Modest Expectations

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The Pentagon today is paying greater attention to Russia as a security threat.  That reflects several factors:  Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, its bellicose rhetoric, and the modernization of its military.  As the United States prepares to modernize its own nuclear forces, arms control could play an important role in stabilizing the relationship between Washington and Moscow.  But expectations should be kept modest, given the troubled political atmospherics and the two countries’ differing approaches on arms control.

The West-Russia relationship has declined to its lowest point in many years.  Moscow used military force to illegally seize Crimea in 2014 and then supported armed separatism in eastern Ukraine.  The Kremlin has taken a more threatening stance in general toward the West, for example, frequently flying nuclear-capable Bear bombers near the air space of NATO members.  This takes place against the backdrop of a major Russian investment to modernize its nuclear forces.

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