The geopolitical history of balance of power suggests that Russia is simply too big to be the West’s ally in normal times. In a pattern that has held for more than 300 years, Russia has been an ally to the West only in times of serious trouble in world governance:
• In the early 1700s Peter the Great attacked expansionist Sweden, to the delight of many Europeans.
• In the world-wide conflict known in the United States as the French and Indian War and elsewhere as the Seven Years war, the Russian armies took Berlin for the first time and were briefly the wonder of Europe.
• Western Russophilia reached its apex during the Napoleonic wars, when the Cossacks were admired as the romantic liberators of Paris. […]