Politicians on both sides have convinced themselves the relationship doesn’t matter all that much. For years, the expert community has been drawing up lists of reasons why a productive and cooperative U.S.-Russia relationship matters to both countries’ security and prosperity—but these arguments don’t seem to have fallen on fertile ground.

Politicians should stop trying to “fix” the U.S.-Russia relationship. The current climate, plus the personalities of the two presidents, do not bode well for pursuing new “resets.” What’s more important right now is to ring-fence those areas where things are working to create habits of cooperation or to build a foundation for a better relationship at a future date. We don’t need U.S. congressmen or Russian bureaucrats throwing monkey wrenches that mess up productive technical cooperation or promising economic relationships.

Nikolas K. Gvosdev, Associate Professor, National Security Affairs Department, Naval War College

This post is part of the Perspectives on Peace and Security: Rebuilding the U.S.–Russia Relationship project produced by Carnegie Corporation of New York.

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