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A woman holds a poster as she pickets the Turkish Embassy in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2015. It reads: "The pilots that were shot down were fighting terrorists to save your and our civilians."

(AP Photo)

Analysis & Opinions - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

NATO and Russia Must Reopen Contact to Keep the “Cold War” Cold

| November 25, 2015

On November 24th, 2015, fighter aircraft from Turkey, a NATO state, shot down a Russian Su24 fighter along the Turkish-Syrian border.  A local Syrian rebel group claimed to have found one of the pilots dead.  Not since a Soviet sentry shot US Army Major Arthur Nicholson in 1985, has there been a shooting death between the forces of Russia and members of NATO.....

Even if it is not possible to reconcile the two sides politically and diplomatically, it is vital that a military dialogue reopen now to provide national leaders with a means to deconflict and resolve security issues without resorting to force.  NATO and Russia should reopen military-to-military contacts to provide transparency over capabilities and intentions – the two components of a threat.  This kind of dialogue was able to keep the Cold War “cold” and is needed again.