From Pariah to Partner - Russian-American Security Cooperation in the Arctic Ocean

18 Pages Posted: 26 Jul 2010 Last revised: 5 May 2011

See all articles by James Kraska

James Kraska

Stockton Center for International Law, U.S. Naval War College; Harvard University - Harvard Law School; University of California Berkeley School of Law; Council on Foreign Relations (CFR)

Date Written: 2009


The Obama administration seeks to push the “reset” button on Washington-Moscow relations. Military-to-military programs between the United States and Russia, which were suspended after the August 2008 conflict in Georgia, have resumed and included nearly twenty (20) exchanges and operational events in 2009. The President rescinded plans to install ballistic missile defense sites in Eastern Europe, which Moscow applauded. NATO is also seeking closer cooperation with Russia. On September 18, 2009, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen called for a “new beginning” in relations between the Alliance and Moscow, focusing practical cooperation and conducting a joint review of new security challenges.

Following President Barack Obama’s visit to Russia, the presidents of the two nations created a Bilateral Presidential Commission, which they will co-chair. The Commission is designed to move bilateral relations beyond “Cold War mentalities and chart a fresh start in relations between our two countries.” Secretary of State Clinton and Foreign Minister Lavrov will coordinate the Commission, which will include working groups on foreign policy, military-to-military cooperation, counterterrorism, nuclear energy and security, arms control, and other bilateral issues. The co-chairs pledged to develop an initial list of priority initiatives and a roadmap for moving forward. In cnjunction with the military-to-military cooperation, the Commission should also establish a working group on Arctic security. Increased maritime security collaboration in the Arctic Ocean offers one of the best opportunities to develop common bilateral interests in the security relationship that are largely unencumbered by past political differences.

Keywords: Arctic, U.S.-Russian, Foreign Relations, Law of the Sea, Maritime Security, Polar, Bering, Canada, Norway, UNCLOS, EEZ, strait

Suggested Citation

Kraska, James, From Pariah to Partner - Russian-American Security Cooperation in the Arctic Ocean (2009). ILSA Journal of International & Comparative Law, Vol. 16, No. 2, 2009, Available at SSRN:

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