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From Reset to Restart: The US-Russia Cyclical Relationship in the Post-Cold War Era


After a quarter of a century of oscillating relations between Washington and Moscow, Trump’s 2017 National Security Strategy named Russia as one of the main challengers to the US-led order. Power transition theory is used to explain the alternating cooperative and competitive phases during each of the first three post-Cold War US presidencies: first, initial attempts at cooperation are driven by US willingness to integrate its former rival into the liberal order; then, regression into competition follows as Washington’s influence rises in territories that Moscow considers sensitive for its national security.
Keywords: United States, Russia, reset/restart cycle, cooperation, competition