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Going to Europe While Ignoring Europe

Annette Heuser and Tyson Barker make a familiar argument against Romney and his views of Russia and our allies in Europe:

In Poland, Romney is expected to criticize the Obama administration’s reset policy with Russia. In fact, US and Polish approaches to Moscow have hewed closely together [bold mine-DL]. Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski has stated that his country started its own reset with Russia in 2007 and paved the way for the US to follow a similar path. Even in conservative Poland, Obama’s approval rating stands at 50 percent, up from George W. Bush’s 41 percent during his last year in office, according to the Pew Global Attitudes Survey.

Apart from criticizing Obama’s Russia policy, the most remarkable feature of Romney’s vision is his lack of approach. His 48-page document outlining his foreign-policy strategy does not once mention the North Atlantic Treaty Organization or the European Union [bold mine-DL]. That will certainly be a source of concern for his European hosts, two of the largest members of both organizations and countries with two of the largest troop contingents to the NATO mission in Afghanistan.

This is a familiar argument because it is onethat I havebeenmakingonandoff for the last year or more. Given Romney’s confused and ill-informed views related to NATO, perhaps it is just as well that he doesn’t say more about the alliance. When a candidate’s campaign website and foreign policy white paper completely fail to address U.S. relations with European governments, it doesn’t make much sense for that candidate to be lecturing anyone about the supposed neglect or mistreatment being shown to our European allies. The charges of neglect and mistreatment are mostly nonsense in any case, but coming from the Romney campaign they are impossible to take seriously.

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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