Skip navigation

Here, Right Matters

October 19, 2021

Kent E. Calder
Interim Dean, Johns Hopkins SAIS
Cinnamon Dornsife
Executive Director, Foreign Policy Institute, Johns Hopkins SAIS
Alexander Vindman
Former Director for Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, and Russia, White House National Security Council
Colonel, U.S. Army (retired)
Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy Institute, John Hopkins SAIS

On October 19, 2021, the Foreign Policy Institute (FPI) at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) hosted ‘Here, Right Matters,’ featuring Alexander Vindman, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel, FPI senior fellow, and SAIS doctoral student, to discuss his new book, Here, Right Matters: An American Story. Cinnamon Dornsife, executive director of FPI, delivered opening remarks while Kent E. Calder, interim dean of SAIS, moderated the event. Vindman opened the event by recounting how Eliot Cohen, Robert E. Osgood Professor at SAIS, convinced him to join the school’s DIA program. As for his book, Vindman said, "I felt compelled to write on why I reported the president." Here, Right Matters covers his early life, military service, and decision to report former President Donald Trump’s phone conversations with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, which led to Trump’s first impeachment.

In recalling the phone conversations, Vindman explained that Trump wanted the Ukrainians to find damaging information on then-former Vice-President Joe Biden or his family in exchange for continued American military assistance. In the fallout of his decision to speak out, Vindman noted that pro-military Republican officials on Capitol Hill turned against him. He added "the military did not shield him" from the political damage.

Vindman does not regret his decision and added that "his immigrant background helped center and convince him to reveal the truth about the phone conversations." During the event’s Q&A session, Vindman discussed geopolitical events, including the danger of Russia receiving military aid from China. He also drew attention to the dangers of information operations, Russia’s refusal to negotiate with Kiev, and Russian dreams to dominate Ukraine. Regarding domestic affairs, he explained that race relations, and income inequality are increasing the polarization within the country.