the Bear and the Eagle

U.S.-Russian Security Relations

Quick Read: Trump’s more predictable foreign policy likely to benefit Kremlin

Contrary to conventional wisdom that views President Trump’s foreign policy as unpredictable, a recent Foreign Affairs analysis argues that in fact his most controversial positions—questioning NATO, seeking to pull out of Syria, starting trade wars—are all consistent with the worldview he has publicly embraced at least since the 1980s. The fulfillment of Trump’s time-tested positions is likely to benefit the Kremlin in the short term....

Quick Read: Patterns in Russian-American Relations

What distinguishes U.S. policy on Russia under Donald Trump from other U.S. presidents?

A recent Foreign Policy Research Institute analysis argues that the current state of the U.S.-Russia relationship is unprecedented. Donald Trump has overseen a period of continued deterioration of the U.S.-Russian relationship, which, at almost five years, is the longest sustained downturn in relations since the end of the Cold War:

“While the Clinton, Bush, and Obama resets didn’t last, they provided periods of respite in...

Quick Read: U.S.-Russia Foreign Policy After Midterms

What do the recent midterm elections in the United States and the resulting changes in the composition of Congress mean for U.S. foreign policy on Russia?

A recent Foreign Policy analysis focuses on the aftermath of the U.S. midterm elections and argues that while the Democratic Party won majority in the House of Representatives, new sanctions on Russia were likely regardless of who won the elections:

“While the Russia question may have been a thorn in Trump’s side, the...

The implications of the U.S. withdrawal from INF

What does the recent decision by President Donald Trump to pull out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty mean for broader U.S.-Russian security relations? According to Amy Woolf, a Specialist in Nuclear Weapons Policy at the Congressional Research Service who gave a talk on the subject at the November 1st CISSM Global Forum, the U.S. decision to pull out of the treaty reflects its concerns with Russia’s ongoing violation of the Treaty. The timing of the decision to withdraw,...

A role for the public in nonproliferation?

Is the pursuit of nuclear nonproliferation exclusively a government prerogative or can average citizens engage it as well? This was the question posed at an October 4th, CISSM Global Forum featuring Sara Kutchesfahani, senior policy analyst at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation and a research associate at the CISSM. 

Kutchesfahani‘s presentation sparked a particularly lively discussion among the forum participants, as there was wide disagreement about the best methods of containing nuclear weapons.
On the...

Quick Read: The woman behind the curtain?

How is that the Trump administration’s policy toward Russia came to be “entirely at odds” with Trump's own pronouncements on the subject? A recent analysis suggests that part of the explanation lies in the work of senior National Security Council staffer Fiona Hill.

“For nearly two decades, Hill has followed Putin’s trajectory, from the glum apparatchik presiding over the chaotic post-Yeltsin years to the modern-day czar who flouts international law and is suspected of hiding tens of

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Don't let UN, OSCE cyber norm-setting efforts sputter

Concerns that the increasing lack of security in the cybersphere could lead to conflict among states have been growing since the late 1990s. Russia introduced the first United Nations (UN) resolution on this topic in 1998. Since that time, there have been several multilateral efforts to build norms for use of the cybersphere. The two most important and most successful to date have been the UN Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) process and the development by the Organisation for Security...

The Corruption-Security Nexus and the OSCE

Combating corruption is a cornerstone of the OSCE’s work. Under the banner of “good governance” and “rule of law,” the OSCE provides expertise at its secretariat in Vienna and at field missions in certain participating states on how best to build integrity and expunge corrupt activity throughout the region. In order to be more effective in combatting corruption, however, OSCE officials need to adopt a new, more thorough strategy for deploying its capabilities.

Increasingly, transnational corruption has become a central...

The OSCE Police Mission in Ukraine – Not Mission Impossible

In early 2016, Ukraine requested the deployment of an OSCE armed-police mission to its eastern regions to provide security in the run-up to the elections stipulated by the Minsk armistice. Two years later, discussions between Germany, Russia, France, and Ukraine (the so-called Normandy format) and talks between the EU and OSCE leadership have failed to produce agreement on the mission’s mandate or scope. Why has it been an “impossible mission” to establish and mobilize an OSCE armed mission?...

An Arctic Role for OSCE?

As the Arctic becomes increasingly accessible and as Arctic and Non-Artic states explore their strategic interests in the region, the potential for misunderstandings or even conflict rises. The Arctic Council, an intergovernmental forum that includes all Artic-bordering states, has been an effective coordinating mechanism for many of the region’s challenges, but its mandate precludes it from addressing security issues. The Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe (OSCE) is in a good position to be able to fill this gap....