“Russia’s actions are a problem,” President Barack Obama conceded at a March 2014 news conference in the Netherlands. He quickly pivoted, however, to a familiar dismissal designed to assuage the public’s mounting concerns over Moscow’s naked revanchism. “They don’t pose the number-one national security threat to the United States.”
“I continue to be much more concerned when it comes to our security with the prospect of a nuclear weapon going off in Manhattan,” the president said. He must have known at the time that these two pressing concerns were neither mutually exclusive nor as distinct as he had implied.