- Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School Belfer Center Newsletter

Keeping Communications Open Despite U.S.-Russia Friction

For the past eight years, a group of high-level American and Russian retired military and intelligence officials has met annually to discuss sensitive issues of U.S. - Russian relations. The purpose of the Elbe Group, launched by the Belfer Center in 2008 and led by Kevin Ryan, is to keep open an important channel of communications between the two countries that have the largest arsenal of nuclear weapons. in the world.

In early November, U.S. members of the Elbe Group met at the Belfer Center to discuss the current tensions between the U.S. and Russia and to plan for their March meeting with Russian colleagues. When asked how best to work with an adversary, one panelist emphasized the importance of understanding the other's viewpoint. They also agreed their decade-long professional and personal relationships provide a good basis for working to find common ground.

The significance of a strong U.S.-Russia connection was highlighted in October when the Trump administration announced withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles Treaty (INF) with Russia. A number of Belfer Center nuclear experts commented on the impact the withdrawal would have on international security. The comments are available at belfercenter.org/INF.

In an effort to improve understanding of Russia and all aspects of the U.S.-Russia relationship, the website Russia Matters was launched by the Belfer Center in 2016 with support from the Carnegie Corporation of New York to provide top-notch analysis, factual data, and news.  

For more information on this publication: Please contact the Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation:

"Winning Partnership Works to Prevent City Flooding." Belfer Center Newsletter. Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School (Fall/Winter 2018-2019).