Mitt Romney made a bold foreign policy claim on Monday--that America's biggest geopolitical rival is Russia.
Assuming this isn’t an attempt to play off of Obama’s open mic gaffe, Romney has taken a much different tune towards Russia than Obama. In fact, Romney sees Russia as the chief geopolitical foe, over Iran or North Korea, though it’s hard to see how he could dismiss China from the conversation--especially since he released a policy paper on the challenges China poses to the US. On the other hand, China is a major trading partner to the US and things aren't always so cut and dry.
This weekend, the president happened to be somewhere where the microphone was left open. You may have heard that. It can be revealing — in this case, it was. Now when the president of the United States is speaking with the leader of Russia saying he can be more flexible after the election, that is an alarming and troubling development. This is no time for our president to be pulling his punches with the American people-- not telling us what he’s intending to do with regards to our missile defense system, with regards to our military might, and with regards to our commitment to Israel, and with regard to our absolute conviction that Iran must not have a nuclear weapon.
Russia, Romney admonished, always teams with the world’s worst actors and constantly seeks to undermine America’s goals at the UN Security Council. A point he reiterated that draws differences, albeit small ones, with China is Russia’s recent behavior toward the Syrian regime. "When [Syrian President] Assad, for instance, is murdering his own people, we go to the United Nations and who is it that always stands up for the world’s worst actors?”
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. I am very, very concerned. This is to Russia.This is without question our number one geopolitical foe.
Here a few quick facts on Russia that may substantiate Romney’s claim:
- Russia is the main oil and natural gas supplier in Europe.
- Russia deals in about 2 percent of the global commerce and is currently the largest country outside the World Trade Organization.
- According to the US Treasury Department, Russia holds 30 percent of its reserves in U.S. Treasuries.
- As recently as 2009, Russia refused its own entry into the WTO over objections that its Custom Union partners, Belorussia and Kazakhstan, be tied to Russia’s accession.
- In 2007 Russia canceled the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty and revved up its own military posture on the border.
- Russia’s leaders have given up on becoming part of the West and have started creating their own Moscow-centered system.
- Russia is willing to spend an estimated $600 to 700 billion over ten years to move away from its soviet era weaponry.
- Russia has steadily veered towards reimperialization, struggles with implementing a market economy, and has shown no use for political pluralism. Autocratic control from the Kremlin increases each year, with each passing election.