Victor Davis Hanson uses a National Review Online column to explore the American left’s sudden concern about Russia’s role as geopolitical rival.

The new progressive hatred of Russia is baffling. Of course, Vladimir Putin is a thug and a killer who in the grand tradition of Russian autocracy has no intention ever of holding free elections. But he is perhaps no more a murderer than are the Castro brothers in Cuba, with whom we have concluded a détente and who have no arsenal capable of destroying the U.S.

Putin is no more or less trustworthy than are the Iranians, with whom in 2015 we cut a deal on nuclear proliferation and who are far more likely than the Russians to send a nuclear missile into Israel someday. Putin’s brutal suppression of the press recalls the ongoing repression by President Recep Erdogan of Turkey — a linchpin member of NATO.

There is no freedom in China. The Communists still in control have the blood of 50 million Chinese dead on their hands from Mao’s brutal revolutions and genocides. Yet we enjoy all sorts of cultural, political, and economic bipartisan relationships with China, whose nuclear patronage of North Korea has done more damage to U.S. security than any plot from the dark mind of Vladimir Putin. …

… Has progressives’ sudden furor, then, arisen understandably over the fact that Putin hired hackers who leaked embarrassing information both during the 2016 election and earlier during the last years of the Obama administration? Or are they enraged over Putin’s efforts to leak, lie, and disrupt our elections?

But if so, why did the Obama administration —in power until January 20, 2017 — never react forcefully to such undeniable provocations?