We pushed NATO into Moscow's face, bringing six ex-Warsaw Pact nations and three ex-Soviet republics -- Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia -- into our Cold War alliance and plotted to bring in Ukraine and Georgia.
We financed a pipeline from Baku through Georgia to the Black Sea to cut Russia out of the Caspian oil trade. After getting Moscow's permission to use old Soviet bases in Central Asia to invade Afghanistan, we set about making the bases permanent. We pulled out of the Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty over Moscow's objection, then announced plans to plant ABM radars in the Czech Republic and anti-missile missiles in Poland.
Putin has now responded in kind, and who can blame him?
As we tried to cut him out of the Azerbaijan oil with a Black Sea pipeline, he is slashing subsidies on Ukraine's oil and colluding with Germany on a Baltic Sea pipeline to cut Poland out of the oil trade with Western Europe.
As we moved our alliance and bases into his front and back yard, he has entered a quasi-alliance with China and four nations of Central Asia to expel U.S. military power from the region.
As we abandoned the ABM Treaty, the Duma, in November, voted 418 to 0 to suspend participation in the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty, which restricts the size of the Russian army west of the Urals.
If we recognize Kosovo as independent, at the expense of Serbia, Putin is now threatening to recognize South Ossetia and Abkhazia, the breakaway republics of Georgia and Transneistria, claimed by Moldova.
Where we backed the Orange Revolution in Ukraine and the Rose Revolution in Georgia, Russia backs its favorites in Kiev and supports street protests in Tbilisi against the pro-American regime of Mikhail Saakashvili, whom the United States now seems powerless to help.
It was not NATO that liberated Eastern Europe. Moscow did -- by pulling out the Red Army after half a century. Why, then, did we think moving NATO into Eastern Europe was a surer guarantee of their continued independence than the goodwill of Russia?
Many among our foreign policy elite now talk of a Second Cold War. John McCain wants Russia kicked out of the G-8.
But do we not have enough enemies already that we should add the largest nation on earth?