Arms Control and Proliferation Challenges to the Reset Policy/Russia and U.S. National Interests: Why Should Americans Care?

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Arms Control and Proliferation Challenges to the Reset Policy Stephen J. Blank, Strategic Studies Institute, November 2011

Russia and U.S. National Interests: Why Should Americans Care? Graham Allison and Robert Blackwill (co-chairs), Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and Center for the National Interest, October 2011

Further engagement with Russia on issues of nonproliferation and nuclear disarmament is in the U.S. national interest, according to two recent reports, one by Stephen J. Blank and the other by a task force headed by Graham Allison and Robert D. Blackwill. Warning that the current U.S.-Russian reset is fragile because of a history of mutual distrust, both reports lay out recommendations for strengthening U.S. engagement with Russia.

The Allison and Blackwill report covers a wide array of issues pertinent to U.S.-Russian relations, but the authors identify further cooperation on nuclear issues as a policy priority. On the question of nuclear disarmament, Allison and Blackwill say that further bilateral arms reductions will be difficult, due in part to disagreements over tactical nuclear weapons, a view that Blank also articulates in his report. Given these U.S.-Russian divergences, Allison and Blackwill recommend that future negotiations on tactical weapons focus on transparency and verification rather than reductions. For his part, Blank emphasizes the need to consider Russia's perception of the Chinese threat when determining a negotiating position on further reductions in these weapons.

Both reports emphasize the need for new U. …