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Heritage Expert

Ariel Cohen, Ph.D.

  • Visiting Fellow in Russian and Eurasian Studies and International Energy Policy in the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign and National Security Policy, a division of the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies, at The Heritage Foundation
The Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy at The Heritage Foundation

Ariel Cohen brings firsthand knowledge of the former Soviet Union and the Middle East through a wide range of studies, covering issues such as economic development and political reform in the former Soviet republics, U.S. energy security, the global War on Terrorism and the continuing conflict in the Middle East. 

His analyses are often incisive.  For example, he warned repeatedly that multi-billion dollar financial aid to the corrupt Russian government would end up in the wrong pockets – which indeed happened after the 1998 Russian financial crisis. Cohen also predicted the Russian financial collapse in a Heritage Foundation analysis published nine months before the event actually took place. And he warned about Iranian nuclear and missile ambitions and called for restrictions on Russian nuclear and missile technology transfer to Iran as early in 1997. U.S. concerns over the sale or other transfer of such technology, Cohen said, “should be raised repeatedly at the highest levels of the Russian government.”

His work on Middle East issues is also just as incisive. In July 2001, just two months before Osama bin Laden’s terror network struck the United States, Cohen testified before Congress, encouraging the U.S. government to “…counter the efforts of radical Islamic groups in Central Asia, including the Taliban and the Osama bin Laden organization.”  He also published pioneering work on the “War of Ideas” (strategic information operations) as a key battlefield in the global War on Terrorism against radical Islam, and on counter-insurgency strategy. His expertise in is in demand by the Army and other branches of the federal government.

Cohen joined Heritage in 1992 and is now a Senior Research Fellow.  He earned his doctorate at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in Massachusetts. He has served as a consultant to both the executive branch and the private sector on policy toward Russia, Eastern and Central Europe, the Caucasus, and Central Asia. He participated in a long-term study known as Russia 2025 conducted by the World Economic Forum and in Multilateral Deterrence Study for Office of Secretary of Defense and in other projects. He is often called upon to testify on Russian and Eurasian politics, economics, and law before the U.S. Congress, and regularly provides commentary on Russian, Eurasian, and Middle Eastern affairs for ABC, BBC, CNN, FOX, and all three national TV channels in Russia. He was a weekly contributor to the Voice of America radio and TV programs for eight years.

A former member of the Board of Directors of the California-Russia Trade Association, from 1985-1992 Cohen has managed media research projects for Radio Liberty's then-Soviet audience. His book, Russian Imperialism: Development and Crisis, was published in 1996 and in 1998 by Greenwood/Praeger. He also co-authored and edited Eurasia in Balance (Ashgate Publishing, 2005), which focuses on the power shift in the region after the Sept. 11 attacks. In addition, he has written nearly 500 articles and 25 book chapters. 

Cohen is a member of the Council of Foreign Relations, International Institute of Strategic Studies in London, and Association for the Study of Nationalities.

All Publications by Ariel Cohen, Ph.D.