[Ed. – Eight short years ago, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sought to ‘overload’ relations with Russia. (Overload was what the Russian word on her reset button actually translated to.) This gesture came months after Russia had invaded Georgia. How is Russia under Putin any more despicable or dangerous today than it was then?]
No one doubts that Vladimir Putin’s Russia is no ally of the U.S. But rivalry is quite a different notion than returning to the Cold War, when enemies faced each other down with arsenals of nuclear missiles. Quite strangely, the supposedly pacifist Left now seems to welcome that dangerous polarity.
In theory, the United States, in realpolitik fashion, could be playing Russia off against other rivals and enemies to our advantage — now seeking temporary shared agendas, now in keen rivalry over irreconcilable differences.
The fact that Russia is the sole country in the world that always could destroy the United States has, since 1949, proved an incentive to U.S. administrations, particularly Democratic ones, to find some sort of wary realist accommodation with the Russians.
Yet we now find ourselves in a strange and dangerous rivalry to see which political party can outdo the other in its public loathing of a nuclear and angry Russia.