The Horn of #Africa : Gateway to geostrategic power rivalries

In this series of interviews with Dr. Stephen Blank, our next discussion will turn to Africa, where we will discuss multipolar rivalries between the great and regional powers, for influence and access to energy, military bases, trade and strategic positioning. Dr Theodore Karasik will be joining us.

In case you could not join us, here is the link to the video replay, available until April 6 :

Here is the link to the podcast, which will be published on March 26 :

Here are the speakers’ bios :

Dr. Theodore KARASIK is currently a Fellow, Russia and Middle East Affairs at the Jamestown Foundation and a Senior Advisor to Gulf State Analytics.  He is also an Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Lexington Institute, all located in Washington, D.C.   He is the co-author of “Russia in the Middle East” published in 2018.

For the past 35 years, Karasik worked for a number of US agencies involved in researching and analyzing defense acquisition, the use of military power, and religio-political issues across MENA and Eurasia including the evolution of violent extremism and financing networks. 

Dr. Karasik lived in Dubai, UAE from 2006 until 2016 where he worked on Arabian Peninsula foreign policy and security issues surrounding cultural awareness, cybersecurity, maritime security, counter-piracy, counter-terrorism, and infrastructure and national resilience. Dr. Karasik worked for a number of UAE ministries and think-tanks covering regional and homeland security issues. 

Dr. Karasik was an Adjunct Lecturer at the Dubai School of Government where he taught graduate level international relations and also an Adjunct Lecturer at University Wollongong Dubai where he taught labor and migration. Karasik was a Senior Political Scientist in the International Policy and Security Group at RAND Corporation.  From 2002-2003, he served as Director of Research for the RAND Center for Middle East Public Policy.  He is a specialist in geopolitics and geo-economics for the MENA and Eurasia regions and frequently conducts studies and assessments of future security trajectories and military requirements in addition to cultural awareness issues surrounding traditionalism and tribalism in policymaking.  

Dr. Karasik received his Ph.D in History from the University of California, Los Angeles in four fields:  Russia, Middle East, Caucasus and an outside field in cultural anthropology focusing on tribes and clans from Central Asia to East Africa.  He wrote his dissertation on military and humanitarian operations in the northern port city of Arkhangel’sk and their impact on political institutions during the Russian civil war. 

Dr. Stephen BLANK is an internationally recognized expert on Russian foreign and defense policies and international relations across the former Soviet Union.  He is also a leading expert on European and Asian security, including energy issues.  Since 2020 he has been a Senior Expert for Russia at the U.S. Institute of Peace and a Senior Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute ( .  From 2013-2020 he was a Senior Fellow at the American Foreign Policy Council ( ). From 1989-2013 he was a Professor of Russian National Security Studies at the Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College in Pennsylvania.  Dr. Blank has been Professor of National Security Affairs at the Strategic Studies Institute since 1989.  In 1998-2001 he was Douglas MacArthur Professor of Research at the War College.  

Dr. Blank has consulted for the CIA, major think tanks and foundations, chaired major international conferences in the USA and abroad In Florence, Prague, and London, and has been a commentator on foreign affairs in the media in the United States and abroad.  He has also advised major corporations on investing in Russia and is a consultant for the Gerson Lehrmann Group. He has published over 1300 articles and monographs on Soviet/Russian, U.S., Asian, and European military and foreign policies, including publishing or editing 15 books, testified frequently before Congress on Russia, China, and Central Asia for business, government, and professional think tanks here and abroad on these issues.  He has also appeared on CNN, BBC, Deutsche Welle, CNBC Asia, and is a regular guest on VOA.

Prior to his appointment at the Army War College in 1989 Dr. Blank was Associate Professor for Soviet Studies at the Center for Aerospace Doctrine, Research, and Education of Air University at Maxwell AFB.  He also held the position of 1980-86: Assistant Professor of Russian History, University of Texas, San Antonio, 1980-86, and Visiting Assistant Professor of Russian history, University of California, Riverside, 1979-80.  

Dr. Blank’s M.A. and Ph.D. are in Russian History from the University of Chicago. His B.A is in History from the University of Pennsylvania.