This week's NATO Lisbon Summit is set to launch “NATO 3.0.” The follow-on NATO-Russia Summit heralds “NATO-Russia 3.0,” the latest effort to reinvigorate security cooperation after the stagnation of the Permanent Joint Council (1997) and the NATO-Russia Council (2002). With plans to have Russia join in European missile defense and to contribute to train-and-equip efforts in Afghanistan:
Is there reason to think “NATO-Russia 3.0” will be more effective than its last two versions?
What does Russia have to gain by such cooperation?
PONARS Eurasia members said:
— No. The basic problem is the relationship, not the particular institutional structure set up to oversee the relationship. Even the best-designed institutions are never going to be able to make up for concrete differences of policy. The leading NATO governments are proud of having carved Kosovo off Serbia, and the Russian government is proud of having carved South Ossetia and Abkhazia off Georgia, and never the twain shall meet. (M.K.)
— No. Russia is not threatened by NATO (or vice versa). Russia and NATO do share some common security threats and challenges. Cooperation on these issues is better for Russia, and for NATO, than confrontation.
— I do see a reason to think this attempt may be more effective precisely because Russia has more to gain. This time, Russia is at the beginning of a new stage in its reforming (call it "modernization" or whatever); this situation is different from 1997 (when the reforms had exhausted) and 2002 (at the peak of Putin's "stabilization"). Each time Russia was in reformist mode it needed the West as a model and as a source of innovations, and its "westernizers" had more influence within ruling elites. I believe we are witnessing the same situation again. The motives of the other side, NATO, are less clear for me, so I cannot rule out the obstacles for effective cooperation that may arise in the West. (I.K.)
— Not much chance for a serious upgrade in the NATO-Russia relations as long as the best option for Moscow continues to be NATO weakened and immobilized. The anti-missile defense appears to be a useful political project—but its implementation can only be slow and tortured. One avenue of cooperation where Russia might find some tangible benefits is NATO involvement in the perestroika [restructuring] of the system of military education, particularly in the schools for professional sergeants [officers].
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