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Interview with Andrew Kuchins


MR. BORGIDA:
Joining us here in our studio is Andrew Kuchins, of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Thank you so much, Mr. Kuchins, for joining us. Shed some light on this -- is it in fact a new day between NATO and Russia?

MR. KUCHINS:
I think it's potentially a new day between NATO and Russia. There are some cynics who will say that we have gone through this before. In 1997, we created the Permanent Joint Council, a new mechanism for NATO-Russian cooperation in advance of the first round of NATO expansion. It didn't work out. The Kosovo war happened. The Russians never took it very seriously. They weren't very committed to it. It didn't turn out to be a very effective mechanism.

Now we have a new mechanism, the NATO-Russia Council, which has more promise to be a useful tool for NATO-Russian cooperation. But we will find out in the weeks, months and years ahead, as we see how much commitment the leadership in Moscow and the leadership in leading Western countries put into it.

MR. BORGIDA:
Let's talk about the commitment between the leaders in Moscow and in particular Washington. In your view, have the two presidents, Vladimir Putin and President Bush, developed a relationship that is solid and can work through the problems we know we will have in the months and years ahead?

MR. KUCHINS:
I think their personal relationship clearly is important. They have established some chemistry. They did so when they first met in Slovenia. What Mr. Putin did is be the first international leader expressing his commiserations with Mr. Bush after September 11th. That was important. That meant something to Mr. Bush. And each of them now have a personal investment in their relationship and in the overall U.S.-Russian relationship, which can help.

MR. BORGIDA:
Mr. Kuchins, was terrorism, the fight against terrorism, the catalyst for this new arrangement, do you think?

MR. KUCHINS:
Well, I think it was the catalyst and it accelerated processes and forces that predated September 11th. But Mr. Putin was able to use September 11th to mobilize a pro-Western orientation to move faster on reaching a more cooperative relationship with NATO, and the United States more broadly. I think it is something he wanted to do anyway. We saw this before September 11th, but it helped push history faster I think.

MR. BORGIDA:
The views of Andrew Kuchins, of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, giving us some insight into this agreement and the relationship between the two presidents. Thanks so much for joining us today.

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