"I think that anecdote points to a broader, American Exceptionalism-based difficulty: we regularly hold peaceful revolutions at the ballot box. While the rest of the world, and Russians are arguably among the more egregious cases, have much greater policy time horizons, the U.S. has trouble remembering anything."
Too much truth to that, but it does not mean we should not try to do better.
"The State Department should provide a more "traditional" geo-political interface, but then you come to the question of to what degree agreements with the U.S.S.R. hold any sway. One might be tempted to pretend something like the referenced agreement never happened. Fine. But you really don't want the Russians weaponizing space, as we agreed to eschew in the Outer Space Treaty, do you?"
Now with that thought in mind think back on how the US government has in fact treated Russia since the Soviet Union dissolved. Is it just me or does it seem like our government as a whole actually WANTS to provoke them into something drastic like that? First off, why expand, instead of disband, NATO if we are not planning to attack Russia? And why pour all this 'democracy promotion' money into the likes of Svoboda if we are not actively scheming against Russia? I have no trouble believing this has been on the Russians minds all this time because it has certainly been on mine, and I cannot come up with another credible answer.
The Europeans were involved at first and they were thinking of expanding the EU to the Ukraine (which was probably a bad idea from the get-go given their economic woes) but they have since backed off quite a bit. Less because of their economic woes and more because of the sheer unsavoriness of the new regime. You could see street protests bring down several EU governments if they even get close to admitting a country where the likes of Svoboda is in government, and I've started seeing admissions that there is no way in hell Ukraine will be invited to the EU for the foreseeable future.
"While I understand that paranoia is the Russian national sport, I still thing BHO was a complete fool for, inter alia, abandoning the missile shield in Poland."
What value would it have been?
I mean in general I think interceptors are a great idea, but there? Whose missiles would it ever have a chance to intercept, if not the Russians? The Iranians never had missiles with that range and are unlikely to develop them, and still less likely to actually use them. Turkey is a member of NATO after all, and who else outside of Europe has the range to hit that area? Seems like a damn short list.
It does not seem paranoid to me for them to worry that a missile site ostensibly aimed at Iran, yet not in range of Iran, but nicely in range of them, might actually be intended for use against them. Combine that with the color revolutions, the expansion of Nato, the dismemberment of Yugoslavia, the recent events in Libya (Russia agreed to a resolution with strict limitations only to see the limitations ignored basically from day one, and a regime friendly to them eliminated as a result,) and Syria (where the Russians have refused to agree to even a token resolution because after Libya they simply do not trust us not to do the same thing again) - I do not think it's paranoid for the Russians to feel a bit persecuted.
That's without even mentioning some of the cruder anti-russian propaganda that you can be sure is being rebroadcast for them with captions.