As the foreign-policy debate has become more heated and personal in the run-up to the 2016 election, what went unsaid was that Vladimir Putin was one of the most popular politicians in the United States.
His “Reset” policy toward the United States — an apparent effort to diminish tensions between the two countries and expand cooperation in key areas — was extremely popular among foreign-policy elite.
“Even people who are indifferent to Russia might like the idea of a more positive stance towards them,” said Peter Tchir, who was the chief strategist at BlackRock’s hedge fund unit until he left earlier this year to start a new strategic consulting firm, Bridge Advisors.
And because foreign-policy issues appeal to both Democrats and Republicans, the premise that the country should embrace American approaches has proven popular.
That does not mean that Russia and China are our only competitors in the future, however. As Mr. Tchir saw it, after some years of relative peace, America could soon be confronted by adversaries who share some basic ideas with Mr. Putin. One of them is the dangerous idea that it is better to develop nuclear weapons than allow a country like Iran to pursue them.