Inside the Blob’s dangerous anti-Russia echo chamber, by Daniel Larison

It might be a good idea to quit demonizing a country whose nuclear arsenal is as good as or better than ours. It’s a dangerous radical idea, but we might even try to improve relations with Russia. From Daniel Larison at

The groupthink is leading to the marginalization of ideas and people who call for a new approach to Moscow. And it’s getting ugly.

Ten years after the Obama administration’s somewhat successful “reset” with Russia ended, the debate over Russia policy in Washington is warped by reflexive hawkishness and intolerance for dissenting views. 

The anti-Russia hysteria of the Trump years has created an atmosphere where Russia hawks feel free to denounce even the mildest proposals for constructive engagement with Moscow, and to launch smear campaigns against eminently qualified scholars to intimidate them and to impose narrow boundaries on the discussion of U.S. policy towards Russia. This poisons the debate, and it makes it harder to craft the smartest policies that serve U.S. and allied interests. 

The Biden administration is the first in the post-Cold War to take office without even paying lip service to the idea of trying to improve U.S.-Russian relations. Except for the Biden administration’s extension of New START earlier this year, U.S.-Russian relations are as bad as they have ever been in the last thirty years, and in the wake of the latest round of misguided U.S. sanctions the relationship is all but guaranteed to deteriorate further. 

The U.S. desperately needs a more balanced and reasonable Russia policy debate, but the foreign policy establishment’s worst tendencies of groupthink and exclusion are making that difficult if not impossible. There are few policies more in need of fresh thinking and different perspectives than Russia policy, but Russia hawks in the “Blob” are determined to stop that.

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