Paul J. Saunders


Paul J. Saunders is Executive Director of the Center for the National Interest and a member of the Center’s Board of Directors.  He is the Center’s Chief Operating Officer and directs its U.S.-Russian Relations Program in addition to leading projects on other issues, including energy and climate change and U.S.- Japan relations.  He is also Associate Publisher of the foreign policy magazine The National Interest, published bi-monthly by the Center for the National Interest and a member of the Board of Directors of the Energy Innovation Reform Project.

 Mr. Saunders served in the Bush Administration from 2003 to 2005 as Senior Advisor to the Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs. In that capacity, he worked on a broad range of transnational issues, in particular with respect to Russia, Ukraine, and the former Soviet Union, as well as Iraq, China and India.

Earlier, Mr. Saunders served as Director of the Center from 1997 to 2003, and was Assistant Director of the Center from its founding in 1994 until 1997. In 2000, he was a Senior Policy Advisor to the Speaker’s Advisory Group on Russia, established by the Republican Policy Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives. He has written extensively for major newspapers and journals, and is a frequent commentator in national media, including CNN, Fox, and MSNBC. Mr. Saunders is the editor of Costs of a New Cold War: The U.S.-Russia Confrontation over Ukraine and Enduring Rivalry: American and Russian Perspectives on the Former Soviet Space and author of works including Extending Deterrence in a Changing Asia; Russian Energy and European Security; and Russia and the Greater Middle East: Challenges and Opportunities (with Geoffrey Kemp).


Areas of Expertise

  • Russia
  • Eurasia
  • Climate Change
  • Democracy
  • Energy Security
  • U.S. Foreign Policy


Conversational Russian 

Selected Publications

Costs of a New Cold War: The U.S.-Russia Confrontation Over Ukraine, Center for the National Interest, September 2014

When Sanctions Lead to War, The New York Times, August 2014

Extended Deterrence in a Changing Asia, Center for the National Interest, June 2013

Extended Deterrence and Security in East Asia, Center for the National Interest, January 2012

New Realities in U.S.-Russia Arms Control, Center for the National Interest, April 2012

"A Climate Policy for the Real World," Policy Review, February/March 2011

Russia's Role in Asian Security, The Nixon Center, March 2010

Essential Partnership: The United States and Europe Confront New Energy Challenges, The Nixon Center, October 2009

Russian Energy and European Security: A Transatlantic Dialogue (PDF) The Nixon Center, February 2008

"Why Climate Change Can't Be Stopped" Foreign Policy,September 2007

"Common Challenges: A U.S. – European – Japanese Dialogue on Energy Security and Climate Change,"  The Nixon Center, October 2006


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