Press Release

Report from the Commission on U.S. Policy Toward Russia -- The Right Direction for U.S. Policy Toward Russia

| March 16, 2009

Graham Allison of Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center served as a member

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – With the leadership of the Bipartisan Commission on U.S. Policy toward Russia, established by the Belfer Center at Harvard Kennedy School and the Nixon Center in Washington, Belfer Center Director Graham Allison met last week in Moscow with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

Today at the National Press Club, the cochairmen of the Commission, former Senators Gary Hart and Chuck Hagel, released the Commission’s report.

Principal findings include:

  • In recent years, U.S.-Russian relations have deteriorated to their worst point since the end of the Cold War.
  • An American commitment to improving U.S.-Russian relations is neither a reward to be offered for good international behavior by Moscow nor an endorsement of the Russian government’s domestic conduct.
  • It is an acknowledgement of the importance of Russian cooperation in achieving essential American goals: from preventing Iran acquiring nuclear weapons, dismantling al Qaeda and stabilizing Afghanistan, to guaranteeing security and prosperity in Europe.

Principal recommendations include:

  • Seeking to make Russia an American partner in dealing with Iran.
  • Working jointly to strengthen the international nonproliferation regime.
  • Taking a new look at missile defense deployments in Poland and the Czech Republic and making a genuine effort to develop a cooperative approach to the shared threat from Iranian missiles.
  • Accepting that neither Ukraine nor Georgia is ready for NATO membership and working closely with U.S. allies to develop options other than NATO membership to demonstrate a commitment to their sovereignty.
  • Launching a serious dialogue on arms control, including extending the START I Treaty as well as further reduction of strategic and tactical nuclear weapons.

Before going to Moscow, Messrs. Hart, Hagel, Allison, and Simes met with U.S. National Security Advisor General Jim Jones and other members of the Obama administration.

Recent actions and statements by both the U.S. and Russian governments are clearly moving in the directions urged by the Commission.  As Senator Hart observed, “Our purpose is to build a base in our country that will give support to the new administration in its efforts to improve this relationship.”

Read the full report here.


Contact:  Sasha Talcott: 617.495.7831

Sharon Wilke 617.495.9858

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation:Report from the Commission on U.S. Policy Toward Russia -- The Right Direction for U.S. Policy Toward Russia.” Press Release, March 16, 2009.

The Author