Two centuries of official diplomatic relations between the United States and the Czarist and then the Soviet empires; a rather longer span of private and commercial relations between Americans and Russians, in small part also as Bering Strait neighbors; a peripheral U.S. military intervention on Russian soil in 1918-1920; an intense World War II alliance two decades later immediately followed by almost half a century of harsh global confrontation while the Soviet Empire lasted; and twenty-three years of variegated dealings with Russian rulers, all should condition U.S.-Russian relations in important ways
At the height of the Cold War, the Soviet Union had military ties with Iraq, Libya, Syria, and South Yemen. President Anwar Sadat expelled thousands of Soviet troops and military advisers from Egypt in 1972 and turned to the United States for a strategic alliance. In 1979, the U.S.-brokered peace treaty between Egypt and Israel was signed; it marked the first time that an Arab country had recognized Israel.
A fundamental problem we have in understanding the Russian penchant for self-destructive behavior is that Americans have never been jealous of other nations. Yet, jealousy is a major strategic factor (and not the least important one exciting Islamist extremism) and has been through the ages, whether we examine the eras of dynasties, empires or faltering democracies.