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The future of Russia-West relations after the Biden-Putin summit

The meeting in June between US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin has paved the way for further working-level talks on strategic stability and other pressing issues.

As Russian and US diplomats prepare their plans for working groups to engage in detailed dialogue, this collection of commentaries from ELN experts explore the implications of the leaders’ meeting for Euro-Atlantic security and for the future of Russia-West relations.

In “The Biden-Putin meeting: every little helpsELN Senior Associate Fellow Elisabeth Braw argues that rapport between the two leaders is the most important outcome of the summit. Without a working relationship between their leaders, countries face accidental and exceptionally dangerous mishaps.

Turning to Europe, in “With Russian–American detente moving forward, is there a place for Europe?ELN Contact Group member Igor Istomin writes that while the Biden-Putin Summit signalled Moscow and Washington’s interest in managing their disagreements, the relationship between Russia and the EU is in freefall. In this commentary, Istomin explores what Europe can draw from the Geneva playbook.

In “What does the Biden-Putin summit mean for Euro-Atlantic security?YGLN member Pavel Kanevskiy argues that this is the right moment to reinvigorate discussion on European agency. Russia and the US will find ways to cooperate, but the core issues of European security can only be addressed with the active engagement of Europeans themselves.

Finally, in “Biden-Putin meeting a chance for NATO to re-establish military-to-military communication”, my colleague Graham Stacey and I explore what the Geneva meeting could mean for managing the risks of NATO-Russia military clashes. We look at why – and how – NATO and Russia should take forward military-to-military dialogue to reduce the risk of hazardous incidents escalating into a military confrontation.

Sir Adam Thomson KCMG Director European Leadership Network (ELN)

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