Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

A New Agenda for U.S.-Russia Cooperation

Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

A New Agenda for U.S.-Russia Cooperation

Article excerpt

Moscow and Washington have many issues they can work together on. The challenge is not to preserve the "reset," but to move beyond it.

The recent experience of "reset" in Russian-American relations is remarkable in at least two ways. On the one hand, it demonstrated that, given the political commitment of both presidents, the two sides can accomplish a lot within a short time span. On the other hand, this experience confirmed that the relationship between our countries remains vulnerable to shifting political winds and passing policy differences, as we are currently witnessing.

The challenge we face at the beginning of 2013 is not to preserve reset, but to move beyond it. The time has come to turn the page and to address the realities of the 21st century.

With President Obama re-elected and President Vladimir Putin solidly in charge in Moscow, now is time for both leaders to reinvigorate U.S.-Russian cooperation to the benefit of the two countries. They can also act together to strengthen global security in general and pave the way for a more stable and predictable world.

American and Russian interests converge on a number of significant and timely issues. As we have written together in the past, the two countries share a common objective in reducing the nuclear danger. The New Start Treaty was an important achievement, but more can be done, including accelerating implementation of the reductions required by the treaty (why wait until 2018 to have the limits take full effect?), and launching a new bilateral negotiation to further cut nuclear stockpiles.

Russia and the United States control 90 to 95 percent of the world's nuclear weapons. We can readily continue negotiations of further reductions and still safely ensure our security. If we do, we will be more persuasive when asking other nuclear-weapons states to join in the nuclear-arms reduction process and will enhance the credibility of our diplomacy in mobilizing international pressure on Iran to refrain from trying to build a nuclear weapon.

Next year will mark the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Limited Test Ban Treaty, the first nuclear arms control agreement. It would be an appropriate year for the U.S. Senate to consent to ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which has been languishing for 13 years. The United States could then join Russia among the countries that have ratified, thus bringing the treaty closer to entry into force.

The long-running dispute over missile defense continues to cast a shadow over possible progress on arms control, even though both NATO and Russia say they want to cooperate in that sphere. Now is the time to be creative. With some imagination on both sides, missile defense could prove a game-changer, making NATO and Russia allies in protecting Europe.

We have focused on arms control issues not just because of the important security implications for Russia and the United States. …

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