Rajan Menon

Professor Emeritus

Main Affiliation

Political Science

Areas of Expertise/Research

  • American Foreign and National Security Policy
  • Global Ethics
  • Globalization
  • Humanitarian Intervention Issues
  • International Relations of Asia and Russia and the Other Post-Soviet States
  • International Security

Rajan Menon


Rajan Menon is the Emeritus Anne and Bernard Spitzer Chair in Political Science at the City College of New York/City University of New York. He is a Senior Research Scholar at the Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies, Columbia University and a Global Ethics Fellow at the Carnegie Council on Ethics in International Affairs

Previously he was the Monroe J. Rathbone Professor and Chairman in the Department of International Relations at Lehigh University. He has been a Fellow at the New America Foundation in Washington, DC, an Academic Fellow and Senior Adviser at the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, and Director for Eurasia Policy Studies at the Seattle-based National Bureau for Asian Research (NBR). He has taught at Columbia University and Vanderbilt University and served as Special Assistant for Arms Control and National Security to Congressman Stephen J. Solarz (D-NY), while an International Affairs Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, of which he is a member. His current work concerns American foreign and national security policy, international security, globalization, and the international relations of Asia and Russia and the other post-Soviet states.

Menon was awarded the Ellen Gregg Ingalls Award for Excellence in Classroom Teaching (at Vanderbilt University) and the Eleanor and Joseph F. Libsch Award for Distinguished Research and the Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching (at Lehigh University). He was selected as a Carnegie Scholar (2002-2003) and has also received fellowships and grants from the Woodrow Wilson Center, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Rockefeller Foundation, the John D and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Smith Richardson Foundation, and the US Institute of Peace. Menon has written more than 50 opinion pieces and essays for the Los Angeles TimesNewsweekFinancial TimesInternational Herald TribuneChristian Science MonitorNewsdayChicago TribuneBoston Globe, and Washingtonpost.com. He has appeared as a commentator on National Public Radio, ABC, CNN, BBC, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and World Focus (PBS).


Ph.D. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1979.

Research Interests

1)  Recent books: Conflict in Ukraine: The Unwinding of the Post-Cold War Order, co-authored with Eugene B. Rumer (MIT Press, 2015) and The Conceit of Humanitarian Intervention (Oxford University Press, 2016).

2)  Senior Research Scholar, Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies, Columbia University and Global Ethics Fellow, Carnegie Council for Ethics and International Affairs

3)  Grants: Two-year grant (2014-16) from the Carnegie Corporation of New York (Jack Snyder of Columbia University, Co-PI) for a project entitled, “Rimlands, Buffer Zones, and Great Power Rivalry.”  The project involves an international team of researches drawn from the United States, Europe, Ukraine, Russia, India, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. 

4)  Recent (2015 and 2016) talks and conference presentations: Berlin (Aspen Institute, Germany ), Tbilisi, Georgia: (Rondeli Foundation and the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung); Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan (OSCE Academy); New York, NY: (American Committee on Foreign Policy, Japan-Russia Trilateral Conference; New York, NY: (Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies, Columbia University and the Harriman Institute, Columbia University); Tartu, Estonia: (Kennan Institute and Johan Skytte Institute for Political Studies, Tartu University.) 

5)  Regular contributor to National Interest (online): my page on the site: http://nationalinterest.org/archives/by/1690.

6)  Co-director (with Distinguished Professor of History, Eric Weitz) of the CCNY Faculty Seminar on Human Rights, whose members include faculty from CCNY, the CUNY Graduate Center, NYU, and Columbia.  Speakers have included faculty from Harvard, University of Chicago, NYU Law School, UC Berkeley, UC Berkeley, the University of Wisconsin, the University of Wisconsin, the University of Pennsylvania, and UC Santa Cruz.



The Conceit of Humanitarian Intervention (Oxford University Press, 2016)

Ukraine in Conflict: The Unwinding of the Post-Cold War Order (MIT Press, 2015), co-authored with Eugene B. Rumer.

The End of Alliances (Oxford University Press, 2007), selected as an "Outstanding Academic Title" by the American Library Association.

Soviet Power and the Third World (Yale University Press, 1986).

Limits to Soviet Power (co-editor), (Lexington Books, 1989).

Russia, Central Asia, and the South Caucasus: The Emerging 21st Century Security Environment, (co-editor), (ME Sharpe, 1999).

Energy, Development, and Conflict in the Caspian Sea Zone, (co-editor) (Armonk, NY: ME Sharpe, 2000). 


Representative articles

“Buffer Zones: Anachronism, Power Vacuum, or Confidence Builder?” co-authored with Jack Snyder, Review of International Studies (2017, in press).

“Ukraine Between Russia and the West: Buffer Zone or Flashpoint?” World Policy Journal, Vol. XXXIV, No. 1 (Spring 2017), 107-118.

“Why Humanitarian Intervention Still Isn’t a Global Norm,” Current History, Vol. 116, No. 786 (January 2017), 35-37.

“Asia’s New Balance of Power,” National Interest No. 146 (November/December 2016), 68-78

“The Specter of Relativism,” Politics, Religion, and Ideology Vol. 17, No. 2-3 (2016), 279-280.

“The Anatomy and Evolution of the India-Russia Relationship,” in David Malone, C. Raja Mohan, and Srinath Raghavan, eds., Oxford Handbook of Indian Foreign Policy (New York: Oxford University Press, 2015).

“The India Myth,” National Interest (November/December 2014).

“Neomercantilism and the Competition for Energy in Central Asia and the Caspian Sea,” Strategic Studies Quarterly, Vol. 8, No. 2 (Summer, 2014), pp. 17-4.

“The Anatomy and Evolution of the India-Russia Relationship,” in David Malone, C. Raja Mohan, and Srinath Raghavan, eds., Oxford Handbook of Indian Foreign Policy (New York: Oxford University Press, 2015).

“Asia’s Looming Power Shift” National Interest, No. 127 (September-October, 2013), pp. 20-32.

“The Responsibility to Protect: It’s Fatally Flawed,” American Interest, Vol. 8, No. 6 (July/August 2013), pp. 6-16.

"When America Leaves: Asia After the Afghan War," American Interest (May/June 2012).

"Counterrevolution in Kiev," (with Alexander J. Motyl), Foreign Affairs (October/November 2011). 

"Prisoners of the Caucasus: Russia's Invisible Civil War," (with Charles King) Foreign Affairs (July/August 2010).

"Pious Words, Puny Deeds, The International Community and Mass Atrocities," Ethics and International Affairs (Fall 2009).

"Pax Americana and the Rising Powers," Current History (November 2009).

"Chaos in the North Caucasus and Russia's Future," (co-authored with John B. Dunlop), Survival (Summer 2006).

“The Myth of Russia's Resurgence," The American Interest (Spring 2007).

"The US and Turkey: End of an Alliance?" (co-author) Survival, Vol. 49, No. 2 (Summer 2007)

"The End Of Alliances," World Policy Journal (Summer 2003).

"The Sick Man of Asia: Russia's Endangered Far East," The National Interest (Fall 2003).

"Russia's Quagmire: On Ending the Standoff in Chechnya," The Boston Review (Summer 2004).

"An Axis of Democracy," The National Interest (Summer 2005).

"Russia's Ruinous War in Chechnya," (with Graham Fuller) Foreign Affairs (March/April 2000).

"Asia in the Twenty-First Century," (with S. Enders Wimbush) The National Interest (Spring 2000).

"In the Shadow of the Bear: Security in Post-Soviet Central Asia," International Security, Vol. 20, No. 1 (Summer 1995), pp. 149-181.