May 15, 2002 | News Releases on National Security and Defense

Arms Deal Can Be a Start for Greater US-Russia Cooperation, Analysts Say

WASHINGTON, May 15, 2002-President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin should use their upcoming summit in Moscow-at which they will sign a treaty to cut their respective nuclear arsenals-to focus the strategic relationship between Russia and the United States on the war on terrorism, a new Heritage Foundation paper says.

"If we are to succeed in insolating terrorism-supporting states such as Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Syria and Libya-and slow the transfer of Russian military technology to China-closer ties with Russia are vital," write Ariel Cohen, research fellow in Russian and Eurasian studies, and Baker Spring, Heritage's F.M. Kirby research fellow in national security policy.

President Bush can start by asking for Russia's help in ousting Iraqi president Saddam Hussein, guaranteeing Putin that any concerns Moscow has-for example, whether lucrative oil deals struck by Russian companies in Iraq will survive under a new regime-will be addressed in the post-Saddam era to Russia's satisfaction.

In addition, the analysts say, President Bush should encourage Moscow to stop selling conventional weapons to Iran and to stop cooperating with the latter's efforts to become a nuclear state armed with ballistic missiles. He also should reject any proposed limits on missile defense and try to persuade Russia, the world's largest supplier of natural gas and second-largest supplier of oil, to open more fields to joint development with Western firms.

President Bush can advance Russia's economic integration with the West, Cohen and Spring say, by expressing support for lifting U.S. barriers to trade with Russia. And both he and Putin can discuss ways to expand Russia's cooperation with NATO in advance of the newly created NATO-Russia Council's first meeting on May 28.

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