US-Russia relations are seemingly always on the cusp of a new post-Cold
War low, and with many of the traditional channels of communication
already severed, the US has generally responded to every new strain by
cutting ties even further. Diplomats are expelled, talks are canceled,
and the two sides are further isolated from one another.
US Army Gen. Curtis Scaparrrotti, the top NATO commander in Europe, warns that this is a mistake. Scaparrotti says he believes communication is a key part of deterrence and that in that way the US “should have more communication with Russia.”
It isn’t that the general doesn’t understand the desire to keep Russia at arm’s length. He conceded that it “doesn’t have to be a lot” of increased communication. He said, however, that the two sides need to understand each other better, and why they are each doing what they’re doing.
This argument will be tough to sell to politicians for whom the idea that Russia can be understood is near blasphemy. To the general, however, having basic information about the general intentions of both sides greatly reduces the chances of the two sides blundering heedlessly into a calamitous war.
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