Michael Birnbaum

Washington, D.C.

National security reporter covering diplomacy and the State Department

Education: Yale University, BA in History; Deep Springs College

Michael Birnbaum is a a national security reporter for The Washington Post, covering the State Department and diplomacy. He previously served in Europe for more than a decade as the The Post’s bureau chief in Brussels, Moscow and Berlin. He has reported for The Post from more than 40 countries, covering the conflict in Ukraine, the Egyptian revolution, the fall of Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi and the Arab Spring elsewhere in the Middle East. He also covered climate and security from Washington. Birnbaum has a degree in German history from Yale University. He grew up in Chicago.
Latest from Michael Birnbaum

Russia-Ukraine war: Biden and Zelensky agree: Ukraine will join NATO only after war ends

G-7 countries issued a joint declaration of “unwavering” support for Ukraine on day two of a summit for NATO leaders in Vilnius, Lithuania.

July 12, 2023

At NATO summit, Biden’s caution clashed with calls to draw Ukraine closer

Tensions at the Vilnius NATO summit exposed the challenges President Biden faces as allies push plans for Ukraine that some fear risk escalation with Russia.

July 12, 2023

Biden, G-7 leaders announce major security pledge to Ukraine

NATO promises Ukraine support that is short of what Zelensky wanted, but is aimed at preventing future attacks on his country

July 12, 2023

NATO says it will invite Ukraine to join when ‘conditions are met’; Zelensky calls lack of timeline ‘absurd’

The summit is a show of Western unity against Russia — but there are divisions over Kyiv’s candidacy and the U.S. decision to supply it with cluster munitions.

July 11, 2023

Zelensky slams NATO for omitting a timeline for Ukraine to join

NATO says Ukraine can join, but does not provide a timeline. Zelensky calls that "unprecedented and absurd."

July 11, 2023

Turkey drops opposition to Sweden’s NATO bid on eve of summit

If Turkey and Hungary indeed ratify Swedish accession, it will cement a major shift in European security in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

July 10, 2023

Biden administration failed to foresee Afghanistan mayhem, review finds

The review is sharply critical of the U.S. government’s handling of the withdrawal from Afghanistan in August 2021.

June 30, 2023

U.S. envoy to Iran put on leave amid security clearance investigation

Robert Malley, the Biden administration’s special envoy to Iran, faces an investigation into his handling of classified information, an official said.

June 29, 2023

Officials question whether truce will hold in Kremlin-Wagner standoff

U.S. officials and other Western diplomats are continuing to study the aftermath of the short-lived rebellion for signs that the Russian president is left weakened.

June 25, 2023

As revolt in Russia subsides, U.S. and allies brace for what comes next

Yevgeniy Prigozhin’s extraordinary showdown with Vladimir Putin has dealt a serious blow to the stability of the Russian regime, observers say.

June 24, 2023