Putin’s statements on weapons of mass destruction at the Valdai forum may have been just a tactical move to offset his harsh criticism of the United States. But it may well be an invitation to a serious discussion with Washington.
If common sense prevails and the West resumes its cooperation with Russia, the consolidated response to security threats in Afghanistan will be far more effective than the current disjointed efforts by various countries.
Europe’s and the United States’ principal challenge for the coming years is to develop a new strategy for dealing with Russia. This strategy will have to be built on a realistic understanding of Russia as it is, rather than on what the West would like it to be and hopes it will one day become.
John Mroz, who died earlier this month, was the founder of the EastWest Institute, a novel concept of a “think and do tank” which sought to organize Track 2 and Track 1.5 discussions across the Cold War divide. Mroz has departed precisely at the moment when the need for his services has peaked again.
The tensions between Russia and the West heightened over the issues of compliance with the INF treaty. In this case, it would not be prudent for Russia to seriously compromise its long-term security yet again while pursuing tactical goals or relying on superficial arguments.