The U.S. and Russia: Reinventing a Relationship

The U.S. and Russia: Reinventing a Relationship

Among the foreign policy issues on the U.S. Congress' agenda during its lame duck session is the ratification of the New START Treaty, signed by Presidents Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev last April. The treaty is important in and of itself, because it reduces the American and Russian strategic nuclear arsenals and extends nuclear weapons verification measures interrupted when the START I treaty lapsed last December. But New START also represents a critical step in redefining the U.S.-Russian relationship, making it more than just an arms control arrangement.

Russia is the world's largest country, endowed with highly skilled human capital and vast natural resources. Spanning Europe and Asia, it sits at the epicenter not only of global challenges but also of prospective opportunities. Russia and the United States together possess more than 90 percent of the world's nuclear weapons. Even in today's world of diversified threats and problems, the U.S.-Russian relationship holds the key to reducing dangers and improving the prospects for international stability and prosperity around the world. For this reason, it is arguably one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century.

Two decades after the end of the Cold War, it is timely to reflect on the state of U.S.-Russian relations. So much has happened in the world since the Berlin Wall came down and the Soviet Union splintered into independent states. Yet, so little has changed in the fundamental dynamics of the bilateral relationship. The stalemate is not for lack of trying. To the contrary, there have been many attempts over the past few decades to overcome the mistrust and confrontation. Nixon and Brezhnev, Reagan and Gorbachev, Clinton and Yeltsin -- all believed that they were permanently changing the nature of U.S.-Russian relations. Unfortunately, all of these "resets" turned out to be short-lived.

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.