He saw a United States that had deceived Russia with its pledge not to move NATO into Eastern Europe if the Red Army would move out, and then exploited Russia's withdrawal to bring NATO onto her front porch.
Had the neocons gotten their way, not only the Warsaw Pact nations of Central and Eastern Europe, but five of 15 republics of the USSR, including Ukraine and Georgia, would have been brought into a NATO alliance created to contain and, if need be, fight Russia.
What benefits have we derived from having Estonia and Latvia as NATO allies that justify losing Russia as the friend and partner Ronald Reagan had made by the end of the Cold War?
We lost Russia, but got Rumania as an ally? Who is irrational here?
Cannot we Americans, who, with our Monroe Doctrine, declared the entire Western Hemisphere off limits to the European empires -- "Stay on your side of the Atlantic!" -- understand how a Russian nationalist like Putin might react to U.S. F-16s and ABMs in the eastern Baltic?
In 1999, we bombed Serbia for 78 days, ignoring the protests of a Russia that had gone to war for Serbia in 1914. We exploited a Security Council resolution authorizing us to go to the aid of endangered Libyans in Benghazi to launch a war and bring down the Libyan regime.
We have given military aid to Syrian rebels and called for the ouster of a Syrian regime that has been Russia's ally for decades.
At the end of the Cold War, writes ex-ambassador to Moscow Jack Matlock, 80 percent of Russia's people had a favorable opinion of the USA. A decade later, 80 percent of Russians were anti-American.
That was before Putin, whose approval is now at 72 percent because he is perceived as having stood up to the Americans and answered our Kiev coup with his Crimean counter coup.
America and Russia are on a collision course today over a matter -- whose flag will fly over what parts of Ukraine -- no Cold War president, from Truman to Reagan, would have considered any of our business.
If the people of Eastern Ukraine wish to formalize their historic, cultural and ethnic ties to Russia, and the people of Western Ukraine wish to sever all ties to Moscow and join the European Union, why not settle this politically, diplomatically and democratically, at a ballot box?