In an article entitled “Bowing to the Kremlin,” published in Foreign Policy journal on Tuesday, Romney paints a wonderfully abstract picture of Russia-US relations over the past four years.
As if to prove that the 2012 US presidential elections are not for the Republicans to win, but rather for Barack Obama to lose, America’s silver-tongued leader unwittingly handed GOP front running Russophobe a loaded gun, which is now being fired wildly at Russia.
The four remaining candidates for the Republican Party presidential nomination – Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul and Mitt Romney – increasingly resemble freak show attractions at the local amusement park, attractive for their god-given deformities and little else. But thanks to an(other) embarrassing microphone malfunction on the part of Obama, one of these candidates, Mitt Romney, seems to have been resurrected from the political graveyard.
This is certainly not the best-case scenario for Russia, and Russia-US relations.
The political posturing began soon after Obama was overheard asking President Dmitry Medvedev during a nuclear security summit to be patient on missile defense until after US presidential elections.
“This is my last election,” Obama was heard telling the Russian leader on the sidelines of the summit. “After my election I have more flexibility.”
Romney leaped on the discarded bone like a ravenous dog, attacking the credibility of both the American President and Russia in one toothless bite.
“Russia is not a friendly character on the world stage and for this President to be looking for greater flexibility where he doesn’t have to answer to the American people in his relations with Russia is very, very troubling, very alarming,” the Republican hopeful told CNN in an interview.
“(Russia) is without question our number one geopolitical foe,” he added.
When pressed if he actually believed that Russia represented a bigger threat to the United States than either Iran or China, Romney retreated, saying: “Of course the greatest threat that the world faces is a nuclear Iran and nuclear North Korea…”
Once the dust storm from this verbal grenade had settled, President Dmitry Medvedev calmly (and presidentially) requested the US presidential candidates do two things: “consult their reason when they formulate their positions, and…check the time – it is now 2012, not the mid-1970s.”
Despite the dressing down, Romney has shown his determination to milk this golden cow for every drop.
“The record shows that President Obama has already been pliant on missile defense and other areas of nuclear security,” Romney wrote in Foreign Policy. “Without extracting meaningful concessions from Russia, he abandoned our missile defense sites in Poland.”
Romney conveniently omits the fact that the Obama administration, while “shelving” the Bush plan for European missile defence in Poland, unveiled a new prototype that is – according to America’s leading military commander at the time – far more effective than the Bush variant.
Here is Robert M. Gates, Secretary of Defence under both the Bush and Obama administrations, explaining Obama’s plans for missile defence.
“In the first phase, to be completed by 2011, we will deploy proven, sea-based SM-3 interceptor missiles – weapons that are growing in capability – in the areas where we see the greatest threat to Europe….The second phase, which will become operational around 2015, will involve putting upgraded SM-3s on the ground in Southern and Central Europe.”
For anybody who actually believes that Obama went “soft” on missile defence, please keep reading.
“All told, every phase of this plan will include scores of SM-3 missiles, as opposed to the old plan of just 10 ground-based interceptors,” Gates explained.
“We are strengthening – not scrapping – missile defence in Europe.”
Romney goes on to prove that his geopolitical thinking has barely evolved since at least the Cold War when he accuses Obama of allowing Russia to impose “new limits on our nuclear arsenal.”
This comment is in reference to the New START Treaty, which even Obama’s harshest critics have hailed as a serious step forward in bilateral relations.
New START, which was signed on 8 April 2010 in Prague, limits the number of deployed strategic nuclear warheads on both sides to 1,550, which is down nearly two-thirds from the original START treaty. Romney would most likely take a serious bruising in any presidential debate against Obama if he attempted to argue that America's security has been somehow weakened by the treaty.
Romney then accused Russia of “obstructionism” at the United Nations (i.e. not towing the Washington line). Moscow recently vetoed a UN Security Council resolution that demanded that pro-government forces in Syria put down their weapons, while not making similar demands on the militant opposition.
In concluding his discourse, Romney – showing that he has no political leg to stand on – conjured up the weightier spirit of a deceased man to compare himself: “the United States needs the backbone and courage of a Ronald Reagan.”
No, Mr. Romney, America does not need another Ronald Reagan. It needs a leader whose mindset has not been cast in the die of a foregone age, and whose only geopolitical program is to make the world a more dangerous place.
Which leads us to the one accurate comment in Romney’s entire article: “The Russians clearly prefer to do business with the current incumbent of the White House.”