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Romney: Russia ‘Is Without Question Our Number One Geopolitical Foe’

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"Romney: Russia ‘Is Without Question Our Number One Geopolitical Foe’"

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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.

Update

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.”

Full transcript:

BLITZER: Is there anything wrong when it comes to national security issues, to be saying something like that to the Russian leader?

ROMNEY: Yeah there’s something terribly wrong with that. It is alarming. It is troubling. The agreement that the president put in place with regards to nuclear weapons is one which I find very very troubling already. The decision to withdrawal our missile defense sites from Poland put us in greater jeopardy in my view. Actions he’s taken so far which he says are to reset relations with Russia have not worked out at all. Russia continues to support Syria, supports Iran, has fought us with the crippling sanctions we wanted to have the world put in place against Iran. Russia is not a friendly character on the world stage and for this president to be looking for greater flexibility where he doesn’t have to answer to the American people in his relations with Russia is very, very troubling, very alarming. I am very, very concerned and I think the American people are going to feel the same way. This is a president who is telling us one thing and doing something else and is planning on doing something even more frightening.

BLITZER: Well when you say, “even more frightening,” what is he planning on doing in your opinion?

ROMNEY: Well my guess is it either has to do with nuclear arms discussions or it has to do with missile defense sites. What he did both on nuclear weaponry already and the new START treaty as well as his decision to withdraw missile defense sites from Poland and then reduce our missile defense sites in Alaska from the original plan. These are very unfortunate developments and if he’s planning on doing more and suggest to Russia that has things he’s willing to do with them that he’s not willing to tell the American people. This is to Russia, this is without question our number one geopolitical foe. They fight every cause for the world’s worst actors. The idea that he has more flexibility in mind for Russia is very very troubling indeed.

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.

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