Russian democracy and American national security are intimately intertwined. This link is not new, but it is not well understood. When the cold war ended and Soviet communism disappeared, American national security was enhanced. If dictatorship returns to Russia, the United States and its allies will once again be threatened. Containment would likely be adopted as the guiding principle of American foreign policy. The United States could find itself in an arms race with Russia. We argue here that the connection of Russian politics and U.S. security needs to be clearer in the minds of U.S. decision makers. Failure to recognize and respond to this link will have consequences for U.S. security interests.