Developing Better Relations with Russia

Developing Better Relations with Russia

by John D. Johnson

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The Obama Administration has made improving relations with Russia one of its main foreign policy goals and its efforts to date have borne fruit and put U.S.-Russia relations on a positive footing looking toward the future. For its part, NATO also has re-engaged in a concentrated effort to improve relations with Russia since NATO-Russia Council meetings were suspended in 2008 following Russia's military action in Georgia.

As a result of these efforts, since the post-Soviet low in relations with Russia following the 2008 Russia-Georgia War, relations between the U.S., NATO and Russia have steadily improved over the past two and half years. And in spite of lingering mistrust and marked differences on some issues, the U.S., NATO and Russia have created a positive political environment where real dialogue and engagement on a number of shared interests makes possible a "true strategic partnership between NATO and Russia" for the 21st century as expressed in NATO's new Strategic Concept. Moreover, as important strategic issues such as counter-terrorism, Afghanistan, Iran and North Korea continue to challenge all sides, and other external powers continue to evolve, cooperation seems as important now as at any other time since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.

This paper aims to examine recent U.S. and NATO efforts to develop better relations with Russia, identify areas of common interest and disagreement, and provide recommendations for the way forward. This article will, at times, attempt to take into account the Russian perspective, a side that is sometimes overlooked in Western media, in order to highlight where U.S./NATO and Russian views diverge on key issues.

Download the Full Article: Developing Better Relations with Russia

Lieutenant Colonel John D. Johnson is a U.S. Army Fellow assigned to the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. He has served in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Department of the Army Staff, U.S. Army Europe, Multi-National Forces-Iraq (Baghdad), III Corps, U.S. Division South-Iraq (Basra), the 1st Infantry Division, the 1st Cavalry Division, and the 501st Military Intelligence Brigade.

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