More than a quarter of a century after the end of the Cold War, she cannot let go of that hysterical feeling that, "The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming!" In screeching screed after screeching screech, Applebaum is, like most neocons, a one trick pony: the US government needs to spend more money to counter the threat of the month. Usually it's Russia or Putin. But it can also be China, Iran, Assad, Gaddafi, Saddam, etc.
There is no doubt that Applebaum is a true believer that Putin wants to destroy our democratic institutions, but there is also a more pedestrian way to understand her endless obsession: it pays well to hype up big threats. In fact, according to a mandatory Polish government disclosure (her husband was Polish defense and foreign minister before being forced out in disgrace after an eavesdropping scandal), Applebaum has made out like a bandit for a humble journalist and think-tanker.