The program covers a broad spectrum of foreign policy and security issues, including Russia’s relations with the U.S. and Western Europe, the creation of a common Euro-Atlantic security system, Russia’s cooperation with its neighbors, the evolving relationship with Central and Eastern Europe, and the development of ties with China, Japan and other Asian powers.
At the start of 2021, Russia’s relations with the United States and Europe are uniformly bad. US President Joe Biden vows to be even tougher on Russia than his predecessor Donald Trump. Josep Borrell, having made the first trip to Moscow by a EU foreign policy chief in four years, certified that Europe and Russia are drifting apart, which could lead to consequences.
Russia and the European Union need to imagine a more realistic goal for their relationship: a model of neighborliness, in which the inevitable disagreements will be managed in order to prevent disruptive conflicts and damaging collisions.
The main thrust of U.S. policy toward Russia has not changed much with the advent of a new administration. U.S.-Russian interaction on strategic stability issues will go hand-in-hand with persistent condemnation and retribution for what Biden calls Russia’s determination to damage and disrupt American democracy.
One of the first foreign policy signals to come from the Biden administration has been Washington’s expressed willingness to extend the New START Treaty with Russia for another five years. Moscow, for its part, has long been ready for such an extension, without any conditions.
Russia-EU relations have come a full circle since the 1990 Paris Charter for a New Europe, which represented the diplomatic equivalent of the End of History. Old hopes and new nightmares aside, where might Russia and Europe be a decade from now? Current trends are clearly taking them toward real confrontation, and potentially conflict. What can be done to keep things on an even keel, while not yet again falling for wishful thinking?
Russia and its Baltic Sea neighbors could start repairing their badly broken relationship on a common basis of neighborliness. This would fall far short of partnership, but it would end unchecked hostility.
This is not a call for a reset or a new partnership, but rather for a responsible, less hostile relationship between rivals bitterly divided by visions of world order, geopolitical interests, and values.
Security in the Baltic Sea region is a major element in the European politico-military landscape. The region demands special attention as it is where NATO and Russia are direct neighbors, sharing land borders. Where does the region fit in Russia’s foreign and security policy? How to preserve a minimum of security in the region? Join Ambassador Vygaudas Ušackas and Dmitri Trenin to explore these and other issues.
President Biden will challenge the Kremlin both domestically and geopolitically. To thwart that dual challenge, Russia needs to deal with its numerous vulnerabilities effectively before its adversary is able to exploit them.