Since February 2014, the Russian leadership has been in a de facto war mode with regard to the United States.
Despite the extraordinary level of Western media and analytical interest in September 2017’s Russian-Belarusian Zapad military exercise before it began, key lessons and implications from it have only become clear after it ended.
The downturn in relations between Russia and the West in the aftermath of the collapse of the Ukrainian government of Viktor Yanukovych in February 2014 and the Crimean referendum to join the Russian Federation has resulted in the worst crisis in East-West relations since before the end of the Cold War.
With the U.S.-Russian relationship badly frayed, what are the biggest risks for escalation, deterioration and miscalculation? What, if any, opportunities exist for halting a continued downward slide?
With an eye toward informing the conversation about key issues in U.S.-Russian relations, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace has commissioned a series of analytical papers by leading U.S., Russian, and European experts and practitioners to take a cold-eyed look at these challenges.
Building on the work of the Carnegie Endowment-Chicago Council on Global Affairs Task Force on U.S. Policy Toward Russian, Ukraine, and Eurasia, these papers seek to better inform the conversation about U.S.-Russian relations and to expand the range of perspectives beyond the relatively narrow confines of the current discussion in Washington and other capitals. The papers highlight the glaring differences between Russian and Western approaches to and perspectives on trans-Atlantic, European, and Eurasian security.
The search for mutual understanding and dialogue is all the more challenging at a time when many of the long-established communication channels between Moscow and the West have been suspended as a result of what is increasingly described as a new Cold War. Many of the perspectives in this collection differ, at times fundamentally, from the consensus view held by Western policymakers and analysts. Nevertheless, it is all the more vital for policymakers, analysts, and opinion-makers in the West to be informed about views held by their Russian counterparts, as these views inform and shape Russian policy.