Policy Memos

Contact Lenses: Transparency and US-Russian Military Ties

Policy Memo:


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US and NATO soldiers and sailors are making an extremely important contribution to American security interests by doing the unexpected: fraternizing with their counterparts from Russia, a country that may one day pose a new threat to US national security. Policymakers hope that these programs will serve to build personal connections and positive feelings among officers and troops on both sides of the old cold war lines. The most important contribution these programs will make, however, is one that is often not emphasized: military-to-military programs serve vital communication and intelligence functions. They allow the United States to broadcast its benign intentions to Russia, while permitting US officials to better monitor the changing dynamics of Russia's intentions in the international arena. [...]

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About the author

Professor; Chair of the Political Science Department
Barnard College, Columbia University