The Policy World Meets Academia: Designing U.S. Policy toward Russia

Part II: Overview

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Timothy J. Colton, Timothy Frye, and Robert Legvold
U.S. Policy Toward Russia

Contributors in this section attempt to devise appropriate U.S. policy responses to the challenge Russia presents. Samuel Charap tackles the assignment by focusing on the alternative strategies urged on U.S. policy-makers for dealing with the way Russia plays its role in international economics, including the use of its vast oil and gas resources. He comes down on the side of what he calls a policy of “principled integration.” Keith Darden returns to the issue opened by Jeffrey Mankoff in Part I: the challenge posed by Russian policy in its immediate neighborhood. After identifying two subtle factors shaping the political terrain on which Moscow and Washington compete in this key area—the effects from the political vagaries surrounding property rights in these states and the risk of cultural cleavages being politicized—Darden then suggests ways for the United States to cope more effectively with both factors. H. E. Goemans, another of the international relations theorists in this volume, draws on his work dealing with personalistic leaders and the likelihood that their countries will be involved in international conflict. He concludes that Central Asia, a region with more than its share of this leadership type, will be conflict-prone, creating a serious policy challenge for Russia. Insofar as the United States should aid in minimizing this danger to advance its own interests, Goemans offers lessons from the success of U.S. policy responses after 1907 in Central America. These responses, he argues, helped end comparable violence in that region that had persisted for most of the prior century. Stephen Pifer concludes Part II with candid reflections on what in these essays is and is not likely to be useful or used by policy-makers.