An open mic caught President Obama assuring Russian President Dmitri Medvedev at a nuclear summit in Seoul, South Korea today that he will have “more flexibility” to deal with issues such as missile defense after the presidential election and asked Medvedev to give him some “space” until the election is over.
On CNN this afternoon, Mitt Romney pounced on Obama’s statement. “This is a president who is telling us one thing and doing something else and is planning on doing something even more frightening,” the former Massachusetts governor said, calling the comments “very, very troubling” because Russia “is without question our number one geopolitical foe.” Host Wolf Blitzer followed up:
BLITZER: You think Russia is a bigger foe right now than say Iran or China or North Korea? Is that what you’re suggesting governor?
ROMNEY: Well I’m saying in terms of a geopolitical opponent, the nation that lines up with the world’s worst actors. Of course the greatest threat the world faces is a nuclear armed Iran and a nuclear North Korea is troubling enough. But when these terrible actors pursue their course in the world and we go to the UN looking for ways to stop them … and who is it that always stands up for the world’s worst actors, it is always Russia, typically with China alongside.
So in terms of a geopolitical foe a nation that is on the Security Council that has the heft of the Security Council and is of course a massive nuclear power, Russia is the geopolitical foe and the idea that our president is planning on doing something with them that he’s not willing to tell the American people before the election is something I find very, very alarming.
Watch the clip:
It’s unclear what Romney means by “geopolitical” foe in this context, as he did not cast any perceived Russian threat in a geographical sense.
Heather Hurlburt comments over at Democracy Arsenal: “Mitt Romney reflexively saying that Russia is the U.S.’s “No. 1 geopolitical foe” today shows, yet again, how bad the U.S. political class is at geostrategy; it also shows how uncomfortable Romney is on national security issues, needing when in doubt to reach back to those comfortable certainties of the 1980s.”