Adam Kirsch writing at The New Republic asks ‘Why don’t we take the Russian spies seriously?’ The question itself is a great one. Kirsch’s answer is even better.
Kirsch’s hypothesis is we don’t take them seriously because–in effect–we won the Cold War. Game over, man, game over. The USSR has been disestablished and Russia is a conquered enemy. No, no, wait…a conquered former enemy.
That, along with the general demise of communism–China and Russia’s own communist party excluded as well as the healing hands of time–mean we’ve basically stopped paying attention to what was once (and actually remains) an existential threat. Of course the likeliness of that threat being exercised has gone way down, something we can all be thankful for.
Kirsch and others have observed that history, unlike the Titanic, can almost turn on a dime and when or if we ever have to honor our treaty obligation to Poland due to a Russian excursion to, for example and using Russia’s excuse, “address threatening border unrest” we will wonder to ourselves how we could have been so foolish.