Events

Can the West Meet Putin's Challenge? Toward a Euroatlantic Security Community

March 17, 2002 // 11:00pm

In a meeting at the Kennan Institute, Amb. James Goodby called for a new organizing principle in U.S. policy towards Russia that would recognize it as a subject of policy rather than as a means of policy, such as in fighting terror or controlling proliferation. His presentation was based on his recent co-authored book A Strategy for Stable Peace: Toward a Euroatlantic Security Community.

Since taking office, Russian president Vladimir Putin has moved his country's orientation from seeking to counter-balance the United States with the "multi-polar" foreign policies of the Primakov government to a Western orientation – first towards Europe, then, following September 11, towards the United States. Putin's decision to join with the West, not just in the war on terror, but also in joining Western institutions, represents a strategic decision on Russia's part. The question, Goodby stated, is now whether the U.S. and the West are ready to respond to this shift by creating a new organizing principle for Russia policy.

A new organizing principle for Russia policy is important if we are to create a stable peace, one that could be reflected in a Euroatlantic Security Community. A stable peace is one in which war is not considered a contingency. A high convergence of values and identity are required for a stable peace, which is not likely in the short-term between Russia and the West. Indeed, the recently leaked position paper on the U.S. nuclear posture identifying Russia as a continued contingency is evidence that we are still in a conditional peace with Russia, Goodby noted.

Goodby identified five possible scenarios for Euroatlantic relations to develop.
· U.S. Dominance – similar to today's situation.
· Stable Triad – in which the U.S., EU, and Russia evolve to a relationship of political, if not economic or military, co-equals.
· Western Commonwealth – in which Russia declines, and the U.S. and EU grow closer.
· EU Dominance – in which Russia drops out, and the U.S. pulls back or refocuses on Asia.
· EU-Russia – in which the U.S. overreaches, the EU and Russia grow closer, and the U.S. and EU compete.

According to Goodby, the second option would be most conducive to long-term stability. But such an arrangement cannot be invented. It must be built gradually through a targeted trilateral agenda to build cooperation, Goodby stated. For example, in the security sphere, Russia should be and probably will be included in a "NATO at 20" scheme before the next round of expansion. It would be politically advisable to hold a "NATO at 20" summit meeting prior to the NATO summit meeting in Prague in the fall where additional states will be invited to join the alliance. In economics, Russia's membership in the WTO should be promoted with a target date of 2005. And in the humanitarian sphere, more should be done to help the Russian health care system.

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