According to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the West must engage with Moscow to develop mutual interests but remain very clear-eyed. The announcement was made at the Biden administration’s first cabinet-level meeting with the NATO alliance.
Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General, called on Russia to continue the dialogue altought a council that has not met for two years. Stoltenberg announced that even a problematic relationship needed to be managed to reduce risks.
Blinken, the first top U.S. official to visit NATO since President Joe Biden took office in January, charmed allies with a conciliatory tone. That was the first time after four years when Trump described the Western military alliance as outdated and criticized members for spending too little on defense.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken called for a firm, shared position on Russia. He announced that they hope to have a relationship with Russia that is predictable and stable. Blinken added that they work with Russia to advance their interests and advance alliance interests. Furthermore, he says they will also work to hold Russia to account for its reckless and rival actions.
dialogue is essential, especially when times are problematic as they are now
Stoltenberg (NATO Secretary General) lobbied for a revival of the NATO-Russia Council created in 2002 to facilitate consultation among the Western military alliance and Moscow. Significantly, the council last met in July 2019.
After foreign ministers of the alliance met in Brussels, he announced that dialogue is essential, especially when times are problematic as they are now.
Jens Stoltenberg announced he believes that it’s crucial to manage a difficult relationship on transparency, risk reduction, and also addressing arms control. He also added that it was up to Moscow to accept an invitation by NATO.
Furthermore, NATO’s Russia policy has a two-track approach of deterrence and dialogue. However, the alliance suspended all practical cooperation with Moscow in April 2014 following Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.
Significantly, the NRC was revived in 2016 and met regularly until 2019. However, relations among Russia and the West are at post-Cold War lows, tightened by issues ranging from Ukraine to accusations of hacking U.S. elections and the conflict in Syria.
On March 23, Antony Blinken had described what he announced were Russian attempts to destabilize the West and China’s military rise as threats that required NATO to come together.