In the lead-up to the G20 Summit in Osaka this summer, the American public called on President Donald Trump to take an aggressive (though somewhat retaliatory) approach; to discuss, in addition to ongoing situations in Syria and North Korea, Russian interference in US elections. However, contrary to the popular belief that diplomatic discussions between the US and Russia should revolve entirely around national security issues, it is crucial to consider the importance of entrepreneurial and academic innovation.

In order for the relationship between the US and Russia to improve, Russians and Americans need to collaborate in non-inflammatory areas, the most accessible of which is academic research. One successful example of such teamwork is the International Space Station, where American and Russian members of NASA and Roscosmos (along with representation from other nations) work in a shared environment for the betterment of humanity. Another cooperative academic project is the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (Skoltech), which was founded in Moscow, Russia, as part of a collaboration between the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the Skolkovo Foundation. This unprecedented level of teamwork helped to create a new, cutting edge educational institution in Russia, and enabled researchers at both institutions to benefit from “new opportunities for intellectual exchange, network building, and shared research.” In addition to providing mutual benefits for both American and Russian programs, these projects are important steps in normalizing the concept of a US-Russia alliance, by beginning to familiarize each society with one another. …

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Max Perrello

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