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No Pause for the «Reset»
No Pause for the «Reset»
The U.S.-Russia «reset» has become an acknowledged foreign policy triumph for the incumbent administrations in Washington and Moscow. However, amid the difficulties with negotiating further arms control agreements, politicians and pundits on both sides are tempted to conclude that the reset has largely run its course. Such talk is premature at best and harmful to U.S.-Russia relations at worst.
Relations between the United States and Russia have long been haunted
by a vicious circle of disagreements on regional issues,
nuclear deterrence and
Indeed, disagreements on conflict resolution and defense alliance dynamic across Eurasia remain the major sources of tension between Moscow and Washington. Both sides appear to believe that enhanced security for one side and its allies necessarily comes at the expense of the other’s interests. This logic has effectively applied to the prospects of further expanding NATO, resolving the Georgia and Moldova disputes, and — until recently — military base deployments in Central Asia.
This rivalry has kept alive the antiquated
These assumptions are flawed: a number of large states effectively deter each other in the absence of nuclear arms. Adding a nuclear dimension to deterrence — as is the case with the United States and Russia — only increases the psychological and, as a result, political antagonism. India and Pakistan provide a vivid example of this point.
Nuclear deterrence is the ultimate manifestation of distrust in world politics in general and in U.S.-Russia relations in particular. Planning for situations in which nuclear retaliation may become inevitable is a sign of total distrust. If two states distrust each other to the «nuclear extent," there is no way they can resolve tactical disagreements on the ground — for example, in Russia’s near abroad. Here the negative feedback loop closes up: these disagreements, as we have seen earlier, compel you to plan for using nukes.
If Moscow and Washington are to continue deriving economic and other benefits from their expanded ties, they need to break the vicious circle. This constitutes the next task for the U.S.-Russia «reset». To maintain the momentum, both sides will have to pursue three tracks, addressing each source of contention.
First, they must work to build trust among state bureaucracies through
Second, Moscow and Washington would be advised to seek new ways
to overcome the destructive impact of nuclear deterrence
on U.S.-Russia relations. The New START Treaty, which entered into force
on February 5, 2011, represented a great step forward in this
direction by increasing confidence and reaffirming the commitment
of both sides to nuclear disarmament. However, further progress
in U.S.-Russian arms control negotiations has become contingent
on resolving the differences across
Therefore, Russia and the U.S. must also intensify dialogue on the
issues of mutual concern in the regions around Russia. Certain
trends, such as the evolution of stakeholders’ positions on the
It will not be easy for Moscow and Washington to avoid
becoming hostage to parochial influences on their policymaking with
regard to states in
The way forward for the U.S.-Russia «reset» cannot be clearer. And yet
an unfortunate string of events could bring the «reset»
to a halt during the upcoming Russian and American election seasons.
However, if that occurs, it will not be the result
of a lack of agenda, but rather
«Говорят эксперты МГИМО», может не совпадать с мнением редакции портала.