(CSM) It’s been 30 years since Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan met in Reykjavik to agree on a nuclear drawdown, an event that helped bring about the end of the Cold War. Given the current conflict between Russia and the United States, the lessons of the past seem as relevant as ever, Mr. Gorbachev suggested in a recent speech.
Addressing participants in the international conference marking the 1986 US-Soviet Summit, the former Soviet premier expressed his concern about the current state of US-Russian relations, which he blamed on a “collapse of mutual trust.” […]
Ivan Kurilla, a professor at the European University at St. Petersburg, in Russia, who focuses on the history of Russian-American relations, tells the Monitor he is most concerned by the rhetoric he hears from politicians from both countries. The context of the US election has led American politicians and journalists to inflate “Putin’s bullying,” as he puts it, to the level of a Cold War threat.
Professor Kurilla points out that a similar dynamic existed between the US and Russia during the 2008 US election campaign, soon after the Russia-Georgia war. Bilateral relations were almost frozen, but when Obama took office, he and then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev announced a “reset.”
“I cannot hope for [a] real 'reset'" now,” Kurilla concludes, “but I do hope that the dangerous 'Cold War style' rhetoric will give place to realistic exchanges.” […]
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