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U.S.-Russian Military Dialogue Essential, Says Retired General

March 20, 2017 (EIRNS)—Retired Brig. Gen. Peter Zwack, the U.S. defense attaché in Moscow from 2012 to 2014, argues in a March 19 commentary in Defense One that military-to-military dialogue between the United States and Russia is essential, especially given the current state of U.S.-Russian relations. After noting the two meetings, in February and March, between U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford and Russian Chief of the General Staff Gen. Valery Gerasimov, the second one hosted by the Turkish general staff chief, Zwack writes that the lack of communication between the two militaries since February of 2014, "less even than during the height of the Cold War, is dangerous to both nations vulnerable to a crisis at the speed of cyber."

Zwack otherwise accepts the narrative that Russia is mainly responsible for the deterioration in relations between the two countries, particularly with respect to Ukraine—as if there were no U.S./NATO actions that caused Russian responses. He nonetheless sees the Dunford-Gerasimov meetings, the first in three years between the military chiefs of the two countries, as significant and important.

"It is imperative that they continue, along with senior U.S. and Russian defense officials and key regional commanders, to find venues to frankly exchange views and perspectives, de-conflict actions and incidents, and directly relay, unfiltered, what they are thinking and doing,"

he concludes. "Relationships matter, especially during times of tension and serious institutional distrust."