Russia: A Test for Transatlantic Unity

May 10, 2016
Ulrich Speck
Nelli Babayan
Marie Mendras
Chris Miller
Andrew Moravcsik
Angela Stent
Stephen Szabo
3 min read

WASHINGTON – The European Union and the United States must continue prioritizing transatlantic unity and coordination in their response to Russia’s assertive foreign policy, a group of scholars from Europe and the United States argue in a new report entitled Russia: A Test for Transatlantic Unity.

“The Western response to Russian aggression has in fact been robust and effective, and Western unity has been critical to limiting the damage created by this incursion,” Transatlantic Academy Executive Director Stephen Szabo writes in the report’s introduction. “This has been a case, at least so far, of equitable burden-sharing and partners in leadership.”

While Russia should not be engaged “for the sake of engagement,” the report contends that transatlantic partners must work with Russia to try to end the war in Syria and prevent unanticipated military incidents. The Kremlin’s use of force against its neighbors and the resulting threat to European security continue to challenge the transatlantic community. Western partners need to answer with continuous support for good governance in countries such as Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia, and work with them to develop their security and border control capabilities.

Listen to the exclusive report briefing for the press on what could happen next in the relationship between the West and Russia.

The main test for the United States and Europe over the next couple of years is to maintain their successful cooperation and present a united front when dealing with Russia over the Ukraine crisis. This means maintaining the sanctions regime unless there is serious and demonstrable progress in implementing the Minsk agreement, which could be challenging given pressure from some EU member states to ease sanctions, uncertainty about the foreign policy of the next U.S. presidential administration, and growing “Ukraine fatigue” due to political infighting and slow progress on reforms in Kyiv.

Russia: A Test for Transatlantic Unity is the eighth annual report from the Transatlantic Academy, a Washington-based partnership of The German Marshall Fund of the United States, the ZEIT-Stiftung Ebelin und Gerd Bucerius, the Robert Bosch Stiftung, the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, and the Fritz Thyssen Stiftung, which brings in subject-matter experts as fellows to focus on a different theme of importance to the transatlantic relationship every year.

The report features a collaboratively authored memo on Russia policy for European and North American decision-makers, as well as abstracts of 10 papers by the fellows covering topics such as Russia’s declining economic leverage, Russia-Chinese relations, Russian military modernization, and the use of disinformation and propaganda by the Kremlin.

The memo is authored by six fellows: Nelli Babayan of Freie Universität Berlin, Marie Mendras of Sciences Po, Chris Miller of Yale University, Andrew Moravcsik of Princeton University, Ulrich Speck, and Angela Stent of Georgetown University. Papers from other Academy fellows Hannes Adomeit, Margarete Klein of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP), Stefan Meister of the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP), and Marek Menkiszak of the Centre for Eastern Studies (OSW) in Warsaw, are also featured.

2015-2016 Transatlantic Academy Paper Series (Italicized Papers Forthcoming):