EWI Convenes First Meeting of Track 2 U.S.-Russia Military-to-Military Dialogue

News | November 12, 2020

The EastWest Institute (EWI) launched the U.S.-Russia Military-to-Military Dialogue on Monday, October 5, convening retired American and Russian senior military officers for its first ever meeting, which was held virtually.

The meeting kicks off a year-long, Track 2 dialogue series, aimed at exploring avenues for military-to-military cooperation between the United States and Russia on urgent security and strategic issues.

American participants included General (ret.) George W. Casey, General (ret.) Curtis M. Scaparrotti and Ambassador Karl W. Eikenberry. Russian participants included Lieutenant General (ret.) Evgeny P. Buzhinsky, Colonel General (ret.) Viktor Yesin and Major General (ret.) Pavel Zolotarev.

As U.S.-Russia relations continue to deteriorate, the meeting afforded participants a timely opportunity to exchange perspectives on the major geopolitical obstacles hampering bilateral military-to-military cooperation, as well as assess issues of mutual concern and interest, including arms control, nuclear non-proliferation and emerging technologies.

Participants agreed that the current state of U.S.-Russia relations is characterized by tension, competition and higher levels of unpredictability and mistrust; however, as compared to the Cold War period, communication and interaction between both militaries is at an all-time low. Discussions underscored that this vacuum in communication poses significant risks, and there remains a greater need for dialogue between Russia and the United States in order to avoid miscalculation and misunderstanding, which can escalate into conflict. 

Co-moderated by Bruce McConnell, EWI president, and Vladimir Ivanov, director of EWI’s Russia program, the meeting also allowed participants to share their respective experiences working with American and Russian colleagues throughout their distinguished careers.

Future meetings of the U.S.-Russia Military-to-Military Dialogue will be organized for later this year and next year.

The dialogue was made possible by the generous support of Carnegie Corporation of New York.