Fiona Hill and America’s Refusal to Believe
December 19, 2019
By Victor Rud
In the 1980s, Fred Coleman, Moscow correspondent for (among others) Newsweek, walked into the Soviet embassy in Washington to ask about Ambassador Dobrynin’s upcoming meeting with the new American president. Dobrynin had already served through several Presidencies. Dobrynin’s secretary’s reply: “The Ambassador is looking forward to working with the new president the way a kindergarten teacher looks forward to the first day of school.”
Forget the arrogance. The episode speaks to a glaring pattern in the history of US/Soviet/Russia relations — our refusal to believe, to remember, and to extrapolate lessons from our now 100-year experience with Moscow. Virtually every incoming Administration learned to walk anew, convinced it can do better and hard-wired to seek Moscow’s acceptance and approbation. By the time reality overtook euphoria, our political revolving door had immunized us against our own experience.