Russia and the West, the Energy Factor 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.