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The value of informal talks about nuclear security

Let’s talk about nuclear security — informally, SF Chronicle, By James Goodby and Kenneth Weisbrode Jan. 19, 2019

With the high-profile conclusion of Robert Mueller’s investigation, a U.S. threat to withdraw from a nuclear missile treaty, a worsening political situation in Ukraine, an ongoing conflict in Syria, not to mention recent reports that the FBI began a counterintelligence investigation of President Trump — the citizens of Russia and the United States should worry that their countries are soon reaching a point of no return.

Diplomats will say that few such points exist, and that professionals can and will continue to keep the channels of dialogue open. What’s missing here is not the capacity to talk but a political consensus on both sides to reaffirm why both countries still need to cooperate and how to go about finding it.

Mikhail Gorbachev and George P. Shultz recently called for a “broad strategic dialogue” among Americans and Russians to pull our nations out of their trough, or at least to look beyond it. Gorbachev and Shultz propose an “informal forum,” and that makes sense. The U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission, nuclear arms control talks, and other formal arrangements appear to be stalled. The establishment of dialogue at a higher level — similar to efforts in the 1990s to encourage mutual investments and business opportunities — would probably be a nonstarter. What would an informal forum look like?……….

January 21, 2019 - Posted by | politics international, Russia, USA

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