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  • Author: John W. Parker, Michael Kofman
  • Publication Date: 03-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for National Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Russia's institution of a ban on American adoptions of Russian orphans, an appalling response by the Duma to U.S. sanctions against officials involved in the Sergei Magnitsky case,1 was a clear indicator that bilateral relations will assume a lower priority in the next 4 years for both capitals. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the measure despite open misgivings by some of his own key aides and against the opposition of most of Russia's civil society. The Russian Internet response was scathing, producing an instant winner for best sick joke of 2012: “An educated American family has decided to adopt a developmentally disabled Duma deputy.”.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Islam, Nuclear Weapons, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Middle East
  • Author: David C. Gompert, Michael Kofman
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for National Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The United States and Russia have sought to reduce the danger of nuclear war by limiting offensive strategic capabilities through negotiated agreements, relying on mutual deterrence based on reciprocal threats and the corresponding fear of retaliation. Although nuclear arsenals have been pared, this is fundamentally the same way the United States and Soviet Union sought to reduce the danger of nuclear war during the Cold War, when both were impelled to do so because they were adversaries and able to do so despite being adversaries. It is ironic—not to say unimaginative—that although the two are no longer adversaries, they stick to a path chosen when they were. This current approach is inadequate given new strategic vulnerabilities brought on by technological change. Both the opportunity and the need now exist for a different, more ambitious approach to avoiding strategic conflict—one designed for new possibilities as well as new vulnerabilities. The United States and Russia can and should raise their sights from linear numerical progress to qualitative transformation of their strategic relationship.
  • Topic: Security, Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, Science and Technology, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States
  • Author: Isabelle François
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for National Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: In 2012, the U.S. Department of Defense published Sustaining U.S. Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defense. In this strategy document, the Defense Department outlines the new focus of U.S. efforts on threats emanating primarily from South Asia and the Middle East, spelling out the U.S. commitment to address them by working with allies and partners, acknowledging Europe as the “home to some of America's most stalwart allies and partners.” It clearly states that the United States “has enduring interests in supporting peace and prosperity in Europe as well as bolstering the strength and vitality of NATO [North Atlantic Treaty Organization], which is critical to the security of Europe and beyond.” Moreover, the document characterizes engagement with Russia as important and reiterates U.S. commitment to continue efforts toward building a closer relationship in areas of mutual interest, encouraging Russia to be a contributor across a broad range of issues. The strategic environment will therefore remain one of partnership with Europe and Russia as nations work out the consequences of a rebalancing of forces in the near future.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, NATO, International Cooperation, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe
  • Author: Michael Kofman, Richard B. Andres
  • Publication Date: 02-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for National Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: On January 7, 2009, the existing energy relationship among Europe, Russia, and Ukraine broke down over a natural gas dispute, just as it had done 3 years earlier. Amid subzero temperatures in many parts of Europe, Russia turned off its gas supply to Ukraine, causing shortages in more than 20 European countries. Thousands across the continent were left in the dark, and government services were closed. While the flow of gas was eventually restored, Russian gas disputes with Ukraine continue, and the prospect of another Gazprom shutoff has become an annual event for European consumers. Despite earlier indications that another breakdown in negotiations would lead to blackouts in Europe early in 2010, the potential crisis was averted via a Russia-Ukraine deal that restructured earlier payment and pricing arrangements. However, it is doubtful that Ukraine can continue timely payments for its domestic gas consumption and maintain its own pipeline infrastructure. Fundamental changes to Russia-Ukraine energy transport agreements are coming.
  • Topic: Security, Energy Policy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe
  • Author: Gregory L. Schulte
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for National Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The United States has a great interest in the success of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), given the important role it can play in reducing the risks of nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism. Stalled investigations of Iran and Syria have put the credibility of the IAEA at stake. The agency detected neither Iran’s hidden uranium enrichment facility near Qom nor the reactor being constructed by Syria near al Kibar. These examples underscore the importance of strengthening the agency’s verification capability, by both increasing its authority and sharing more information. The IAEA can also help shape the global growth of nuclear power, ensuring the highest levels of safety and security, while discouraging the spread of sensitive technologies that can be misused to build nuclear weapons. The IAEA Board of Governors’ recent decision to establish a nuclear fuel bank in Russia is a step in the right direction. Success requires a new “Spirit of Vienna”—a willingness of delegates to work toward consensus on even difficult topics—surrounding the agency’s important role in nonproliferation. It also requires a conscious effort by the new Director General to remove the politics from IAEA business and return the agency to its technical mandate.
  • Topic: Security, Nuclear Weapons, Terrorism, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Iran, Syria, Vienna
  • Author: Eugene B. Rumer
  • Publication Date: 04-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for National Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The year 2003 was a difficult one in U.S.- Russian relations, and 2004 promises to be even more challenging. Disagreements between Washington and Moscow over Iraq were the most visible in a series of events that also included American concerns about Chechnya, the authoritarian tilt in Russian domestic politics, Russia's fading media freedom, selective prosecution of independent-minded businessmen, and meddling in the internal affairs of its neighbors. Together, these events add up to a trend that spells trouble for the ambitious U.S.-Russian strategic framework inaugurated by President George W. Bush and President Vladimir Putin in 2002. Yet rarely if ever has the need for greater cooperation between the two countries been more urgent than it will be in 2004 and the years to come.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Washington, Soviet Union, Moscow
  • Author: T.X Hammes, Robert B. Oakley
  • Publication Date: 03-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for National Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: To appreciate Afghanistan's predicament, it is essential to understand that all Afghan politics are tribal. Thus, while Afghans share a genuine national identity, their immediate concern in any political process is to advance or preserve the welfare of their ethnic or extended family group. Further, since the Russians and British artificially imposed the country's international borders, the tribes are not wholly contained within Afghanistan. They straddle the borders with surrounding nations. Thus, tribal politics are also international politics.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Russia, Middle East
  • Author: Eugene B. Rumer, Richard D. Sokolsky
  • Publication Date: 05-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for National Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: In 2001, President Vladimir Putin made a strategic choice for Russia's integration with the West. Indicators of this decision include Putin's quest for better relations with the United States and Europe, his stated commitment to Russian membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO), his pursuit of a new relationship with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and his almost casual dismissal of the potential major irritants in the relationship with the United States and its allies—U.S. withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty, the likelihood of Baltic membership in NATO, sizeable U.S. military deployments to Central Asia, and a growing U.S. military presence in Georgia. Putin has unequivocally crossed these once-insurmountable red lines despite opposition from his closest advisers and the unease of the Russian public over the American presence in Russia's backyard.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Georgia
  • Author: M. Elaine Bunn, Richard D. Sokolsky, David E. Mosher
  • Publication Date: 07-2001
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for National Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The strategic environment facing the United States has changed radically in the past decade. The United States needs to reexamine traditional ways of planning for the use of military force in conflicts that threaten vital interests and that could escalate to the highest levels of violence. Several characteristics define the new environment: Changed relationships between the major powers. The bipolar world of the Cold War has yielded to U.S. preeminence in virtually every facet of power, while Russia has become a second-tier power. China now has the seventh largest economy in the world and is modernizing both its conventional and nuclear forces—though it is unlikely to replace the former Soviet Union as the second pole in a reconfigured bipolar world. The rise of regional powers, such as Iraq and Iran. These aspiring regional hegemons are unhappy with a status quo that is preserved by American military power. The end of bipolarity has brought this antagonism to the fore. During the Cold War, regional conflicts played out within the context of the broader ideological and strategic conflict between the two superpowers, which also tamped down pressures for escalation and proliferation for fear that conflict would spiral out of control. That all ended with the Cold War. The collapse of the Soviet empire made it impossible for Russia to continue supporting its allies abroad, who were forced to become responsible for their own security. The possibility that smaller rogue states might try to keep the United States out of a regional conflict. By credibly threatening that the fight could escalate and even involve homeland attacks on the United States or its partners, a regional pariah might hope to prevent the United States from committing forces to the conflict or hinder it from building coalitions with European and regional allies. Failing that, a regional adversary could seek to delay and disrupt U.S. deployments to the theater and hamper operations. Finally, the leadership of a rogue state may be able to preserve its regime even in defeat if it could strike the American homeland or American allies. In short, regional powers are developing the capability to conduct strategic warfare against the United States. The importance these countries place on asymmetric warfare probably has been encouraged by the American distaste for wartime casualties and worries about self-deterrence.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China
  • Author: Ralph A. Cossa
  • Publication Date: 08-1996
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for National Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The political, economic, and security environment of the Asia-Pacific region in the 21st century will be shaped in very large part by the interrelationships among the United States, Japan, China, and Russia. To the extent these four nations can cooperate, a generally benign environment can develop in which the challenges sure to develop in the region can be managed. Conversely, tensions and conflict among the four will have a profoundly destabilizing impact regionally, if not globally.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, International Law
  • Political Geography: Russia, Japan, China, Asia, Northeast Asia