Steve Clemons must be joking:
I’m not sure she wrote the piece, but one could sense a different hand — probably Paula Dobriansky’s by my guess — behind the interesting Mitt Romney Foreign Policy magazine oped, “Bowing to the Kremlin”, in which he challenged Obama’s caught-on-mic comments to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on ballistic missile defense.
The essay was tough-minded, internally consistent and coherent, and a real contrast to other Romney foreign policy commentary.
It doesn’t say much for Romney if that unfortunate article represented a big step up in the quality of his campaign’s pronouncements on foreign policy (according to Clemons, this “upped the stock value of his foreign policy operation”), but this is really damning with faint praise. The essay was “internally consistent and coherent”? Shouldn’t that be a bare minimum requirement for any essay? Romney’s foreign policy operation has been so poor until last month that mere coherence in public statements is to be considered major progress?
Maybe I am missing something, but the content of “Bowing to the Kremlin” was mostly a rehash of every stale Romney talking point on Russia from the last two or three years. There was the usual complaint about missile defense in Poland and the Czech Republic, a brief objection to New START, and an objection that Russia did not support sufficiently harsh Iran sanctions at the U.N. Romney has been saying almost exactly the same things for more than a year and a half. Following the article’s publication, Romney’s supposedly improved foreign policy operation issued a widely-mocked demand that Obama release the transcripts of all meetings with foreign leaders.
What made the article newsworthy was that it showed that Romney wasn’t going to give up making a major issue out of the meaningless “flexibility” comments made at the summit in Seoul, and it confirmed that he wasn’t going to back away from his risible description of Russia as “our number one geopolitical foe.” This was Romney’s foreign policy team operating at or near their worst.