I have recently become interested in the triangle US-Russia-China. For the Chinese-American relationship there are many analyses that provide ostensible patterns of freeze and thaw, such as Lowell Dittmer‘s book China‘s Asia.

I have now started reading on the Russo-American relationship, beginning with Angela Stent‘s The Limits of Partnership. She mentions several post 2000 attempts to reset the relationship, but so far I am unsure whether any of these resulted in relative improvement of the relationship.


Is there any overview of the post-2000 Russia-US relationship highlighting worse and better periods - preferably academic?

From my current perspective (only just starting to learn about this) it seems that everyone mentions the points in time that made the relationship worse, such as:

  • 2008, Georgian War
  • 2010s upheavals in the Arab world
  • 2013, Snowden
  • 2013/4 Ukraine Crisis
  • 2014, Crimea annexation

Stent also mentions attempts at resetting the relationship, but I don’t understand (yet) whether any periods of rapprochement/deescalation ever occurred. Except that she clearly mentions a "post-9/11 rapprochement".

  • My English is not the best! What do you mean by thaws, @Ludi?
    – Gregory
    Oct 24, 2020 at 12:35
  • 2
    @Gregory „Thaw“ describes the melting of substances such as snow and is sometimes used in the context of international relations to signify improvement of the relationship starting from a bad („frosty“) state.
    – Ludi
    Oct 24, 2020 at 12:37

1 Answer 1


Recently, Biden had a call with Putin, and discussed a bunch of things, including a new treaty. The official White House statement says

They discussed a number of regional and global issues, including the intent of the United States and Russia to pursue a strategic stability dialogue on a range of arms control and emerging security issues, building on the extension of the New START Treaty.

However, I’m not sure wether this counts as a thaw, because Biden is also at odds with Putin at other subjects right now, and the White House has said

President Biden also made clear that the United States will act firmly in defense of its national interests in response to Russia’s actions, such as cyber intrusions and election interference. President Biden emphasized the United States’ unwavering commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The President voiced our concerns over the sudden Russian military build-up in occupied Crimea and on Ukraine’s borders, and called on Russia to de-escalate tensions.

In addition, during the Bush era, Putin supported the US attacking the Taliban, with the Wikipedia article saying

In 2001, in response to the terrorist attacks on September 11, the new Russian president Vladimir Putin quickly announced strong support. Terrorism against Russia was already high on Putin's agenda and he found common ground by supporting the American/NATO invasion of Afghanistan to destroy the Taliban that had harbored the Al-Qaeda terrorists.

So, all in all, it’s somewhat of a thaw between US-Russia relations.

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