The Committee’s Initial Proposals

In the near future, the Committee hopes to offer proposals designed to overcome the current confrontation over Ukraine and to achieve a stable cooperative East-West relationship, particularly between the United States, NATO and Russia. Meanwhile, at this perilous moment, in mid-2015, the Committee  urges that the governments most directly involved in the crisis take the following mutual steps:

—  The Obama Administration should formally join the “Normandy Four” (Berlin, Paris, Moscow, Kiev) which negotiated the Minsk Accords of February 2015. This agreement calls for a permanent ceasefire in Eastern Ukraine and for direct negotiations between Kiev and the Donbass leaders to end the Ukrainian civil war. The Minsk Accords are currently the best, and perhaps only, chance to end the crisis without a larger war. (An important step in this direction by the Obama Administration seems to have been Secretary of State Kerry’s meeting with Russian President Putin and Foreign Minister Lavrov, in May, in Sochi.)

—  The U.S., NATO and Russia should reactivate the NATO-Russian Council and put it in daily session until the acute confrontation ends. Established in May 2002 to ensure regular communications between the two sides and to prevent misperceptions that might lead to war, the Council has met only once during the past eighteen months. Its reactivation will provide a forum, in addition to the OSCE, for guarding against military dangers inherent in the worst East-West confrontation in many decades.

—  Washington and Moscow should restore the provisions of the 1991 Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, an essential and successful example of mutual cooperation adopted to eliminate or secure vulnerable nuclear stockpiles and materials inside Russia, but which was terminated at the end of 2014.

—  Both Moscow and Washington should take all necessary steps to preserve the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), negotiated by President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, which for the first (and only) time abolished an entire category of nuclear weapons, but which now is endangered.

—  As various U.S.-Russian cooperative agreements nurtured over decades are being jettisoned in what may be a new prolonged Cold War, Washington and Moscow should especially protect those involving educational and related exchange programs. In particular, FLEX — the Future Leaders Exchange Program, which originated with the Freedom Support Act sponsored by Senator Bill Bradley and passed by Congress in 1992 — should be reinstated. FLEX, which enabled some 8000 Russian teenagers to live and study for a year in the United States,  was canceled by Moscow in October 2014.

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