On June 21, 2021, the Stimson Center convened the third virtual meeting of the U.S.-Russia Military-to-Military Dialogue. Relaunched at Stimson earlier this year, the U.S.-Russia Military-to-Military Dialogue brings together retired American and Russian senior military officers to discuss and explore avenues for military-to-military cooperation between the United States and Russia on urgent security and strategic issues. The project was first organized by the EastWest Institute in 2020.
American participants of the Dialogue included General (ret.) George W. Casey, General (ret.) Curtis M. Scaparrotti and Ambassador Karl W. Eikenberry. Russian participants included Lieutenant General (ret.) Evgeny P. Buzhinsky, Major General (ret.) Vladimir Z. Dvorkin, Colonel General (ret.) Viktor Yesin, and Major General (ret.) Pavel Zolotarev.
On the heels of the much-anticipated Putin-Biden summit in Geneva, Switzerland, the meeting provided a timely opportunity for participants to exchange views on the summit’s major outcomes, as well as the future of U.S.-Russia relations. Despite low expectations in the lead-up to the historic event, participants agreed that it was an important first step toward improving the bilateral relationship and praised Presidents Putin and Biden for their overall professional and pragmatic approach. Participants also acknowledged that, while both leaders struck agreement on critical areas of mutual interest—namely, arms control and cybersecurity—issues like human rights and cyber attacks remain points of contention.
Discussion also touched on the multitude of new destabilizing factors threatening strategic stability in the 21st century, Russia’s concerns vis-à-vis NATO expansion, the various dimensions of Russia’s ever-deepening relationship with China, the heightened risk of inadvertent military conflict between the United States and Russia, and post-summit avenues for bilateral cooperation. Participants emphasized the importance of dialogue between and among U.S. and Russian militaries and governments as a means to de-escalating bilateral tensions.
Stimson President and CEO Brian Finlay opened the meeting with an overview of the organization’s history and mission. The meeting was jointly moderated by Stimson participants: Bruce McConnell, Distinguished Fellow; Vladimir Ivanov, Nonresident Fellow; and James Siebens, Senior Fellow.
The U.S.-Russia Military-to-Military Dialogue was made possible by the generous support of Carnegie Corporation of New York.