CENFAD Lecture Series: Joseph "Joe" Weisberg, "Russia Upside Down: An Exit Strategy for the Second Cold War"

Casey VanSise Contribution

The Center for the Study of Force and Diplomacy (CENFAD) at Temple University is proud to present a lecture and question-and-answer session with Joseph "Joe" Weisberg, a US intelligence veteran, novelist, teacher, television screenwriter-producer, and creator and co-showrunner for FX Networks's critically-acclaimed and Emmy-winning drama series The Americans (2013-18).

Based on his bold and controversial new book Russia Upside Down: An Exit Strategy for the Second Cold War (PublicAffairs, 2021), Weisberg makes the case that America's policy towards Russia is failing–and we'll never fix it until we rethink our relationship. Coming of age in America in the 1970s and 1980s, Joe Weisberg was a Cold Warrior. After briefly studying Russian in Leningrad, he joined the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in 1990 – just in time to watch the Soviet Union collapse.

But less than a decade after the first Cold War ended, a new one broke out. Russia changed in many of the ways that America hoped it might – more capitalist, more religious, more open to Western ideas. But US sanctions have crippled Russia's economy; and Russia's interventions have exacerbated political problems in America. The old paradigm – America, the free capitalist good guys, fighting Russia, the repressive communist bad guys – simply doesn't apply anymore. But we have continued to act as if it does.

Weisberg interrogates these assumptions, asking hard questions about American policy and attempting to understand what Russia truly wants. Russia Upside Down makes the case against the new Cold War. It suggests that we are fighting an enemy with whom we have few if any serious conflicts of interest. It argues that we are fighting with ineffective and dangerous tools. And most of all, it aims to demonstrate that our approach is not working.

Monday, December 6 | 4-5 PM EST
Gladfelter 914 (Weigley Room)

Zoom (free registration required):