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Hot Peace: US - Russia Relations Since the Cold War

History 3045 - Spring 2021

This course is an historical analysis of US-Russia relations since the end of the Cold War. Focusing on "reset" diplomacy during the terms of five American and three Russian presidents since 1990, it reveals a familiar historical pattern that begins with high hopes, dialogue and optimism only to be followed by vast disappointment, stand-offs and pessimism. Despite this dynamic, the course shows how and why the two countries have been able to cooperate at times to make substantial headway on critical issues such as arms control, nonproliferation of WMD, NATO expansion, counterterrorism, and economic and energy development, while at others they have run afoul of major obstacles such as further NATO expansion, missile defense, and democracy and human rights in Russia. The course also examines how many political events created substantial challenges to US-Russian relations including the Balkan Wars, U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Russia's wars in Chechnya, Georgia and Ukraine/Crimea, the "Color Revolutions," the Arab Spring and subsequent civil wars in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Libya, the fight against ISIS and other militant Islamists, the threats posed by Iran and North Korea, the rise of China, espionage crises, hybrid wars, cyberattacks, and disinformation campaigns. Two vital questions frame the analysis: why has it been so difficult for these two great powers to develop a mutually beneficial relationship, and what would be required to move beyond the limited partnership to something more productive and sustaining? The course concludes by evaluating "reset" diplomacy and the on-going attempts to move US-Russia relations beyond a Hot Peace.

Section 01

Hot Peace: US - Russia Relations Since the Cold War
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