Mitt Romney’s Reckless Russia Comment Endangers US National Security

Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The Romney campaign told us where they hold foreign policy today when they called it a “distraction”. Indeed, that distraction caused President Vladimir Putin to oppose our missile defense plans in Europe over Romney’s reckless comment calling Russia the United States’ “number one geopolitical foe.”

Yes, the missile defense plans are meant to be a shield against a possible attack from Iran, but hey, don’t be bothered by this distraction, even as Romney beats the war drums against Iran and Netanyahu tries to recover from the stinging rebuke from this White House today on his mission to rattle Obama in an election season to do more for Israel.

Putin claims that Romney’s reckless remarks justify Russia’s opposition to our missile defense plans:

“I’m grateful to him (Romney) for formulating his stance so clearly, because he has once again proven the correctness of our approach to missile defense problems,” Putin said of Romney. “The most important thing for us is that even if he doesn’t win now, he or a person with similar views may come to power in four years. We must take that into consideration while dealing with security issues for a long perspective.”

Speaking of “distractions”, on April 20, Romney conflated Russia with the Soviets, saying “Obama ‘entered into an agreement with the Soviets, excuse me, with Russia’ in the nuclear arms START treaty that effectively required the United States to reduce its weapons stockpile while allowing Russia to increase its stockpile.”

Lest you think that is but a gaffe, the Romney campaign appears to be stuck way far behind, as exemplified yet again when they failed to realize that Czechoslovakia dissolved in 1993.

Romney’s foreign policy adviser John Lehman, who ironically accused Obama of leading from behind, seems stuck way, way behind as he warned:

“We’re seeing the Soviets pushing into the Arctic with no response from us. In fact, the only response is to announce the early retirement of the last remaining icebreaker.”

These are not even the most offensive Romney foreign policy gaffes. Who can forget Mitt the Twit from the British press or Mitt the Racist from his Israel journey? It’s understandable that the Romney campaign wants to make foreign policy a “distraction” since President Obama clearly beats them at it, but when Mitt Romney starts causing trouble with our defense plans, his gaffes are no longer a mere “distraction” but a national security issue.

If Romney really believes that war with Iran is imminent, shouldn’t he be doing what the President is doing with regards to the missile defense shield? Instead, Romney seems clueless about even the basic points of diplomacy, as his insult to Russia demonstrates. Putin is most likely using Romney’s gaffe as an excuse to obstruct the missile defense plans, but Romney should know better than to provide such an easy excuse.

Furthermore, if Netanyahu gets his way, it will only push foreign policy to the front burner. Given Romney and Ryan’s weak foreign policy credentials, this should not be a goal of the Romney campaign.

This is just a taste of what a Romney presidency would be like. It’s not for nothing that a new poll today showed that were Romney to be elected, the United States risks falling back to Bush-era unpopularity among Europeans.

Mitt Romney accuses Obama of leading from behind, while Mitt Romney is bumbling from so far behind that he’s stuck in a Cold War mindset.

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