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Adam Stulberg: On Russian Red Lines, Failure of Sanctions, & Energy Losing Potency as a Weapon

Posted on Feb 25, 2023 by in Podcast |

Dr. Adam Stulberg provides his analysis of the situation in Ukraine which has become a war of attrition characterized by constant surprise for all participants. The Russian military is learning from its mistakes. He discusses and quantifies the use of red lines by Russia, how they can be interpreted as hollow threats, but how they can also be understood as a different and opaque approach by Moscow to competitive bargaining which blurs lines between peace and war and increases uncertainty, which is doubly dangerous. The Russians see sanctions as part of a new definition of war (e.g. information, energy diplomacy, hybrid, next generation) and thus far have solidly absorbed the shocks. Energy is becoming less and less a potent instrument of political and strategic influence. Domestic politics is going to be playing a bigger role in the war going forward given the elections taking place in many countries.

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Sam Nunn School of International Affairs

3rd Annual Nunn School Symposium: Lessons from Russia’s War in Ukraine for the West

About Dr. Adam Stulberg

Dr. Stulberg is Sam Nunn Professor and Chair in the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on international security, Russia/Eurasian politics and security affairs, nuclear (non)proliferation, and energy and international security, as well as inter-disciplinary courses on science, technology, and international security policy. His current research focuses on the geopolitics of oil and gas networks, energy security dilemmas and statecraft in Eurasia, Russia and “gray zone” conflicts, new approaches to strategic stability, internationalization of the nuclear fuel cycle, and implications of emerging technologies for strategic stability and international security.

Dr. Stulberg earned his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), as well as holds an M.A. in International Affairs from Columbia University, an M.A. in Political Science from UCLA, and a B.A. in History from the University of Michigan. He served as a Political Consultant at RAND from 1987-1997, and as a Senior Research Associate at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS), Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (1997-1998). He has worked closely with former Senator Sam Nunn drafting policy recommendations and background studies on future directions for the U.S. Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, building regional and energy security regimes in Central Asia and the South Caucasus, and engaging Russia’s regional power centers. Dr. Stulberg was a post-doctoral fellow at CNS; policy scholar at the EastWest Institute; and has been a consultant to the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Office of Net Assessment, Office of the U.S. Secretary of Defense. Dr. Stulberg has authored and edited five books, and has published widely in leading academic and policy journals. In addition, he served on the Executive Committee of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Technical Group, American Nuclear Society (2012-14).

Dr. Stulberg maintains a conspicuous presence both inside and outside of the classroom at Georgia Tech. He is a two-time recipient of the INTA Graduate Student Association’s “Professor of the Year,” and has received the same honor from Sigma Iota Rho, the international affairs undergraduate honor society. Dr. Stulberg was a CETL teaching fellow, and a Hesburgh Teaching Fellow. He also was the recipient of the 2010 Ivan Allen Jr. Legacy Faculty Award in recognition for his scholarship, as well as a “demonstrated commitment to serving students at the College, the Institute, and in the Community.” Dr. Stulberg has served on numerous school, college, and campus-wide committees, including as Chair of the Sam Nunn-Bank of America Policy Forum (2008, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2020-21). He was previously on the Faculty Advisory Board and is currently an Associate Director of the Strategic Energy Institute (a GT Institute-wide Center). In 2016, the Neal Family Endowed Chair was bestowed upon Dr. Stulberg; he was appointed Chair of the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs in July 2019.

*Podcast intro music is from the song “The Queens Jig” by “Musicke & Mirth” from their album “Music for Two Lyra Viols”: (available on iTunes or Amazon)