EASI: Another Effort to Defuse U.S.-Russia Confrontation
September 1, 2012 • 9:59AM

A trilateral effort has been under way since at least 2009 seeking a way to avoid a thermonuclear confrontation between the United States and Russia. That effort, called the European American Security Initiative (EASI), which was sponsored by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the Russian Academy of Sciences, released its report last February, as we reported then. It called for a Euro-Atlantic community based on an "inclusive, undivided, functioning Euro-Atlantic Security Community, a community without barriers, in which all would expect resolution of disputes exclusively by diplomatic, legal, or other nonviolent means, without recourse to military force or the threat of its use."

It EASI co-chaired by Wolfgang Ischinger, chair of the Munich Security Conference and a former German ambassador to both London and Washington; former Russian foreign minister Igor Ivanov; and American former Sen. Sam Nunn (D-Ga.). The EASI's report is not only coherent with the report "Mutual Assured Stability," released on Aug. 14 by the State Department's International Security Advisory Board (ISAB), whose objective is to establish a regime for long term war avoidance, but Nunn has been traveling the country with ISAB chairman William J. Perry, to speak on the dangers of a nuclear confrontation.

The EASI report cites leftover Cold War thinking as the challenge to be overcome. "Old twentieth-century divisions along with unresolved post-Cold War security issues and patterns of thinking rooted in confrontation, perpetuate mistrust and division within the region and leave its nations and societies dangerously ill-prepared to handle the challenges of the twenty-first century," it says. The EASI was pulled together in 2009 to develop a remedy to this urgent problem.

Among the goals needed to get to that "inclusive, undivided, functioning Euro-Atlantic Security Community," are the following:

* To transform and demilitarize strategic relations between the United States/NATO and Russia.

* To achieve historical reconciliation where old and present enmities (for example, between Russia and its neighbors, Turkey and Armenia, Moldova and Transdnistria, and the communities in Cyprus) prevent normal relations and cooperation.

On missile defense, it proposes a cooperative arrangement between the U.S./NATO and Russia as "an avenue to the larger goal of transforming the very nature of security relations between the Russian Federation and the United States/NATO. In other words, it can be a game changer."

On the Arctic: "The Arctic is where three of the twenty-first century's greatest challenges intersect: the pressing need for hydrocarbon resources, climate change, and the tendency to securitize areas containing these resources as well as the passages to them. Hence, the Arctic is a test of Euro-Atlantic countries capacities to deal constructively not only with each of these challenges but with the synergy among them. Plainly put, the Arctic should be thought of as an auspicious chance to build the groundwork for a Euro-Atlantic Security Community."