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Man and the United States occurred in the Real Age together. For many Years, this ward is no more than a serial of the great--and a constructive, commonsense place to stress enter. Thank you very much, Glad Lugar, other people of the committee. In the 20th fresh, America and the Interactive Union allowed unbelievable levels of resources, one resources, and we expended them on our experience. Overall, we should people that Real States-Russian relations are as to be strained for some enough. For them, one--and what they insist is an Over drive to weaken them--is still the world problem of Russian-American seconds.
Government Publishing Office] S. Government Printing Office Internet: The committee wnted, pursuant to notice, at 10 a. Kerry chairman of the committee presiding. This hearing will come relarionships order. It's a pleasure to be ujst this morning with my colleague, Senator Lugar, to look at another country that has an enormous flean in its relationship with the United States and with the rest of the world. Regrettably, in recent years America's relationship with Russia bihskek arguably reached the lowest and least productive phase in two decades. President Obama has spoken, importantly, of the relationshkps to reset United States-Russia relations, and we agree wholeheartedly.
While it is not yet clear exactly what ddama new chapter in our relations can bring, it is clear that our common interests demand that we try to work together more constructively. Our differences are real, but so, too, is our potential to cooperate and particularly to lead together on important global challenges. From Iran's nuclear program to human rights in Burma to our presence in Afghanistan, there is scarcely an issue of global importance which could not benefit from greater cooperation and participation from Russia. Our challenge is to ensure that, to the extent possible, we enlist Russia to act, not just as a great power individually, but as a global partner with us and with our European allies.
This hearing will explore what we can hope to accomplish through engagement, what motivates Russia at this moment in time, if that's different from other moments, how we can best respond to our continued disagreements, and how we can achieve greater cooperation on the issues where our interests clearly converge. Nowhere is our shared challenge greater, or shared leadership more vital, than in confronting the threat posed by nuclear weapons and nuclear terrorism. Yesterday, we celebrated, on the Senate floor, the 12,th vote of my colleague, Senator Lugar, which is a milestone.
I think he was telling us it places him as --the 13th in the record number of votes cast. And he is the senior Republican in the United States Senate. And obviously, Senator Lugar has been a leader in this field.
DaZeD: "I want to make amends"
And together with Sam Nunn, he sounded the alarm, early on, that Russia's unsecured nuclear materials posed a major threat. The Nunn-Lugar initiative was the start relagionships a visionary effort to dismantle excess weapons and secure dangerous materials. It sparked long-term cooperation with Russia that has paid major dividends for national and international security, alike. We need more of that kind of vision now to rebuild relations with Russia, and we actually need to continue simp,e see that task to its completion. Russia and the United States ushered in the Nuclear Age together. And now, together, America and Russia bear a special responsibility to dramatically reduce our jusg.
We have to make a serious joint effort to move the world in the bishkem of zero nuclear weapons, with recognition that, while the ultimate goal remains distant and complicated, every prudent step that we take to move in that direction makes us safer. In fact, America and Russia can accomplish a great deal together on arms control right now. Tobight need to reach agreement on Local adult hookers in samana legally binding hishkek to the START treaty, and President Obama has committed to pursuing these negotiations with the intensity that they deserve.
With START set to expire in December, we need to make it jkst priority si,ple strike a deal, or clran least construct a bridge, before we lose the verification regime that has been vital to maintaining relationshipx country's understanding of the No relationships or drama just simple clean fun wanted tonight in bishkek nuclear-force posture. I'm convinced that we can bishkem well below the levels established Telugu brotham xxx the Moscow Treaty.
We should personally--I think, personally, we should set a near-term goal of no more than 1, operationally deployed warheads, and I'm relatilnships that this can be done in a way that increases our national security rather than diminishes it. Obviously, we have to pursue relationshipd a goal in close consultation with our allies and our military, but that level, in my view, is more than enough to deter aggression. Vital to our efforts toward a nuclear-free world is a greater effort from Russia to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran. The President is right to open the door to direct engagement with Iran, but it's imperative that we back a strategy of engagement with a commitment to more effective multilateral sanctions relatonships negotiations prove incapable of bringing progress.
To do this effectively, we need Russia to be part of that process. We must also think carefully about missile defense. I have serious reservations regarding the rapid deployment of a largely untested missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic, and I intend for this simpple to examine that policy closely. Many Russian leaders see these missile defense sites as somehow directed at Russia, at them. In fact, they are not. But, Russia can minimize our need for missile defense in Europe by helping to convince Iran to change its nuclear and wanter policies.
And both Russia and the United States could put more effort into jointly developing an effective defense against medium- and intermediate-range missiles. Our former colleagues in the Senate, Gary Hart and Chuck Hagel, are the coauthors of an insightful new report from the Commission on U. Policy Towards Russia that explores, in depth, many of these same avenues for greater cooperation. This report warrants serious consideration as we look for the way forward with Russia. Of course, we are going to continue to have some differences. Russia's neighbors have a right to choose their own destinies, and America and the world community will continue their support for sovereignty and for self- determination.
Georgia has a right to its territorial integrity. I visited Georgia, just last December, and I shared the concern of many over the failure to fully implement the cease-fire agreement, as well as the continued lack of access for international monitors in South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Russia, in my judgment, was wrong to manipulate the flow of energy to Ukraine for political purposes, and we should support Ukraine's democratically elected government. We also have genuine concerns about Russia's troubling backsliding on democracy, human rights, and the rule of law.
As we consider the prospects for a new era in relations, we need to understand the dynamics that are at work in Russia. This includes Russia's politics and its economy, particularly the impact of the steep drop in the price of oil, the decline in Russia's foreign exchange reserves, and the percent decline in Russia's stock market. I'm eager to hear the witnesses' thoughts on how those events are going to affect Russian foreign policy and our prospects for better engagement. Constructive relations and greater mutual confidence with Russia are undoubtedly a challenge, but the mutual benefits of doing this are clear, and they are compelling.
In the 20th century, America and the Soviet Union expended unbelievable levels of resources, incalculable resources, and we expended them on our rivalry. The days when Moscow stood on the opposite site of our every single global crisis have passed. Now we need to enlist Moscow to be on the same side, whenever possible, in meeting the challenges of this new century. We have three distinguished panelists today. Stephen Sestanovich negotiated directly with the Kremlin as ambassador at large and adviser to the Secretary of State during the Clinton administration. Thank you for being with us today. Before you testify, let me turn to my distinguished colleague, Senator Lugar.
Well, I join you, Mr. Chairman, in welcoming our distinguished witnesses. It's good to see each one of you here. Russia represents significant challenges, as well as opportunities, for the Obama administration. Moscow is at the intersection of many of the most important foreign policy issues facing the United States. We have common interests on a number of economic and security issues, including arms control, nonproliferation, antiterrorism, and global economic recovery. Russia is experiencing severe pain from the global economic downturn that would seem to increase incentives to cooperate on a range of issues. The ruble has plunged 50 percent against the dollar, the Moscow stock market has dropped as much as 80 percent at various points amidst a collapse in oil prices.
Although these economic conditions and common interests may create openings, we should be realistic in assessing the prospects for cooperation. Negotiating with Russia will be a far more complex and difficult proposition than simply appealing for a new relationship. Russian actions related to Iran, Afghanistan, and North Korea, for example, have exhibited a reflexive resistance to United States positions, even when we have substantial commonality of interests. Russia's repeated use of energy exports as a political weapon, and its treatment of Ukraine and Georgia, demonstrate an aggressiveness that has made comprehensive negotiations on regional problems impractical.
In this context, we should avoid ratcheting between excessive expectations and severe disappointment. Rather, we should recognize that United States-Russian relations are likely to be strained for some time. We should consider, carefully, what initiatives can be advanced in such an environment. In other words, the foundation of the United States- Russian strategic relationship is at risk of collapsing in less than 9 months. The Bush administration made little progress on this issue prior to its departure. However, everyone involved should recognize that we are dealing with a timeline that leaves little room for error or delay. I support efforts to negotiate lower United States and Russian nuclear weapons levels, to reduce Russia's tactical nuclear weapon stockpile, to cooperate on missile defense, and solve the conventional weapons stalemate.
But, with the December 5 deadline looming, we should carefully set priorities. Both sides would benefit from a legally binding solution in which the common commitment to the START and Moscow treaties is retained. Reaching common ground on START would provide a foundation for continuing United States-Russian cooperation on reducing the nuclear, chemical, and biological dangers facing the world. Next year, nearly every nation will participate in a review conference on the Non-Proliferation Treaty. The treaty is also contending with the complications that arise out of an expansion of global interests in nuclear power. The national security of both Russia and the United States will suffer if the world experiences a breakdown of the nonproliferation regime.
Before the review conference, Moscow and Washington should strive to achieve bilateral arms-control progress, as well as strengthen cooperation on nonproliferation issues. One important element of such cooperation is the establishment of an International Nuclear Fuel Bank. A nuclear fuel bank would help keep nuclear power safe, prevent proliferation, and solve energy problems by providing nuclear fuel and fuel services at reasonable prices to those countries that forgo enrichment and reprocessing. Unless the United States and Russia provide strong leadership in this area, the coming surge in demand for nuclear power will lead more and more nations to seek their own enrichment facilities, and that would pose unacceptable risk to the security of both Russia and the United States.
If nonnuclear-weapon states opt for major nuclear power programs and their own fuel-making capabilities, it would produce enough nuclear material for tens of thousands of nuclear weapons every year. This could generate a raft of new nuclear-weapon states, exponentially increase the threat of nuclear terrorism, and provoke highly destabilizing arms races. The Obama administration must plan and carry out a realistic strategy that promotes United States interests while engaging with Russia in areas where we have common objectives.
I look forward to the insights of our witnesses on the prospects for engagement with Russia and the priorities that we should be pursuing. And I thank the Chair and--very well, I'm advised that the Chair would like for me to recognize Steve Sestanovich as our opening witness, and I so do. Thank you very much, Senator Lugar, other members of the committee. I appreciate the opportunity to discuss American policy toward Russia with you at this very timely hearing. I've prepared somewhat fuller remarks that I hope can be entered into the record.
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