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Drezner on Romney’s Ludicrous “Revanchist Russia” Claim

Dan Drezner is as annoyed with Romney’s NATO op-ed as I was, but focused on some of its other flaws:

In what way is Russia “revanchist”? Oh, sure, the Russians are chatty, but does anyone seriously believe that, right now, Moscow poses any kind of security threat to the rest of Europe? One semi-competent victory over a former Soviet republic does not constitute revanchism, and swelling domestic discontent and the Mother of All Demographic Crunches suggests that Vladimir Putin will be way to preoccupied with the problems within his own borders to be much of a problem in Europe.

I doubt that anyone seriously believes in Russian revanchism, but this is one of the standard terms that hawkish Republicans have used for years to describe Russia along with “expansionist”. As he always is, John McCain was ahead of the Russophobic curve by accusing Russia of revanchism in late 2007. The Heritage Foundation produced a backgrounder earlier this year on why Republicans should hate the “reset.” It described Russia as neo-imperialist and referred to “Russian revanchism” in the context of EU-Russian relations:

A fast-forward of the EU–Russian relationship is being led by France and Germany, and ignores the foreign policy concerns of many Central and Eastern European member states about Russian revanchism.

Based on Romney’s past statements regarding Russia and New START, my guess is that his claim about a “revanchist Russia” was informed mostly or entirely by whatever the Heritage Foundation’s talking points on the subject are. Drezner is right to be annoyed by the shoddy content of Romney’s op-ed, but it’s important to remember that Romney and his campaign aren’t the only ones producing the flawed arguments found in the op-ed.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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