21st Century Strategic Stability, A U.S.-Russia Track II Dialogue
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The opportunities for cooperation in strengthening strategic stability between the United States and Russia have been greatly reduced by the deterioration of the relations between the two countries as well as by their different views of strategic stability in bilateral relations and in several key regions of the world. The situation has been further complicated by the Kremlin’s belief that the United States’ primary goal is regime change in Russia, and by the politicization of expert, media, and official analysis in Russia. Russia considers practically all U.S. policies (e.g., missile defense, conventional Prompt Global Strike, democracy promotion, use of military force in the Middle East) as a threat to strategic stability. Russia views the situation in the Middle East through the prism of the competition with the United States. Russia has relatively little interest in strengthening strategic stability in the China-India-Pakistan relationship, being more preoccupied with protecting Central Asia from Islamist fighters. When it comes to China, there are chances for a discrete dialogue between Russia and the United States, if and when the relations between Washington and Moscow improve. In the current situation, nuclear arms control negotiations, both at the strategic and non-strategic levels, have little chance of success. If the Russian economy continues to slow down, it is possible that Russia may consider further U.S.- Russian bilateral reductions of strategic nuclear weapons. In the meanwhile, unofficial contacts (Track II) between U.S. and Russian experts should be maintained in order to understand how our competing visions of doctrine and capabilities might play out in a confrontation or crisis where the use of force is a real possibility.
This report is the product of collaboration between the Naval Postgraduate School Center on Contemporary Conflict and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency
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