“International events over the past year, particularly the dispute with Russia over the Ukraine situation … have likely made countries other than China seem more threatening to the U.S.,” Gallup found. “[T]he U.S. economy has greatly improved while China’s has slowed, making the Chinese economy seem like less of a threat than when the U.S. economy was struggling to emerge from recession and the Chinese economy was growing more quickly.”

At the same time, Russia’s opinion of the U.S. has sharply dropped:

According to the latest data from the Global Indicators Database, just 23 percent of Russians held a positive feeling toward the United States in 2014, compared with 51 percent the prior year. An October 2014 poll by the Russian Public Opinion Research Center also found that 22 percent of Russians view the United States as the “main source of terrorist threats” to the motherland.

Putin isn’t exactly untouchable in his own homeland. He’s come under particular fire over the last week, because one of his vocal critics, Boris Nemtsov, was assassinated near the Kremlin. Thousands of Russians marched on Moscow on Saturday to “show President Putin they are not afraid to voice their opinions and wish for a “Russia without Putin.”

So we have two superpowers with a combative history, each led by men with a history of doing what they want, without regard to law, morality, or popular opinion. As a result, both have increasingly vocal public opposition. Both are battling tanking economies. Both are presently engaged on opposite sides of a budding war in Ukraine. What could possibly go wrong?

Rebekah Maxwell, producer of the Steve Deace Show, began reporting and producing at WHO Radio in 2007, with on-air work recognized by the official alphabet soup: the AP, IBNA, NBNA, RTDNA, NAB (all the while staying far from the TSA and UFOs). She delights in debating religion, politics, and all other subjects impolite at the dinner table. Her favorite time of year is Caucus season, and she’s an accomplished slam poet, ready to spit the truth…in mad rhymes, if necessary.