From its annexation of Crimea and the Kerch Strait to its continued support of the Assad regime in Syria, Russia has become more assertive in reestablishing its influence on the global stage. The international community is faced with the challenge of countering Putin’s aggression, and USIP is committed to developing a new portfolio to analyze and recommend policies for addressing Russia’s expansion ambitions.
A crucial deadline that will determine the future of humanitarian aid to Syria looms this week, as the authorization for the Bab al-Hawa crossing on the Turkey-Syria border expires on July 10. The crossing is the last with a U.N. mandate allowing aid to be delivered directly, without having to first go through the Assad regime in Damascus. While Washington has been insistent that the crossing should remain open, with a senior official calling it a matter of “life and death,” Moscow has said the cross-border aid undermines Syria’s sovereignty. Russia has used its veto power in the Security Council to prevent extensions of three other such aid crossings.
Despite numerous points of tension, Presidents Biden and Putin characterized this week’s meeting in positive terms. Now, “the administration is trying to decide to what extent to cooperate with the Kremlin … and to what extent to push back,” said USIP’s Donald Jensen ahead of the summit.
While Presidents Biden and Putin meet amid the strained U.S.-Russian relations in a generation, this week’s summit could yield moves to rebuild predictability in that relationship, especially new steps to address rising global risks to stability and security. Even as the United States confronts Putin over his wielding of selective chaos as a foreign policy crowbar, both sides share an interest in managing disparate international threats—from the weakening of the limits on nuclear weapons and the emergence of new high technology weapons, to climate change and COVID. The summit could reopen dialogue on such challenges.
The U.S. Institute of Peace’s Office of Strategic Stability and Security was established in 2020 to provide research and analysis on the growing impact of global powers on peace and stability. Housing USIP’s Russia program, and with plans to work closely with the Institute’s China program, the office convenes experts and local actors to develop an understanding of how the reemergence of major power competition is shaping the prospects for peace—with a special focus on Ukraine.