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News | June 7, 2021

Back from the Brink? Prospects for U.S.-Russia Relations

By Jeffrey Mankoff World Politics Review

A Russian Su-27 Flanker intercepts a U.S. Air Force B-52H Stratofortress, while participating in Baltic Operations over the Baltic Sea, June 9, 2017. The exercise is designed to enhance flexibility and interoperability, to strengthen combined response capabilities, as well as demonstrate resolve among allied and partner nations forces to ensure stability in, and defend, the Baltic Sea region. Flight intercepts are regular occurrences, and the vast majority are conducted in a safe and professional manner. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jonathan Snyder)
A Russian Su-27 Flanker intercepts a U.S. Air Force B-52H Stratofortress, while participating in Baltic Operations over the Baltic Sea, June 9, 2017. The exercise is designed to enhance flexibility and interoperability, to strengthen combined response capabilities, as well as demonstrate resolve among allied and partner nations forces to ensure stability in, and defend, the Baltic Sea region. Flight intercepts are regular occurrences, and the vast majority are conducted in a safe and professional manner. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jonathan Snyder)
A Russian Su-27 Flanker intercepts a U.S. Air Force B-52H Stratofortress, while participating in Baltic Operations over the Baltic Sea, June 9, 2017. The exercise is designed to enhance flexibility and interoperability, to strengthen combined response capabilities, as well as demonstrate resolve among allied and partner nations forces to ensure stability in, and defend, the Baltic Sea region. Flight intercepts are regular occurrences, and the vast majority are conducted in a safe and professional manner. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jonathan Snyder)
Bombers over the Baltic
A Russian Su-27 Flanker intercepts a U.S. Air Force B-52H Stratofortress, while participating in Baltic Operations over the Baltic Sea, June 9, 2017. The exercise is designed to enhance flexibility and interoperability, to strengthen combined response capabilities, as well as demonstrate resolve among allied and partner nations forces to ensure stability in, and defend, the Baltic Sea region. Flight intercepts are regular occurrences, and the vast majority are conducted in a safe and professional manner. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jonathan Snyder)
Photo By: Staff Sgt. Jonathan Snyder
VIRIN: 170609-F-RH756-308

When U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met last month with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, in Reykjavik, it prompted inevitable comparisons with another high-level encounter in Iceland’s capital: the famous October 1986 summit between Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev that set the stage for the thawing of the Cold War.

As the current American and Russian leaders, Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin, prepare for their first summit on June 16 in Geneva, prospects are slim for the kind of breakthrough achieved by Reagan and Gorbachev. Tensions remain high due to Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea and subsequent invasion of Ukraine; its interference in U.S. elections; its aggressive behavior in cyberspace—including the recent SolarWinds hack, which compromised a range of public and private sector entities across the West—and the sanctions that Washington imposed in response to all those activities. ...

Read the rest at World Politics Review here - 

Dr. Jeffrey Mankoff is a Distinguished Research Fellow at the Institute for National Strategic Studies, Center for Strategic Research at National Defense University.