Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney said that President Barack Obama’s naiveté and faulty judgment with regards to Russia has led to the current crisis in Crimea and Ukraine.
“This is not fantasy land,” Romney said on CBS’ Face The Nation. “This is reality where they are a geopolitical adversary.”
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Andrii Deshchytsia said on Sunday that the chances of going to war with Russia are “growing” and, in discussing Russian troops that are moving toward Ukraine, Romney said Putin had “real potential” to move his troops into other parts of Ukraine and Obama should learn from his previous mistakes and think about how to work with America’s allies to deter Putin from doing so. Romney said that Obama should also not shrink the country’s military and put back the missile defense system in Eastern Europe.
Romney said the country has not re-entered the Cold War, but Russia has very different ambitions and will push against the United States. Romney noted that Russia has blocked sanctions on Iran, stood with Assad in Syria, stood with North Korea, and is harboring Edward Snowden.
Romney said Obama’s weakness in Syria led Putin to be aggressive in Ukraine and fits into Obama’s misguidedness have “led to a number of foreign policy challenges.” In Russia, Romney said Obama was not able to shape the events, like threatening the country with sanctions beforehand, that may have prevented what occurred in Ukraine and Syria and given the international community more options to deal with Russia. This was because he did not understand Putin and Russia’s intentions even though Putin often telegraphed them with his actions.
Romney said Russia was not an “enemy” but insisted that Russia was n huge adversary on the international stage that wants more authoritarianism than freedom. During the 2012 campaign, Obama mocked Romney for saying that Russia was the country’s “greatest geopolitical threat” by saying that the “1980s are now calling and asking for their foreign policy back because the Cold War has been over for 20 years.” Four years before Romney got the GOP presidential nomination, former Alaska Gov. and Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin said that if Obama were elected president, Russia’s Putin may be embolden to invade Ukraine. For those remarks, Palin was mocked by the cognoscenti.
Romney said that Obama and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton thought they could just “reset” relations with Russia by handing out gifts that would make Russia change their intentions and that has not been the case. That mentality of viewing Russia as a “friend,” Romney said, prevented Obama from working with America’s allies to discuss possible sanctions with Russia when protests were occurring in Ukraine that would have had the potential to prevent Russia from making a “devastating move” in annexing Crimea that Romney said “changes the landscape.”
Romney lamented that no country has greater admiration for America since Obama has been elected president.