Russia: Beyond the ‘Reset Button’

Our guest blogger is Samuel Charap, a fellow for National Security and International Policy at the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

obama_medvedevThis week marked the end of the first round of negotiations between the U.S. and Russia for a new agreement on nuclear weapons limitations to replace the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START). Since the treaty — a backbone of the arms control regime — expires in December, this is the most important agenda item for the two countries in the short term, and will be a main topic of discussion at the July summit in Moscow between Presidents Obama and Medvedev.

Cooperation on arms control has long been a key element of U.S.-Russia relations, and these negotiations are an appropriate and welcome sign that both nations have committed to concluding a legally binding agreement.

However, to have a truly substantive bilateral relationship, US Russia policy must be about more than arms control — and we will need a long-term strategy to define the agenda.

The Center for American Progress proposes six strategic goals for the administration to consider as it prepares for this critical summit in the coming weeks:

– Making Russia a part of the solution to significant international problems.

– Preparing to confront the challenges presented by both an assertive Russia and a declining Russia.

– Bolstering our energy security and that of our allies.

– Creating a secure environment in the post-Soviet region.

– Encouraging the emergence of a full-fledged democracy in Russia.

– Integrating Russia into the international community and global economy.

Russia plays a key role in many of the most difficult and important issues facing the United States, and also presents us with a number of challenges that cannot be ignored. With goals to guide day-to-day decisions, U.S. policy will be more coherent and will better serve the national interest.

Read more about these strategic goals here.