I like the line of argument from David Capezza’s WPR piece on NATO-Russia relations. Taken to its logical extreme, it suggests that the way to resolve security disputes with Russia — like missile defense and NATO expansion — isn’t to engage in needlessly provocative behavior or to simply capitulate every time Vlad raises his angry head in our airspace, but to integrate Russia into the European security equation.
I have my doubts about missile defense in general, in part due to its lackluster testing record. And I think that integrating Georgia into NATO is unnecessary so long as Russia considers a NATO presence on its border a significant security threat. But given the amount of overlapping security concerns and energy interdependence (Russia needs EU markets as much as the EU needs Russian gas), the arguments for a transparent cooperative security relationship seem more compelling than those for a confrontational stance. That obviously won’t happen overnight, but this strikes me as the forward-leaning prism through which to analyze this dispute.
This also reminds me of an interview I did for the French strategic posture review in June. While almost everyone referred to Russia as neither friend nor enemy, but simply potential problem or solution depending on the situation, one analyst simply smiled and said, “Russia is a great European power, which experienced a series ofsocietal traumatisms. But of course it can be a strategic partner. Evenfor the United States.”