CISSM hosts workshop on potential for U.S.-Russian security cooperation despite tensions

October 24, 2016

The need for the United States and Russia to maintain and expand security cooperation on a range of issues--including nuclear arms control, cyber threats, European and Mideast security--despite heightened tensions between the two countries emerged as a common theme from presentations and discussions at an October 11, 2016 workshop between U.S. and Russian security scholars.

Sergei Rogov, the director of the Institute for USA and Canada Studies (ISKRAN) at the Russian Academy of Sciences, lead off the meeting by outlining why he thought the United States and Russia were in a new Cold War with one another: the lack of official dialogue between the sides, increased reliance on propoganda, renewed military competition, and the use of trade as a strategic weapon. The other Russian scholars who participated in the workshop, all of whom are also based at ISKRAN, addressed potential areas of cooperation between the two states: Viktor Esin, the former chief of staff of Russia's Strategic Missile Force, proposed several steps that Russian and U.S. nuclear arms control experts could take to resolve ongoing disputes about perceived violations of the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty; former Russian General Pavel Zolotarev argued that both countries need to develop a better understanding of each other's post-Cold War security dilemmas in Eastern Europe and Central Asia; ISKRAN scholar Pavel Sharikov identified several opportunities for both countries to lay the groundwork to avoid conflicts in cyberspace; and Tatiana Anichkina described the influence of hypersonic weapon systems to affect security calculations between the two countries.

CISSM Interim Director Nancy Gallagher emphasized the importance of the continued collaboration between CISSM and ISKRAN to develop the necessary cooperative approaches. In this vein, the U.S. participants in the workshop addressed the potential for cooperative airspace arrangements, transparency and confidence building measures about cyber activities, the security dilemma in the Baltics, regional security arrangements with Turkey, the impacts of ballistic missile defense on strategic stability, and changes in U.S. nuclear policy to increase international security and to positively impact the fundamental U.S.-Russian relationship. The participants underlined the importance of continued dialogue on arms control and international security to preserve the strategic relationship and minimize risks due to misperceptions. 

The workshop was held as part of the CISSM project, “From Renewed Competition to Rejuvenated Cooperation,” which is funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and supports a range of educational, outreach, and research activities focused on improving U.S.-Russian security relations.