Most people feel embarrassed when they don’t know stuff that it seems like everyone else knows. I recently tweeted about how when the Trump/Russia stuff started coming out I had to google to find out why Putin was so bad, why the Russians were so bad — and, really, were they actually? wasn’t that kind of Reagan-like or something? could it be old stereotypes?
I did a bunch of googling and found that, yes, Russia wants to be a threat to our country. There are lots of articles out there, but this article from Vanity Fair was the one I found most helpful: “THE SECRET SOURCE OF PUTIN’S EVIL It’s not the K.G.B., or the Cold War. It’s decidedly more Pushkin-esque, or Peter the Great, than that.”
Putin’s goal is not just a little more turf. Russia has a lot of that. His telos—his endgame—is the destabilization, the overcoming, of the whole Western order.