A neutral perspective
As the dust settled on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, two super powers emerged from the devastation of the Second World War: The United States and Russia. Both countries fought side by side for the liberation of Europe and their soldiers made the ultimate sacrifice. Unfortunately, as soon as the Third Reich was defeated, both countries began to view each other with suspicion and consequently as enemies. Instead of working together they placed the magnifying glass on each other, pointed ballistic missiles in each other's direction and fought numerous proxy wars all over the world. In the current state of the world today it is very important that these former allies leave the past where it belongs and focus on the problems at hand. To make any positive changes on environmental issues, reduce stockpiles of nuclear weapons, stem the spread of nuclear technology to rogue nations, nip terrorism in the bud and defeat the Taliban, it is in the interest of the United States to have a strategic partnership with Russia.
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The state of our environment today is dire. The depletion of the ozone layer due to hazardous green house gasses is on the rise .According to Gary Hart "On the U.S. Commission on National Security for the 21st Century [Hart is a former co-chair], my fellow commissioners and I agreed unanimously that three regional powers are critical to future world stability". World future stability includes the state of our environment. If the regional powers of the world ( China , India , Russia , Brazil , Turkey , South Africa , Australia , USA ) do not come together and ratify the " Kyoto protocol" the impact will be devastating for everyone. This is why it is in the interest of the United States and Russia to come together. Russia possesses regional hegemony in Eastern Europe and the United States is equally as influential in North America. As great powers, both countries can influence other nations in their regions to adopt this protocol, thereby limiting emissions and making for a greener world.
The United States and Russia collectively possess over 20,000 nuclear warheads; reducing these stockpiles is a necessity. There are no reasons to possess this much destructive power; the cold war is over. The United States and Russia need to set an example for other nations of the world, both developed and developing. If both countries take a stand on this issue, countries like North Korea and Iran will have no reason to arm themselves through nuclear technology. Opponents would argue that America needs nuclear weapons for self protection. The fact is that the United States would still have the most powerful conventional army in the world, even without nuclear weapons. The United States spends over $500 Billion yearly on the Armed forces and no country has as much combat experience or military hardware as the United States. The only assurance nuclear weapons give is that of mutual destruction if they are ever used.
Gary hart claims that "A working relationship is not a favor to the Russians but an advantage to us". This is true when it comes to the Iran and North Korea nuclear issue. Geographically, Russia is positioned perfectly to influence countries like Iran and North Korea. Iran is a Russian ally and since the 1979 Iranian revolution has been a purchaser of Russian weaponry. As a matter of fact, Russia is assisting Iran build a nuclear reactor in the city of Bushehr. In the case of North Korea, the communist regime has shared a very close relationship with the Russians even before the collapse of the Soviet Union . Along with Cuba, North Korea was a chief benefactor of the union of socialist states. Russia has enough leverage to help in the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and prevent Iran from acquiring the "Bomb". Some argue that the Russians have purposely watered down resolutions and used their veto power in blocking sanctions against Iran and North Korea. In all fairness, the United States cannot expect Russian help without treating Russia as equals, long standing trade restrictions like the 1974 Jackson-Vanik amendment do not help matters. Hart put it best when he said "Also, to expect Russian subservience to its chief Cold War rival is to misunderstand Russian history, culture and character".
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A strategic partnership with Russia is necessary to tackling terrorism and defeating the Taliban. Taking advantage of Russian intelligence will be very useful to America in countering terrorism and obtaining victory in Afghanistan. The Russians fought home grown Islamic radicals in the North Caucasus from 1994-2000 on terrain very similar to that of Afghanistan. Furthermore, the war in the North Caucasus attracted foreign fighters; this is also similar to the situation in Afghanistan. Many have argued that it is not in the interest of the Russia to help the United States win the war in Afghanistan. These people seem to forget that terrorism does not discriminate and that Russia has a bone to pick with the Taliban. The opposition has been proven wrong already as the United States and Russia recently signed an agreement granting the U S military access to Russian airspace in respect to operations in Afghanistan. Utilizing Russian intelligence and experience is tantamount to success in Afghanistan.
With the Future wrapped in uncertainty, whether these former allies come together will be a driving force in the direction the world will go. What is needed is a relationship based on large common interests like those already mentioned and as Edwards and Kemp put it, not "a relationship with a narrow base". A lot of think tanks believe the idea of the United States and Russia working together on a broad level is utopian, maybe so, but both countries should at least give it a shot. The negative effects of both countries not working together will reverberate through all aspects of our lives. That is why it is in the interest of the United States to have a strategic partnership with the Russian Federation.
"The United States Should View Russia as a Strategic Partner". Gary Hart.
Opposing Viewpoints: Russia. Ed. Viqi Wagner. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2009.