No one I know who criticizes America’s post-Cold War policy toward Russia — including the U.S. position on Ukraine — thinks Vladimir Putin is a good guy. Indeed, the case against U.S. bellicosity toward Russia in no way depends on a favorable view of the Russian ruler. On the contrary, it is because Putin is who he is (an aggrieved nationalist) and because of Russia’s place in history that the U.S. policy of ignoring, when not belittling, Russia’s security concerns is so dangerous. Russia’s history — including multiple invasions from the west — is what it is, and that huge nuclear power isn’t going anywhere, no matter what America’s warmongers would like. Neither are its neighbors going to relocate anytime soon. So a regional modus vivendi is imperative. If the U.S. government continues to stand in the way — remember the U.S.-backed coup against the elected Ukrainian government in 2014 and the repeated eastward expansion of NATO since the Cold War — it is an agent of war, not peace.