As the world’s most prominent nuclear powers who wield profound influence in world affairs, the U.S. and Russia’s relationship is significant for global security as a whole. Over the past few years, the two countries have often disagreed over several key issues, many of which are at the core of their national agendas. Thus, Russia and the U.S must take steps forward to reduce the threat of conflict and work for peace. Fortunately, there are several areas of possible cooperation where both countries can work together and build trust in a mutually beneficial relationship. Many say that the current state of U.S.-Russia ties is at its lowest since the end of the Cold War, but that does not mean it has to stay that way forever. Here are some potential areas of cooperation that the U.S. and Russia can jointly pursue to fulfill each country’s national ambitions while also furthering global peace and security.
Ever since the end of the Cold War, the United States and Russia have led global efforts in preventing the development and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Historically, the two countries have been able to leverage their shared interest in reducing nuclear stockpiles and preventing the development of new nuclear nations as a springboard to initiate cooperation in other areas. While tensions between Russia and the United States have increased over nuclear concerns such as the INF, NATO’s development of missile shield capabilities, and expansion of nuclear capabilities on both sides, their shared interest in limiting the size and quantity of WMD stockpiles across the world endures.
Throughout the 21st century, numerous tragic terrorist attacks have taken thousands of innocent lives throughout Russia, the United States, and the world. Both Russia and the United States have had significant problems with terrorism in the recent past: from the Caucuses Emirate in southwestern Russia to attacks on the continental United States; terrorism has endured as a substantial threat in contemporary times. By coordinating their efforts and aligning their foreign policies, both Russia and the U.S. can more effectively protect themselves and their people and the people of the broader world from terrorist threats.
Following the Cold War, the United States and Russia collaborated extensively on mutually beneficial scientific projects such as the International Space Station (ISS) and the ITER project. This collaboration, however, was upended in 2014 during the Ukrainian crisis, but the grounds for cooperation in this field remain. Both countries can benefit from research in space, nuclear fusion, and chemistry, combining the engineering of scientific researchers of both countries to achieve significant advancements in science, as they have already done with the ISS, for example.
Arctic Development & Management
Since the end of the Cold War, the United States and Russia have conducted environmental surveys in the Arctic and cooperate in maritime search and rescue operations, which has remained a common interest of both parties. As global temperatures continue to rise, northern waterways through previously inaccessible Arctic waters will become more acessible, and the motivation for cooperation will be stronger. In the future, the two countries can combine Russia’s experience in the Arctic with the operational expertise of the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard to promote the exchange of best practices in opening up the Arctic for the benefit of the world.
During and after the Cold War, the United States and Russia have pursued joint research in biomedicine. Biomedical research is essential to advancing public health and developing new technologies that address unknown health risks such as drug-resistant bacteria and HIV/AIDS that can threaten the people of both countries. As of now, the U.S. and Russia are currently conducting joint research programs on cancer and HIV/AIDS. In addition to such research, both the U.S. and Russia have interests in developing interoperability capabilities to respond to the global health crisis and promote best-practice exchanges of public health policies and practices, and this is another area where the U.S. and Russia could collaborate.