Despite some notable accomplishments, the effort underway since 2008 to “reset” U.S.-Russian relations on a foundation of mutual interests is far from secure. In the past the Russian Federation and the U.S. have moved through a number of cycles where phases of rapprochement have given way to intensified strategic competition. This pattern could reproduce itself if a momentum of expanded cooperation is not sustained. Today, in critical areas such as democratization and respect for human rights, arms control, counter proliferation, energy security, and regional stability, conflict is becoming more pronounced. If the reset agenda is to lead forward to a more substantial redefinition of the U.S.-Russian relationship these underlying sources of conflict will need to be addressed. For the promise of rapprochement to be realized the U.S. and its allies must look beyond the limited goals of the reset as originally defined towards a strategy of more comprehensive engagement designed to bring Russia into the fold as a cooperative member of the Western security community.

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