Richard Sokolsky

Nonresident Senior Fellow
Russia and Eurasia Program
Richard Sokolsky is a nonresident senior fellow in Carnegie’s Russia and Eurasia Program. His work focuses on U.S. policy toward Russia in the wake of the Ukraine crisis.


B.A. Vanderbilt University
M.A. Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies




Richard Sokolsky is a nonresident senior fellow in Carnegie’s Russia and Eurasia Program. His work focuses on U.S. policy toward Russia in the wake of the Ukraine crisis.

Prior to joining Carnegie, Sokolsky was a member of the Secretary of State’s Policy Planning Office from 2005 to 2015. In this role, he prepared analyses and policy recommendations for the secretary of state on a broad range of foreign policy issues including U.S. policy on the Middle East and South Asia, nuclear weapons and nonproliferation, conflict prevention and post-conflict stabilization and reconstruction, and foreign assistance.

Sokolsky is a 36-year veteran of the State Department and became a member of the career Senior Executive Service in 1991. He served at State in several positions including director of the offices of Strategic Policy and Negotiations, Policy Analysis, and Defense Relations and Security Assistance in the State Department’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs. He has been a visiting senior fellow at the RAND Corporation and at the Institute for National Strategic Studies at the National Defense University.

  • Op-Ed Washington Post December 6, 2021
    Biden Is Right That Global Democracy Is at Risk. But the Threat Isn’t China.

    China and Russia, which Biden has also singled out for criticism, are not the main causes of the weakening of democracies around the world. Most of the backsliding, according to a recent study, has been caused by erosion within the world’s democracies, including the United States and many of its allies.

  • Op-Ed Washington Post July 15, 2021
    Biden Has to Work with Autocrats. He Should Just Admit It.

    Biden has signaled that he’s open to dialogue with America’s rivals, and that he doesn’t want another Cold War. But his rhetoric at times sounds like he’s gearing up for one, and that he’s formulating a Biden Doctrine that emphasizes the “alliance of democracies” vision he articulated in 2020.

  • Vladimir Putin and military officers
    Paper June 30, 2021
    Grand Illusions: The Impact of Misperceptions About Russia on U.S. Policy

    Getting Russia right—assessing its capabilities and intentions, the long-term drivers of its policy and threat perceptions, as well as its accomplishments—is essential because the alternative of misreading them is a recipe for wasted resources, distorted national priorities, and increased risk of confrontation.

  • Op-Ed NPR June 22, 2021
    We Don’t Need A Biden Doctrine Dividing The World Into Good And Bad

    Biden’s rhetoric is certainly understandable given his belief in U.S. leadership and the four years his predecessor spent undermining America's values, cavorting with dictators, dissing democratic allies and dumping all over multilateral institutions.

  • Russia in the Mediterranean: Here to Stay
    Paper May 27, 2021
    Russia in the Mediterranean: Here to Stay

    Russia is in the Mediterranean to stay. As long as the Kremlin remains locked in a tense standoff with NATO, it will aim to prevent the alliance from dominating the region.

  • Op-Ed Foreign Policy April 16, 2021
    What to Do With U.S. Forces in the Persian Gulf

    The United States’ core interests in the Persian Gulf can be protected with a smaller and more rationalized military presence, supplemented as necessary by rotational U.S. force deployments.

  • Russia in the Arctic—A Critical Examination
    Paper March 29, 2021 Русский
    Russia in the Arctic—A Critical Examination

    Russia has big Arctic plans, but how they will be realized is uncertain. For the United States this will likely mean the return to a Cold War–like environment rather than a new chapter in great-power competition in the Arctic.

  • Op-Ed Washington Post March 4, 2021
    Saudi Arabia Is a Partner, Not an Ally. Let’s Stop the Charade.

    At best, Saudi Arabia is a partner whose interests often run counter to Washington’s and whose values rarely coincide with those of the United States at all.

  • Commentary March 2, 2021 Русский
    Kissinger Revisited. Can the United States Drive a Wedge Between Russia and China?

    The Trump administration’s attempt to replicate Henry Kissinger’s diplomatic maneuvering between the Soviet Union and China in the early 1970s is a good example of the misuse of history.

  • Op-Ed Politico February 22, 2021
    How Biden Will End the Trump Sugar High for Israel and Saudi Arabia

    After four years of one-way street relationships, Biden is looking to inject real reciprocity and a measure of conditionality into the U.S. relationships with Israel and Saudi Arabia.


Areas of Expertise

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