Global Insights: Need for New Thinking in Russia-NATO Relations

Global Insights: Need for New Thinking in Russia-NATO Relations

The May 23 Moscow European Security Conference gathered government representatives, defense officials and analysts from Russia, Europe and elsewhere to discuss the range of issues confronting policymakers for European security today. Sponsored by the Russian Ministry of Defense, which covered my expenses as well as those of other nongovernmental participants, the speeches and debates displayed an interesting admixture of standard post-Cold War rhetoric and genuinely innovative thinking. While the conference highlighted the many areas of divergence between Russia and the West on matters of European and global security, it also offered some opportunities for renewed engagement and dialogue on these often divisive issues.

Predictably, U.S.-NATO ballistic missile defense (BMD) plans dominated most of the discussion. Notwithstanding all the changes the BMD program has undergone, with major restructurings coming at the start of both of the Obama administration’s two terms, Russians continued to object to the unconstrained size and unpredictable future capabilities of the U.S. missile defense architecture. They reiterated their demand that the United States sign a binding treaty that would limit its BMD activities.

Perhaps the one new element in the BMD discussion was in how the Russians cited U.S. anti-missile capabilities as a threat to their conventional forces, in addition to their longstanding concerns over the program’s implications for Russia’s nuclear deterrent. For example, they noted that the Aegis radar control system found on key U.S. missile defense systems—and scheduled to be based soon in Romania and other countries near Russia—has considerable anti-air as well as anti-missile potential.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.

More World Politics Review