The fundamental challenge is that Russia’s leaders do not share Obama’s aversion to nuclear weapons. On the contrary, they believe that, while the likelihood of a nuclear war has fallen sharply since the end of the Cold War, nuclear deterrence has become more valuable for Russia and other countries that are outmatched by America’s conventional military power. This might prove to be an insurmountable obstacle to realizing the Obama administration’s vision of a nuclear-weapons-free world.
Russia would really like to resolve the Korean Peninsula’s tensions, because Russia then can build the Trans-Korean pipeline and use that as another avenue to reach out to rest of East Asia. And that would benefit U.S. goals by raising living standards in North Korea and the state of regional stability.
Although multilateral cooperation on nuclear issues has been effective in some cases, such as in ratifying the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, it has been inadequate in others, such as in easing tensions with Iran and North Korea. In fact, even when China, Russia, and the US share the same agenda, their differing diplomatic tactics often undermine their ability to achieve their objectives.
Russia has economic and diplomatic interests in Iran's continued alienation from the West. Russian firms benefit from the reluctance of Western companies to invest in Iran due to the numerous unilateral and multilateral sanctions imposed on its government for its nuclear activities. These tensions preserve Russian firms as Iran's major economic partners.
Inside Afghanistan, the problem is that the government and its security forces still experience major difficulties in providing good governance and the rule of the law, promoting economic development and job creation, combating corruption and narcotics trafficking, and protecting Taliban members who attempt to reintegrate peacefully into Afghan society.
Russian military reform should focus around local threats, counterterrorism, smaller and more effective modern weapons, thinks Dr. Richard Weitz, Director of the Center for Political-Military Analysis at Hudson Institute
Dr. Richard Weitz, Director of the Center for Political-Military Analysis at Hudson Institute: Both countries are threatened by narcotics traffic. But the Unites States is not so affected by the traffic from Afghanistan, as Europe and Russia.