American-Russian Relations: Liberalist Influence on a Cooperative Approach

  • Lieutenant Colonel Gary R. Reidenbach

In an effort to avoid another bitter and costly rivalry like that of the Cold War years, it is of supreme consequence for America to re-examine its relations with Russia and craft an engaged and cooperative approach to the future. The purpose of this paper is to propose that America’s relationship with Russia should strive in all possible contexts to promote and advance integration of Russia into the broader international political, economic, and security system. America’s approach, policies, and actions with regard to Russia, similar to American approaches in relation to other states, should consistently rely on the tenets of cooperative liberalism for inspiration and guidance. This paper briefly discusses the history and current state of American-Russian relations, examines the international relations theories of realism and liberalism and the insights they hold for influencing and shaping America’s approach to Russia, and analyzes key interests from both sides in search of areas for potential long-term liberalist inspired cooperation while identifying issues and interests likely to yield undesirable competitive friction or opposition.