The L.A. Times reports on the latest official Russian reaction to Romney:
“We don’t think that for us Romney will be an easy partner,” said Pushkov, an ally of President Vladimir Putin. “We think that Romney will be, on the rhetorical side, a replay of the Bush administration.”
He also noted Romney’s statements that the United States should assert its dominance in the 21st century.
“If he is serious about this, I’m afraid he may choose the neocon-type people…In the first year of his presidency, we may have a full-scale crisis,” he said.
Obviously, the Russians have their own reasons for saying this. It’s understandable that they would not be pleased by the prospect of the election of the most rhetorically anti-Russian candidate since the end of the Cold War. Then again, why should Americans be any more pleased? Pushkov might be exaggerating for effect, but he might not. As a matter of fact, Romney has given every indication that his foreign policy is supposed to be a “replay of the Bush administration.” This is a natural conclusion that anyone should reach after reviewing a list of his positions, statements, and advisers.
Notice what Pushkov isn’t saying. It gets to the heart of why Romney’s foreign policy is generally so misguided. One of the main themes of all of Romney’s foreign policy views that he will project American strength, that Obama has failed to project that strength, and that other states will respond positively to Romney when he does this. Pushkov isn’t saying, “We respect other states when they are confrontational and provocative, and we are more likely to reach agreement on disputed issues once there is someone like Romney in charge in Washington.” Other states generally don’t react well to the sort of domineering, aggressive policies that Romney has proposed. Other states that consider themselves great powers are even less likely to react well.