Tense US-Russia relations are nothing new. What is new, however, is the potential for real progress when it comes to bettering those relations. Encouraging positive interactions between Russia and the US may be the only way to prevent some pretty serious negative consequences.

You’ve likely heard about the accusations regarding Russia’s involvement with the 2016 US elections. While the investigation on that score is ongoing, it’s worth noting that the US has its own history of negative actions toward Russia, including expelling 35 Russian diplomats from the US back in December. The air of distrust is thick, to say the least.

Still, Trump’s administration is relatively positive toward Russia, and that could mean an opportunity to repair what damage has been done on both sides.

In an interview with ABC’s “This Week,” Russian Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov noted that “if [the] two presidents meet each other, if they exchange views, then there will be a chance for our volatile relations to get better.” Back on the campaign trail, Trump got a lot of press for saying that he felt it was time to re-evaluate US/Russian relations and find ways to improve cooperation, indicating that he’s at least willing to consider another look at diplomacy between our two countries.

The key to reconciliation may very well be the war on terror.

Russia has had its own issues with jihadists. Its two wars in Chechnya—the first from 1991-1994 and the second from 1999-2000—were in response to jihadist activities. Since then, terrorists have also carried out several attacks in Russia itself. Though Russia has a pretty formidable military, not to mention more than 7,000 nuclear warheads, they aren’t the international superpower they once were. Which means facing down the jihadist threat will require some staunch allies. Perhaps this is an area where Russia and the US can find some common ground.

Both Russia and the US are fading powers searching for a way to remain relevant in the world today. While we’ve had our differences, our similarities shouldn’t be overlooked. If Trump and Putin can come to an agreement that is actually beneficial for both countries—not to mention completely legal and above board—it could go a long way toward supporting both countries and building a more secure future.

Especially since the price for failure could very well be the next Cold War.

About 

Martin Ackerman is a freelance writer and current editor originally from Staten Island, NY. His university schooling focused on English education and Japanese. He has a (not so secret) passion for art history and political science. When he isn't writing or editing you can find him at sci-tech conventions, building the latest LEGO city or pampering his cat, Tea. You can follow him on Twitter @MarMackerman.