When asked which of five words best described the United States in relation to Russia, 64 percent chose either “enemy” or “rival.” We asked the same question in regard to six other countries. Georgia, another target of Putin’s, ranked second in terms of the percentage who chose these words — but that was only at 44 percent. The other countries were less likely to be viewed as enemies or rivals, even though some represent an arguably equal or greater threat: China (27 percent), Iran (21 percent), Ukraine (21 percent), Germany (13 percent) and Belarus (12 percent).
Though the victory in the Cold War (WW3) was pretty solid, nothing ever ends cleanly. And we’ve watched with unease the direction Russia has been moving in. This opinion among Russian’s young people doesn’t bode well for the future, particularly considering that more than twice as many see the US as an enemy or rival as see China that way. During the bulk of the Cold War, the animosity and distrust (and sometimes low level warfare) between Russia and China worked to our advantage. They kept each other occupied and we were able to play one off the other.
A couple of years ago when discussing the end of the Cold War (possibly just after Reagan’s death, when so many folks decided not to remember things clearly) I argued that if the USSR had been able to hold out for another ten years, maybe a thawing relationship with a economically-growing China could have made major differences in the outcome. It could still happen.