This Christian Science Monitor report confirms that Romney has made a fool of himself with his latest Russia-bashing:
A poll carried out by the independent, Moscow-based Levada Center earlier this month found that 42 percent of Russians think relations with the US are either “friendly,” “good neighborly,” or “normal and peaceful,” while 47 percent think they are “cool” or “tense,” and just 4 percent said they are “hostile.”
“I can’t see Romney’s remarks as anything but an emotional outburst,” says Gennady Gudkov, deputy chair of the State Duma’s security committee. “That just doesn’t correspond to the actual state of relations between our countries at all. Not only is Russia not a country that’s hostile to the US, we are actually allies in many geopolitical issues. Russians may sometimes verbally abuse America, but we tend to keep our money over there, both privately and in the form of our national currency reserves, which are held largely in US dollars… In fact, Russia is far more interested in our relations with the US than the Americans are in their ties with Russia.” [bold mine-DL]
Someone should ask Romney why he wants the U.S. to have a poor, antagonistic relationship with Russia. How does that gain anything for the U.S. or our European allies? How does reviving Cold War-like rivalry contribute to European and American security? I suspect he has no idea. Many of his foreign policy advisers served in the previous administration, whose policies helped ensure that U.S.-Russian relations were at their worst in a generation. Why does Romney want to return to policies that did nothing to advance American interests and increased tensions between Russia and its neighbors?
Making matters worse, Romney’s policy director insisted that the “number one geopolitical foe” comment was “a carefully thought-out Romney position, and not an off-the-cuff remark.” It would be one thing if Romney’s blunder was just a matter of saying something that he didn’t really mean. We could dismiss it as an overstatement, and leave it at that. Instead, Romney and his campaign insist on standing by an incorrect and provocative statement that demonstrates just how unprepared Romney is for the office he is seeking. If that was an example of a carefully thought-out position for Romney, we can only imagine what his ignorant outbursts will be like.
Update: Josh Rogin reports that even McCain, Graham, and Lieberman don’t agree with Romney’s “number one geopolitical foe” line. If you’ve lost these three by being excessively hawkish, it’s a good sign that you have badly overreached.