11:31 GMT21 June 2021
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    NATO and Russia met today at the negotiating table, for the first time in two years, but relations between the sides remain uncertain, and immediate moves must be taken to avert a “dangerous war scenario,” Paris-based political analyst Hall Gardner told Radio Sputnik.

    Gardner, professor and chair of the Department of International and Comparative Politics at the American University of Paris, called today’s NATO-Russia Council a ‘good step.’ At the same time, he said negotiations should have been started immediately following the US-backed coup in Ukraine. The subsequent Ukraine crisis and the downing of the Russian Su-24 jet by NATO-member Turkey brought the sides to the brink of war.

    “These are very dangerous incidents: overflights at the NATO airspace and [NATO’s movement] closer to Russian borders. That’s created a very dangerous war scenario that we all haven’t seen since the Cold War,” he said.

    Conflicts in Afghanistan and the ongoing challenges presented by global terrorism unite Moscow and the military bloc, Gardner claimed. He added that a Taliban victory in Afghanistan would be a “disaster” for both sides, arguing that Russia and NATO must work together to prevent the possibility.

    But, he asserted, to revive the partnership, compromises must be reached, and a solution to the ongoing economic meltdown in Ukraine is first on the list.

    “The links to the [Minsk II] Accords give us the chance, but nobody’s pushing to get them implemented,” Gardner said. “The US and NATO have to press Ukraine on their side to its part in accepting those accords.”

    Gardner suggested that a positive shift in relations between NATO and Russia will not occur until after the next president of the United States is elected. He opined that it would take between one and two years for the new administration to reassess the international political situation.

    “[T]his transition period from the American election to re-engaging in international politics is very difficult and creates tensions every time a major election comes about,” he said, adding that now “there’s a chance for fundamental change in American politics.”


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