A Russian Yars intercontinental ballistic missile system in Red Square, Moscow, June 2020
Iliya Pitalev / Reuters

In “Stop Tiptoeing Around Russia” (August 8, 2022), Alexander Vindman contends that, since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Washington’s approach to Moscow has been stuck at the appeasement end of the policy spectrum. “For the last three decades,” Vindman writes, “the United States has bent over backward to acknowledge Russia’s security concerns and allay its anxieties.” The United States, he argues, should have occupied the other extreme: instead of “tiptoeing” around Moscow, as the title of his article put it, Washington should have embraced an outright confrontation from day one.

Vindman’s narrative badly misreads the history of U.

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