(3) Comments | Posted November 21, 2013 | 9:36 AM

You'd think that Saudi Arabia's ruling monarchy would have a lot to be happy about -- and you'd be right, in part. The Saudi Kingdom has, barring some exceptions, been remarkably stable. It was left unscathed by the revolutionary wave that demolished longstanding authoritarian regimes from Tunisia to...

Read Post

Don't Use U.S. Credibility as a Reason to Attack Syria

(32) Comments | Posted September 6, 2013 | 1:57 PM

What's striking about the debate over President Obama's plan for a punitive strike against Syrian President Bashar Assad is the extent to which it centers on countries other than Syria. There's a reason for this. A concept that has had a long, significant though subtle influence on U.S. foreign policy...

Read Post

The Confusing Case for Striking Syria

(51) Comments | Posted September 1, 2013 | 5:22 PM

For more than two years President Barack Obama has resisted the clamor of the interventionists, avoiding military moves against Bashar al-Assad's regime for fear of being sucked into the vortex of Syria's horrific and complex civil war.

Though we won't know until the Congressional vote the president has sought...

Read Post

Obama's Bad Bet on the Egyptian Military

(98) Comments | Posted August 2, 2013 | 2:50 PM

Egypt's political chasm continues to widen following the military's ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi, who, despite his many flaws and blunders, was the only democratically elected president in the country's history.

On one side is a curious amalgam: secularists (some democrats, some not), liberals, Coptic Christians and remnants of...

Read Post

Egypt: A Coup Is What it Is

(48) Comments | Posted July 6, 2013 | 3:37 PM

On Wednesday, Egypt's military, long the country's most powerful political institution and an outfit with a massive economic empire, deposed Mohamed Morsi, the only Egyptian president ever to attain office by winning an election in which all political parties could compete on an equal footing.

Mr. Morsi's brief presidency...

Read Post

Hope for Peace in Syria, But Don't Expect It

(10) Comments | Posted June 26, 2013 | 2:49 PM

The statistics surrounding the slaughter in Syria sound surreal. In the 27 months since the uprising against Bashar al-Assad's government erupted in March 2011, 100,000 people have been killed, the overwhelming majority by Assad's army and paramilitary goons. If you're into grisly math, that works out to an...

Read Post

What's Russia Doing in Syria and Why

(60) Comments | Posted June 2, 2013 | 7:20 PM

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has killed some 80,000 of his citizens and driven another 1.7 million into neighboring countries. Unsurprisingly, he has few foreign friends these days. But two have played a pivotal part in his survival: Iran and Russia.

Iran is bound to Assad...

Read Post

How to Handle North Korea: The Pageant of Proposals

(28) Comments | Posted April 14, 2013 | 7:33 PM

By now, those of you who have been following the Korean crisis have encountered plenty of proposals from pundits. Let's consider some of them.

Perhaps the most original idea comes from a professor in Texas, whose advice is that the United States should launch a preventive strike on...

Read Post

Confronting What We Don't Know About the Korean Crisis

(81) Comments | Posted March 30, 2013 | 6:25 PM

War cries, threats and counter-threats, moves and counter-moves are emanating from the Korean peninsula. Pundits have pronounced on what's going on and where things are headed. So this may be a good time to engage in some humility and to reflect on how little we know.

To make things...

Read Post

Has France Won in Mali?

(15) Comments | Posted February 10, 2013 | 3:19 PM

France's recent military intervention in Mali halted an apparent push toward Bamako, the country's capital, by the hard-line Tuareg Islamists who for months had ruled Mali's vast northern region. French President Francois Hollande acted after a frantic Malian government pleaded for help on January 10, no doubt realizing that its...

Read Post

Mr. Hollande Goes to Mali

(19) Comments | Posted January 18, 2013 | 11:47 PM

Here's an irony. The NATO air campaign that helped overthrow Muammar Gaddafi, and that French President Nicolas Sarkozy couldn't wait to launch (French jets were heading to Libyan targets before the other NATO participants were ready to go), has presented Sarkozy's successor, Francois Hollande, with a big problem in Mali....

Read Post

Japan's Coming Challenges: What Awaits Shinzo Abe

(6) Comments | Posted December 26, 2012 | 6:38 PM

Shinzo Abe became prime minister of Japan -- its seventh in six years -- after his Liberal Democratic Party, which has governed Japan for all but four years since 1955, won this month's parliamentary elections resoundingly, ending a three-year interlude by the Democratic Party of Japan.

Mr. Abe has his...

Read Post