Russia and Iran should be treated differently: Russia as a competitor, Iran as an enemy

A friend of mine, who frequently travels to Russia, have visited Russia again a month ago and he was troubled by the drastic change in how the ordinary Russians view America.

After the Soviet Union past away and a new Russia was created, the ordinary Russians dreamed to become like a Russian-style America. Nowadays the same people do not want anymore to become an America. They dislike America’s policies toward Russia and appreciate the efforts of their President Putin who they think defends them from American sanctions and other unfriendly actions aimed at weakening and humiliating Russia.
What happened?
American political establishment had designed a strategy on how to punish Russia for invading Crimea and Eastern Ukraine (and for doing something else we do not like) in hope to increase unhappiness of the Russians with their President Putin and induce the Russian electorate to replace Putin by somebody else of our own liking. However, this strategy have brought an opposite result – the popularity of Putin has been increased. The Russian majority (a strong majority of probably 85%) blame their sanction-resulted hardship on America and appreciate the Putin’s actions in defense of Russia against “American aggression”. The nowadays America is no more Russian dream. Why? 
The most plausible explanation is that American political establishment continues treating the contemporary Russia as this establishment treated the Soviet Russia – as an enemy, and that is wrong. The Soviet Russia was indeed an enemy since its worldview was the entire world has to become a “communist paradise” and the Soviet Russia was undermining the countries of Western civilization in all possible ways. The contemporary Russia does not have such ambitions. It wants to strengthen its material wellbeing by controlling and managing its corruption-based, controlled free-market economy (corruption is a part of Russian historic traditions and therefore cannot be eliminated; it can be only controlled and managed). And it wants to provide security for its citizens by expanding its spheres of influence. The Russian majority believes President Putin is a good choice for those two tasks, and this majority has been electing Putin – democratically, with “normal” democratic machinations – to do all that.
We may not like what is going Russian-style democratically in Russia in the same way as many Russians do not like what is going on in America (especially these days with almost complete social and political breakdown). However, the Russians are not our enemies – they are our competitors. If it is so, we have to negotiate with them in search for a mutually acceptable compromise on everything (Crimea, Ukraine, Baltic countries, Syria, Cyber wars, etc.) To do so, we have to stop paralyzing political hunt for Russian intervention in our internal affairs. Yes, their intelligence services are interfering in our affairs – but let us hope that our intelligent services are not wasting taxpayer’s money in Russia.
With Iran, the situation is completely different. A contemporary Iran is an enemy while a contemporary Russia is a competitor.
If it is so, only severe sanctions and military actions as the last resort should shape our relationships with Iran while talks to negotiate mutually acceptable spheres of influence should shape our relationships with Russia.
Amazingly, we have been doing something opposite – negotiating with Iran and sanctioning Russia. It looks like US President Donald Trump understands this and is trying to fix it. Unfortunately, the establishment “swamp” (including both political parties) does everything to prevent the change because for them their personal wellbeing is of the utmost importance – not the US wellbeing.
From the news media:
President Trump unveiled a sweeping and aggressive new policy toward Iran, saying he will not re-certify the nuclear deal signed in 2015 and calling for a variety of new sanctions against the government in Tehran.
President Trump is able to do this because there has been no paralyzing political hunt for Iranian interference in our internal affairs although such interference undoubtedly exists - the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran is itself a clear evidence of that.