WASHINGTON – The Atlantic Council and the Russian International Affairs Council today launched a new initiative to help reframe US-Russia relations and get past the Cold War-era nuclear legacy in our relationship, particularly the dominant paradigm of “mutual assured destruction.” The goal is to reconfigure the bilateral relationship towards “mutual assured stability” and refocus arms control and disarmament toward the development of reassuring measures, and thus help promote closer cooperation between Russia and the West.

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Extensive analytical work is required to advance this agenda. Thus, a senior team of American and Russian experts has started engaging on a significant list of issues from concepts and definitions to strategic capabilities and arms control efforts, including how to engage with allies and partners from nuclear to non-nuclear states, and reaching beyond defense aspects to the political and economic dimensions of mutual assured stability. 

We are committed to help our respective authorities revitalize US-Russia relations in this direction, as our governments prepare for the next summit between President Obama and President Putin. 

We see the US administration’s announcement on 15 March regarding missile defense to cancel Phase IV of the European Phased Adaptive Approach—including the development of a new interceptor with clear capability against ICBMs—as a significant signal, which may open a genuine window of opportunity for advancing US-Russia relations. The time has come for both sides to say yes to this opportunity by resolving the remaining issues and by embracing cooperation on missile defense between NATO and Russia. 

For us, it is a clear signal to advance a substantial agenda to provide the elements of a reframed US-Russia relationship based on mutual assured stability. Our experts with political, military, technical, industrial, and academic backgrounds stand ready to make their contributions and have begun working in earnest.