John Bolton must think this is a clever line:

Despite a three-year effort to press the “reset” button with Moscow, Russia has pocketed one Obama concession after another, on missile defense, arms control, and proliferation. Now, top Russian defense officials are threatening pre-emptive military strikes against U.S. missile-defense facilities in Europe.

If this is what we get for bending the knee to Moscow, one can hardly conjure what “bad” relations with Russia would mean.

Since the U.S. had extremely poor relations with Russia as recently as four years ago, it isn’t difficult to imagine what they are like. The period of genuinely bad relations included Russia’s suspension of the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty in response to Bush’s missile defense plans. In addition, there was Moscow’s recognition of the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia after the August 2008 war in imitation and response to the U.S. and European recognition of an independent Kosovo. It’s interesting that Bolton places so much importance on what is essentially an empty bit of blustering, but he ignores the real damage that resulted from the previous administration’s more confrontational policy towards Russia. Of course, Bolton is now flacking for Romney, and he has to make the return of such a failed policy seem desirable. Unfortunately, his stated Russia policy is one of the more obvious reasons why Romney can’t be trusted to conduct foreign policy responsibly.