It is a bipartisan article of faith within the American foreign affairs establishment that Vladimir Putin is our implacable foe, and that the Russia-China axis is a natural alliance of two powerful, like-minded despotisms set on global domination. This axiom, a toxic byproduct of our recent domestic political meltdown, is as unquestionable as it is wrongheaded and short-sighted.
In the American imagination, still laboring under a post-Cold War hangover, Russia looms large as a font of hostility, anti-Americanism and illiberal ideology. And indeed, there is little question that the Putin regime is authoritarian and hostile or indifferent to Western values like human rights, individual liberty, and law-bound, accountable government. There is also little question that Russia’s intelligence services have been spectacularly successful in exploiting our political divisions and sowing havoc and discord in our domestic politics. And, Putin continues to poke Uncle Sam in the eye, witness for example, Russia’s most recent meddling in Venezuela.More