We all accuse Vladimir Putin of Cold War nostalgia, but Washington's elites - politicians and intellectuals - miss the old days as well. They wish for the world in which the United States was utterly dominant over its friends, its foes were to be shunned entirely, and the challenges were stark, moral, and vital. Today's world is messy and complicated. China is one of our biggest trading partners and our looming geopolitical rival. Russia is a surly spoiler, but it has a globalized middle class and has created ties in Europe.

We all accuse Vladimir Putin of Cold War nostalgia, but Washington's elites - politicians and intellectuals - miss the old days as well. They wish for the world in which the United States was utterly dominant over its friends, its foes were to be shunned entirely, and the challenges were stark, moral, and vital. Today's world is messy and complicated. China is one of our biggest trading partners and our looming geopolitical rival. Russia is a surly spoiler, but it has a globalized middle class and has created ties in Europe.