Toward a New Euro-Atlantic "Hard" Security Agenda: Prospects for Trilateral U.S.-EU-Russia Cooperation IFRI, CSIS, July 2008
This study is part of a series being published by the joint CSIS/IFRI project "Europe, Russia, and the United States: Finding a New Balance," which seeks to reframe the trilateral relationship for the relevant policymaking communities.
The CSIS/IFRI joint project seeks to reframe the trilateral relationship for the relevant policymaking communities. We are motivated with the possibility that new opportunities may be emerging with leadership change in Moscow and Washington. In particular, we hope that our analyses and recommendations will be useful as France takes over the chair of the EU on July 1, 2008.
The title of the project reflects our sense that relations between Europe, Russia, and the United States have somehow lost their balance, their equilibrium. The situations of the key actors have changed a great deal for a variety of reasons including, but not only, new wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, expansion of NATO and the EU, and the unexpectedly rapid economic recovery of Russia. At a deeper level, we find ourselves somewhat perplexed that nearly twenty years since the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the subsequent conclusion of the Cold War that relations between Europe, Russia, and the United States seem strained on a multitude of issues. In Berlin in June 2008, Russian President, Dmitri Medvedev, invoked the language articulated fifteen years ago by Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltsin about "unity between the whole Euro-Atlantic area from Vancouver to Vladivostok." Despite many achievements over the past fifteen years, it is hard not to conclude that collectively we have under-achieved in building greater trust and cooperation. We are convinced that both for enhanced European security as well as global security, we must increase the level of trust and cooperation between the trans-Atlantic allies and Russia, and that this cooperation must rest on a firm economic and political grounding.
We must humbly acknowledge that we certainly have no "magic bullet," but we hope that the series of papers to be published in the summer and fall of 2008 as part of this project may contribute to thinking anew about some of the challenging issues that we in Europe, Russia, and the United States collectively face.
As new leaders are taking over in Moscow, Washington, and many EU capitals, they inherit a host of security problems in the Euro-Atlantic area that have accumulated and crystallized since the latest failed attempt, in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, to form a new strategic partnership between the Cold War adversaries. These problems are not trivial and can get more complicated, even leading to political conflicts. In order to avoid drifting toward confrontation not warranted by the core interests of the parties concerned, Russians, Americans, and Europeans need to address the wider context of their relations, prioritize the key issues, and start looking for practical solutions.Russia's relations with the United States and the European Union are multilayered and complex. At the public and political level, there is deep mistrust between Russia, on the one hand, and the United States and many of its allies, on the other. Some even talk of a new Cold War. Just beneath the surface, however, there is a cool but mostly solid political relationship between Russia and its key Western partners. And underneath that, there are booming economic interactions, complete with cross-border investments, and numerous people-to-people exchanges. The Cold War analogy is most probably wrong, but some of the elements of 1914 are uncomfortably present in the current relationship.The "hard" security issues, which are the subject of this report, are embedded within the political layer, but are widely discussed at the "chattering" level and virtually ignored down below. Immediately after the end of the East-West confrontation, they were almost consigned to history books, along with the very notion of "European security," only to be rediscovered several years later. Actually, there are two classes of security issues. One represents problems between Russia and its nominal partners in North America and Europe, and the other, common challenges to both the West and Russia. Thus, the Euro-Atlantic security agenda can only be complex and, in some parts, controversial.