During an interview on CBS’ Face The Nation today, Mitt Romney called President Obama naive and attacked him for his inability to psychically predict that Russia would invade Ukraine.
Transcript via Face The Nation:
BOB SCHIEFFER: I’m sure, Governor, you’re tempted this morning to say, “I told you so.” But do you really believe that what happened in Ukraine had anything to do with what President Obama has or hasn’t done?
GOV. MITT ROMNEY: Well, there’s no question, but that the president’s naiveté with regards to Russia, and his faulty judgment about Russia’s intentions and objectives has led to a number of foreign policy challenges that we face. And, unfortunately, not having anticipated Russia’s intentions, the president wasn’t able to shape the kinds of events that may have been able to prevent the kinds of circumstances that you’re seeing in the Ukraine, as well as the things that you’re seeing in Syria.
We really need to understand that Russia has very different interests than ours. This is not Fantasyland, this is reality where they are a geopolitical adversary. They’re not our enemy, but they are certainly an adversary on the world stage.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, we have put on some sanctions now. They don’t seem to have done much good. You’re saying if we had done it earlier. How actually would we have done that? And are the sanctions they put on now– do we need stronger sanctions?
GOV. MITT ROMNEY: Well, let’s step back. I think effective leaders typically are able to see the future to a certain degree, and then try to take actions to shape it in some way. And that’s of course what this president has failed to do, and his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, as well. They thought resetting relations with Russia, handing out gifts to Russia, would somehow make Russia change its objectives. Well, that certainly wasn’t the case.
Had we, from the very beginning of the demonstrations in Ukraine, had we worked with our allies and said, “Look, let’s talk about the kinds of severe sanctions we would put in place if Russia were to decide to move,” and had we then communicated that to Russia beforehand, not put in place the sanctions but communicate, “Look, Russia, stand down here. Don’t you think about grabbing territory or these are the things that will have to happen. These are the actions we will take.”
BOB SCHIEFFER: How would you judge America’s place in the world right now?
GOV. MITT ROMNEY: Well, you look and see what’s happening in the world and ask yourself, after five years of the Obama administration and Secretary Clinton, her administration, and now a new secretary of State who, by the way, I hope does well, but you look over the past five years and say, “What’s happened?” Good things have not been bursting out all over.
The Middle East is in turmoil. Iraq is fragile and may fall back into a devastating setting. We’re not making the kind of progress in Afghanistan that had been promised. And our esteem around the world has fallen. I can’t think of a major country, it’s hard to think of a single country that has greater respect and admiration for America today than it did five years ago when Barack Obama became president. And that’s a very sad, unfortunate state of affairs.
Mitt Romney was criticizing President Obama for not having the psychic power to see Russia invading Crimea before it happened.
Face The Nation host Bob Schieffer was just as guilty as Romney because he acted like Mitt was right on Russia, but Romney was not correct on Russia.
Here is what the then Republican nominee said on CNN on March 26, 2012:
BLITZER: Well, when you say even more frightening, what’s he planning on doing, in your opinion?
ROMNEY: Well, my guess is it has to do either with – with nuclear arms discussions or it has to do with missile defense sites. What he did both on nuclear weaponry already in the – in the new START treaty, as well as his decision to withdraw missile defense sites from – from Poland and then reduce our missile defense sites in Alaska from the original plan, I mean these are very unfortunate developments. And if he’s planning on doing more and suggests to Russia that – that he has things he’s willing to do with them, he’s not willing to tell the American people – this is to Russia, this is, without question, our number one geopolitical foe. They – they fight every cause for the world’s worst actors. The I – the idea that he has some more flexibility in mind for Russia is very, very troubling, indeed.
BLITZER: But you think Russia is a bigger foe right now than, let’s say, Iran or China or North Korea? Is that – 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 that the world faces is a nuclear Iran. A nuclear North Korea is already troubling enough.
But when these – these terrible actors pursue their course in the world and we go to the United Nations looking for ways to stop them, when – when Assad, for instance, is murdering his own people, we go – we go to the United Nations, and who is it that always stands up for the world’s worst actors? It is always Russia, typically with China alongside.
Romney never saw Russia invading Ukraine coming either. He never mentioned Ukraine during his CNN interview. Mitt Romney needs to hold himself to the same standard that he is using to criticize President Obama. He doesn’t have psychic powers either. The media needs to stop giving Mitt Romney credit for something that he wasn’t right about. Romney was just mouthing the same tired Republican cowboy rhetoric about toughness.
There was no prediction in his 2012 comments. There was no strategy. Romney wasn’t right about anything. The media needs to stop turning to Mitt Romney for anything related to foreign policy. Romney has zero foreign policy experience. He is no foreign policy expert. In fact, he knows less about foreign policy that the media other favorite fake Republican foreign policy expert, Sen. John McCain.
Bitter and vanquished Republicans like Mitt Romney will attack this president for anything, including the failure to see the future.