Kimberly Marten

Ann Whitney Olin Professor of Political Science

Kimberly Marten is the Ann Whitney Olin Professor of Political Science at Barnard College, and a faculty member of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) and School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) at Columbia University. She directs the Program on U.S.-Russia Relations at Columbia's Harriman Institute, and is a member of Columbia's Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies, as well as the PONARS-Eurasia network and the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).

Marten's Special Report, Reducing Tensions between Russia and NATO, was published by the CFR. Her Russia analysis also appears in ForeignAffairs.comFortune, H-Diplo, Asia Policy, the Huffington Post, the Washington Post's Monkey Cage Blog (here, here, here, here, here, and here), The Washington Quarterly, and USA Today.

She appeared on the The Daily Show (extra web content here) with Jon Stewart, Charlie Rose The Week (minute 10:28) and the Charlie Rose ShowCBS This Morning, the Rachel Maddow show and The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell on MSNBC, PBS NewsHour Weekend with Hari Sreenivasan (herehere, here and here), NPR's All Things Considered with Ari Shapiro and Audie Cornish, Fresh Air with Terry Gross, The 1A with Joshua Johnson, Here and Now with Robin Young, WNYC's The Takeaway with John Hockenberry and Todd Zwillich, and MN Public Radio's Daily Circuit with Kerri Miller, among others. 

Her most recent previous project analyzed the politics of warlords, asking how their patronage networks impact sovereignty and state failure. Her latest book, Warlords: Strong-Arm Brokers in Weak States (Cornell University Press, 2012), traces the development of warlordism and its consequences in the tribal areas of Pakistan, Sunni Arab areas of Iraq, and post-Soviet Georgia and the Republic of Chechnya in Russia. She discussed the book on WNYC's Brian Lehrer Show and Wisconsin Public Radio.  The book was reviewed in an H-Diplo/International Security Studies Forum roundtable. In International Security, she compares warlordism in Afghanistan and Somalia to medieval Europe and Republican-era China. She researched militias and security sector reform in weak states, including work on the Palestinian Authority Security Forces, published in International Peacekeeping and in the International Herald Tribune/New York Times. Her chapter on the Afghan Local Police appears in an edited volume on The Transnational Governance of Violence and Crime, following an earlier opinion piece in the IHT/NYT.

Her prior books include Engaging the Enemy: Organization Theory and Soviet Military Innovation (Princeton, 1993), which received the Marshall Shulman Prize; Weapons, Culture, and Self-Interest: Soviet Defense Managers in the New Russia (Columbia, 1997); and Enforcing the Peace: Learning from the Imperial Past (Columbia, 2004).

Marten earned her A.B. in 1985 at Harvard magna cum laude and Ph.D. in 1991 at Stanford. She was a post-doctoral fellow at Stanford's Center for International Security and Cooperation; a visiting scholar at Harvard's Olin Institute for Strategic Studies; a visiting scholar at Tokyo's Institute for International Policy Studies (via a Hitachi/Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellowship); and a visiting fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.  Her research has been supported by the Smith Richardson Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Social Science Research Council/MacArthur Foundation, and the Government of Canada.

Academic Focus: 

Course syllabi:

POLS UN 1601  International Politics
Syllabus Fall 2016
Counts as an introductory-level course in International Relations
POLS W 4875 Russia and the West
Syllabus Spring 2017
POLS BC 3055  Colloquium on Political Violence and Terrorism
Syllabus Spring 2013
POLS BC 3118 Colloquium on International Security
Syllabus Spring 2016
POLS BC 3812  Colloquium on State Failure, Warlords and Pirates
Syllabus Spring 2017



Reducing Tensions between NATO and Russia, Council Special Report 79 (Council on Foreign Relations Center for Preventive Action), March 2017.

Essay in SSF Policy Roundtable 1-7: Russia and the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election, March 27, 2017. 

"Trump and Putin, through a Glass Darkly," Asia Policy 23 (Jan. 2017): 36-42.

"The Security Costs and Benefits of Non-State Militias: The Example of Eastern Ukraine," PONARS Eurasia Policy Memo 391, September 2015.

“Debunking the Stationary Bandit Myth: Violence and Governance in Statebuilding History,” in Non-State Challenges in a Re-Ordered World: The Jackals of Westphalia? ed. Stefano Ruzza, Anja P. Jakobi and Charles C. Geisler (New York: Routledge, 2015).

“Putin’s Choices: Explaining Russian Foreign Policy and Intervention in Ukraine,” The Washington Quarterly 38, no. 2 (Summer 2015): 189-204.

“Informal Political Networks and Putin’s Foreign Policy: The Examples of Iran and Syria,” Problems of Post-Communism 62, no. 2 (April 2015): 71-87.

"Reformed or Deformed?  Patronage Politics, International Influence, and the Palestinian Security Forces," International Peacekeeping 21, no. 2 (June 2014): 181-97.

"A New Explanation for Russian Foreign Policy: The Power of Informal Patronage Networks," PONARS Eurasia Policy Memo 274, September 2013.

“Warlords and Governance,” in The Transnational Governance of Violence and Crime: Non-State Actors in Security, ed. Anja P. Jakobi and Klaus Dieter Wolf (Houndmills, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), pp. 23-29.  Governance and Limited Statehood Series.

"The Bane of Palestinian Infighting," International Herald Tribune, June 27, 2013.

Warlords: Strong-Arm Brokers in Weak States.  Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2012.

"Uncertain Loyalty: The Challenges of Cooperating with Militias," Jane's Intelligence Review, December 2012: 41-5.

"Patronage vs. Professionalism in New Security Institutions," Prism (National Defense University Center for Complex Operations) 2, no. 4 (Sept. 2011): 83-98.

“Warlords,” in The Changing Character of War, ed. Hew Strachan and Sibylle Scheipers (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011).

“Failing States and Conflict,” in The International Studies Encyclopedia (a peer-reviewed compendium of scholarly concepts in international relations, a project of the International Studies Association), ed. Robert A. Denemark (Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010).

“From Kabul to Kandahar: The Canadian Forces and Change,” American Review of Canadian Studies 40, no. 2 (June 2010): 214-36.
“The Danger of Tribal Militias in Afghanistan: Learning from the British Empire,” Journal of International Affairs (Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs) 63, no. 1 (Fall/Winter 2009): 157-74.
“Correspondence: Misunderstanding Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas?” substantive response letter, International Security 33, no. 3 (Winter 2008/9): 180-85.
"Statebuilding and Force: The Proper Role of Foreign Militaries," Journal of Intervention and State-Building 1, no. 2 (June 2007): 231-47.  Reprinted in Statebuilding and Intervention: Policies, Practices and Paradigms, ed. David Chandler (New York: Routledge, 2009).

“Russian Efforts to Control Kazakhstan’s Oil: The Kumkol Case,” Post-Soviet Affairs 23, no. 1 (Jan.-Mar. 2007): 18-37.

“Is Stability the Answer?” in Leashing the Dogs of War: Conflict Management in a Divided World, ed. Pamela Aall, Chester A. Crocker and Fen Osler Hampson (Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace Press, 2007).

Warlordism in Comparative Perspective,” International Security 31, no. 3 (Winter 2006/7): 41-73.

Enforcing the Peace: Learning from the Imperial Past.  New York: Columbia University Press, 2004.

Weapons, Culture, and Self-Interest: Soviet Defense Managers in the New Russia.  New York: Columbia University Press, 1997.

Engaging the Enemy: Organization Theory and Soviet Military Innovation, 1955-1991.  Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993.



Twitter: @KimberlyMarten



Harriman: 212-854-8452


Office Hours: 

Spring 2017

Tues and Wed 4:15-5:15, 1215 IAB



A.B., Harvard University

Ph.D., Stanford University

Related Web Sites: 

Harriman Institute


Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies




Council on Foreign Relations


--CFR panel with Marten, "What to Do about Russia?"


International Studies Association























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