In the bad old days, Russia was the global exemplar of communism. Of course the left was soft on them.
In the bad new days, Russia is the global exemplar of ethno-nationalism. Of course the right will be soft on them. To the degree that it’s not, we’re seeing a holdover from the Cold War that will not last long.
But affinities for false ideologies will necessarily distort our understanding of the world. Worse, attempts to reduce the development of international relations to the struggle of competing ideologies may omit relevant information, and particularly in this case some relevant continuities.
Russia remains illiberal. It remains expansionist. It would still be happy to see liberal democracy disappear from the world. It still can’t be a friend of ours, and if it had reason to, it could wipe us off the face of the earth overnight. This is something that has never been true for ISIS or for any of the other two-bit enemies that we’ve fretted so much about since the Cold War nominally ended.