Time has come for “new realism” in Russia-US relations, President of US-based Global Security Institute says

The original article, which was published on March 16, 2015 in Russian by the TASS News Agency of Russia, can be found here. Below english translation provided by TASS News Agency of Russia.  

NEW YORK, March 16 /TASS/. Time for “new realism” has come in the Russian-American relations, Jonathan Granoff, president of the US-based Global Security Institute, said in an interview with TASS on Monday. He agreed that the situation in Ukraine could be the last test for Moscow and Washington.

“If we look at how this was playing out in terms of hostility, it leads to a very dark future. It reminds us that we need a new security architecture based on our common interests. Ukraine is a wake- up call that we cannot allow very real differences to override the overall imperative of working together on our shared challenges,” the expert said adding that Moscow and Washington should restart the process of nuclear disarmament with new strength and pay more attention to problems linked to global climate change and reduction of biological diversity on the planet. 

Granoff said Russia and the United States needed more than just a “restart” to mend their relations. “Not just a restart. It is a new realism, realistic realism. And it’s not something that is bilateral, it’s systemic,” he stressed. The U.S. expert called on Washington and Moscow to change their approaches by giving up the demonstration of force and threats to each other.

“We need to follow a new course where we identify our common interests and pursue them. That would be the show of strength and wisdom,” he said.

The expert is convinced that the crisis in bilateral relations caused by unwillingness to listen to each other has only become worse after the two countries had imposed a series of reciprocal sanctions on each other.

“The United States, through NATO, is still having an ‘ingroup and outgroup’ mentality. That’s got to change. There is no ‘outgroup’ for the climate. There is no ‘outgroup’ for the health of the oceans. There are no passports that pandemic diseases like Ebola hold,” Granoff went on to say.

“And in the financial markets, in fact, if the Russian economy would collapse – a terrible thing – it would affect everyones’ market! If the American market collapses it would affect everyone in Russia,” the U.S. expert stressed recalling the global economic crisis that had started in the United States in 2008.

“We are asking the wrong questions. Why does Russia feel threatened? – America has to ask. Is it in our interests in America to make Russia feel threatened? Russia is a country that has had history of external invasions. America doesn’t have such a history. Russia is a country that had made enormous sacrifices to defend itself. There has to be a sensitivity to that,” the president of the US-based Global Security Institute said.

Jonathan Granoff expressed serious concern with the end of military cooperation between Russia and the United States, including on the Nunn-Lugar programme on the safety of nuclear materials; with a deadlock in the implementation of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) and the fact of ignoring the commitments taken under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which is based on the desire to build a nuclear-free world.

At the same time, the US expert disagreed that the cooling of relations between Moscow and Washington has made any discussions of nuclear disarmament impossible.

I don’t agree that it is impossible. At the height of the Cold war in which there was even more acrimony between our countries, we had real progress on this. Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan were ideologically very distant, and yet they both recognized that threatening each other with nuclear weapons was absolutely dysfunctional and boldly changed history. And the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty process began with Nikita Khrushchev and Kennedy. So I don’t agree necessarily that just because the way the press and the public perceive the terrible relations that we have right now that at the deeper level there aren’t people at the Kremlin and in Washington who could not break through the impasse,” Granoff noted.

He agreed that in the past the relations between Moscow and Washington used to noticeably improve after reaching the boiling point. That was the case with the Caribbean crisis.

“I think it already is that bad… We have to change,” the U.S. expert concluded.

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