Keep Engaging Russia

The United States and NATO should continue reaching out to Russia to find areas where they can work together on security matters, Gen. Philip Breedlove, US Air Forces in Europe commander, told lawmakers last week. “We have to find ways to cooperate with Russia,” Breedlove told the Senate Armed Services Committee on April 11 during the hearing to consider his nomination to be NATO’s supreme allied commander in Europe and head of US European Command. “Russia remains a very important influence with many of the nations on its periphery,” he said. “And so, Russia’s ability to either help us or hinder us as we work with these nations, I think, is still very great.” Breedlove noted that, in his current job he’s been “connecting to senior Russian leaders” in order “to get some normalization of conversation” and build military-to-military ties. “If confirmed, I will continue that effort,” he said. Breedlove said the relationship “can’t become a one-way street,” with the United States doing all of the giving. Instead, it should be based on “the principle of reciprocity,” he said. (For more hearing coverage, see Patriots Could Extend US, NATO Reach into Syria.)