A Complicated Partnership

Although NATO and Russia have increased cooperation in several aspects of their “complicated partnership,” there is still much work to be done, said Adm. James Stavridis, NATO’s supreme allied commander and US European Command boss. In a blog entry he posted on March 25, Stavridis highlighted increased cooperation in areas such as counterpiracy, support for NATO’s mission in Afghanistan, training exercises, and counterterrorism efforts. However, the two parties still disagree on ballistic missile defense, the role that NATO played in Libya, and Russian forces stationed in Georgia. “Notwithstanding differences on particular issues, we remain convinced that the security of NATO and Russia is intertwined,” said Stavridis, referencing the strategic concept that NATO adopted in 2010. He added, “I think we can continue to build on the areas of cooperation outlined above, but we cannot wish away the tensions and disagreements in the relationship.” Also on Monday, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu called Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, announced Pentagon Press Secretary George Little. Among the topics of discussion, Shoygu expressed the desire “to reconvene missile defense discussions” with the United States at the deputy minister level, said Little. (See also US Beefing Up Missile Defenses.)