The U.S. and Russia: Reinventing a Relationship

Writing in World Politics Review, Carnegie Corporation’s Deana Arsenian and grantee Andrey Kortunov of the New Eurasia Foundation argue that the U.S. and Russia must fundamentally reinvent their relationship.

The authors contend that “Even in today's world of diversified threats and problems, the U.S.-Russian relationship holds the key to reducing dangers and improving the prospects for international stability and prosperity around the world.”  For this reason, they say it is one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century.

The moment is an important one, Arsenian and Kortunov contend, especially given the low starting point of 2008. And the list of recent successes is short: the New START Treaty, sanctions against Iran and cooperation in Afghanistan. Critics would say that none of these accomplishments constitute a breakthrough. The treaty still awaits ratification in both countries, and there is no consensus between the two sides on how to handle Iran's nuclear weapons ambition in the long run. Cooperation in Afghanistan, while symbolic, remains limited.

Moreover, they write that “all of these achievements can be undone if relations turn sour again, either due to domestic trends in each country or external developments. One can think of scenarios that could dismantle the Obama-Medvedev legacy and pivot the relationship toward the old patterns of confrontation. Many opinion-makers in both capitals, who continue to view each other predominantly through the prism of the Cold War, are rooting for exactly such an outcome.”

Read the full article.