Professor calls for partnership between Russia and NATO

Lauren Florence

Russia should develop a long-lasting partnership with NATO to help the involved countries face the challenges of the 21st century, according to Sharyl Cross, professor and director of the Kozmetsky Center at St. Edward’s University.

Cross spoke on campus Thursday about the fluctuating relationship between NATO, Russia and the U.S., from the Cold War until today. NATO is a intergovernmental military alliance which includes 28 North American and European countries. Cross said she believes it is important for Russia to be seen as part of Europe and be economically involved with NATO. 

“NATO has the exceptional capacity to bring nations together,” Cross said. “I would say that the enlargement and increased cultural diversity [of NATO] has only aided the alliance. Russia is a major player and a major force that should not be discounted.”

Although their cooperation is important, Russia and NATO countries will not be able to create an alliance overnight, Cross said.

“I would argue that it’s a mistake to isolate Russia,” Cross said. “I don’t think that is the solution … Think long-term, be patient, define your objectives, be realistic, know that there will be setbacks but know also that there’s a lot at stake.”

Nick Hemlock, international relations and global studies senior, said he did a capstone project focused on the 2008 Russian and Georgian war and has attended several of Cross’ previous lectures on Russian and Eurasian studies.

“I liked her multifaceted approach and that she uses lots of different sources, because, usually, these things are very one-sided in the way they’re presented,” Hemlock said.

Kari Andreev, a Russian, East European and Eurasian studies graduate student, said she attended the lecture to learn about how the relationship between Russia and NATO was impacted by last year’s Ukrainian revolution.

“I’m in an international business class, and today’s topic was Russian and Ukraine, so I came to learn more about the situation and prepare myself,” Andreev said.

Cross said she hopes war will not arise, and Russia will work with NATO to come to an agreement about Ukraine’s identity and future.

“We need to try to de-escalate the situation, placing great emphasis on ending the humanitarian catastrophe and loss of life in Ukraine, and move things back to a more productive and peaceful course,” Cross said.