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'Letter of the 103s': Hundred American Politicians Calls for Better Relations with Russia

“It's time to reconsider our policy towards Russia,” under this heading the publication Political published an open letter from 103 American politicians and experts saying that "the current combination of sanctions and American diplomacy is not working." In Russia, this appeal was called "Letter of the 103s". We publish the text of the letter translated into Russian.

Photo: Shutterstock

“Relations between the US and Russia have reached a dangerous impasse that threatens US national interests. The danger of a military confrontation that could develop into a nuclear one is real again. We are sliding into an acute nuclear arms race, and our foreign policy arsenal is reduced mainly to reactions, sanctions, public shame and Congress resolutions. The global Covid-19 pandemic and its associated severe global economic downturn, rather than fostering cooperation, only strengthened the current downward trajectory.

Meanwhile, the enormous challenges to peace and our well-being that require cooperation between the United States and Russia, including the existential threats of nuclear war and climate change, remain unaddressed. Because the stakes are so high in both the risks they entail and the costs involved, we believe that careful, impartial analysis and a change in our current course is imperative.

On the subject: The United States has published a report on how Russian propaganda works: visually

We do this with our eyes open. Russia complicates our actions, even interferes with them, especially on its vast periphery in Europe and Asia. She seized territories in Ukraine and Georgia. This calls into question our role as a global leader and the world order that we have helped build. It interferes with our domestic politics, exacerbating divisions and staining our democratic reputation. At best, our relationship will remain a mixture of competition and cooperation. The policy challenge will be to find the most beneficial and secure balance between the two. To this end, we propose six general rules of US policy:

• First, we must find a way to effectively combat Russian interference in the US elections and, most importantly, block any attempts to undermine the voting process. Strengthening our electoral infrastructure, sanctioning Russians who use stolen information as weapons, and countering Russia's ability to hack into our systems are all necessary measures. This is how Russian disinformation is exposed. However, we must also engage Russia in negotiations out of the public eye, focusing on the ability of each side to inflict heavy damage on the critical infrastructure of the other.

• There is no point in the fact that the two countries with the power to destroy each other and put an end to civilization in its known form in 30 minutes, did not have fully functioning diplomatic relations. In the aftermath of the Ukraine crisis, key contacts with the government were cut off, consulates were closed, and the staff of embassies fell sharply. Too often, we mistakenly view diplomatic contacts as rewards for good behavior, but they are aimed at advancing our interests and delivering tough messages. We need them as an essential element of security to minimize misconceptions and miscalculations that can lead to unwanted war. Restoring normal diplomatic contacts should be a top priority for the White House and supported by Congress.

• Our strategic position must be one that served us well during the Cold War: a balanced commitment to containment and detente. Thus, while supporting our defenses, we must also engage Russia in a serious and ongoing strategic dialogue aimed at addressing deeper sources of mistrust and hostility, while at the same time focusing on the serious and urgent security challenges facing both countries:

  • The urgent need to restore the leadership of the United States and Russia in managing the nuclear world, which has become more dangerous due to destabilizing technologies, a change in attitudes towards the use of nuclear weapons, the rejection of nuclear agreements and new tensions in nuclear relations. This means the extension of the new START Treaty (Strategic Offensive Arms Reduction Treaty - ed.) And a quick transition to the next stage of arms control to strengthen nuclear stability, carefully adapted to a world with many nuclear players.
  • The urgent need to make the military confrontation safer and more stable, which cuts across Europe's most volatile regions, from the Baltic to the Black Sea, working vigorously to maintain existing restrictions such as the now threatened Open Skies Treaty and the Vienna Document 2011. and the creation of new confidence-building measures.

• The success of US-Chinese policies will depend in large part on whether the state of US-Russia relations allows for trilateral cooperation on critical issues. Our current policies reinforce Russia's readiness to accommodate the least constructive aspects of China's US policy. Moving the arrow in the opposite direction won't be easy, but that should be our goal.

• On important issues where US and Russian interests are in real conflict, such as Ukraine and Syria, the US must remain firm on principles shared with our allies that are critical to a fair outcome. However, more attention should be paid to the cumulative effect that measured and incremental steps forward can have on the relationship as a whole, and in turn, on the potential for improving relationships for further steps forward.

• While sanctions should be part of our policy towards Russia, they should be intelligently targeted and used in conjunction with other elements of national power, especially diplomacy. The relentless accumulation of sanctions as punishment for Russia's actions in Crimea and eastern Ukraine, the Salisbury poisoning, violations of the INF Treaty (Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate-Range Nuclear Missiles - Ed.) And election interference reduces any incentives Moscow may have to exchange rate changes, since it considers these sanctions permanent. We need to restore flexibility to our sanctions regime by focusing on targeted sanctions that can be quickly relaxed in exchange for Russian moves to move negotiations towards an acceptable resolution of unresolved conflicts, including Russia's apparent efforts to end interference in our electoral process. This will require political will from both the White House and Congress.

On the subject: U.S. Senate report: Russian oligarchs secretly bought art to bypass sanctions

Ultimately, the reality is that Russia under Vladimir Putin operates within a strategic framework deeply rooted in nationalist traditions that resonates with both elites and the public. A possible successor, even a democratically inclined, is likely to operate within the same framework. It is a mistake to assume that US policy is based on the assumption that we can and should change this structure. Likewise, it would be unreasonable to think that we have no choice but to adhere to current policies. We must behave with Russia as it is, not as we would like to see, fully using our strengths, but remaining open to diplomacy. By concentrating so much, we can both deal with the challenge posed by Russia and strive to take our relations on a more constructive path. Failure to meet this requirement is too costly. ”

Among the 103 signers of the letter are 14 former US ambassadors in various countries, including four former residents of Arbat Spaso House: John Byerly, Thomas Pickering, James Collins and John Huntsman. Or another well-known figure - ex-member of the US National Security Council on relations with Europe and Russia - Fiona Hill.

Why did they come up with such an unexpected appeal? About it "KP" said one of the signers of the letter - political scientist, publisher of the National Interest magazine Dmitry Simes.

“If the letter were signed only by ardent supporters of friendship with Russia, then, of course, 103 people could be recruited somewhere, but they, frankly, would not have a serious significance in American politics,” Simes said. - This is the achievement of the initiators of this document, including ex-ambassador John Huntsman: they managed to attract people with quite different views. Therefore, of course, the letter should be viewed not as someone's specific position, but as an expression of general concern over the decline of Russian-American relations. Apparently, they have a feeling that a lot is going wrong and needs to be corrected. "

What is characteristic, the author of "KP" notes, the attempts of Washington curtseys towards Moscow occur simultaneously with the strengthening of sanctions against China - for example, the closure of its consulate in Houston. Does the United States want to enlist our support in this conflict on the principle of "lesser evil"?

“There certainly is such a motive,” Simes admits, “although it sounds a little ominous. I would put it this way: it is not in the interests of the United States to deviate from the policy that was pursued towards Moscow and Beijing, starting with President Nixon in the seventies: when it was important for the United States to build better relations with China and Russia than they had with each other. It's in American interests. ”

The original text of the appeal is published on the website of the publication Political.

ForumDaily is not responsible for the content of the letter and may not share the point of view of the authors and signatories.

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