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Russia Our “Number One Foe”?

Appearing on CNN yesterday afternoon in response to President Obama’s open mic moment with Russian President Dimitri Medvedev, Mitt Romney claimed that Russia is a chief geopolitical foe:

Romney said he was “very concerned” about the president’s remarks, especially because they were made to a Russian leader.

“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,” he said. “I am very, very concerned.

“This is to Russia,” Romney said. “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,” he said.

When pressed by Blitzer as to whether he truly believed Russia was a bigger foe than Iran or China, Romney sought to clarify his remarks, but did not back away from his argument.

“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, and nuclear North Korea is already troubling enough, but when these terrible actors pursue their course in the world and we go to the United Nations looking for ways to stop them, when [Syrian President] Assad, for instance, is murdering his own people, we go to the United Nations and who is it that always stands up for the world’s worst actors?” Romney asked.

“It is always Russia, typically with China alongside, and so in terms of a geopolitical foe, a nation that’s on the Security Council, that has the heft of the Security Council, and is of course a massive security 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 that I find very, very alarming,” he said.

Here’s the video:

It seems like an odd comment when you consider the fact that the Russia of 2012 is, in many ways, a pale reflection of the Soviet Union of the Cold War era. Yes, they still have nuclear weapons and a strong military but they don’t have nearly the amount of influence in the world that they used to and, were it not for their natural resources, their economy wouldn’t be nearly as strong as it is . Yes, it’s true that of late Russia has become rather adept at using its international influence, and its UN veto, to block international action in places like Syria but does that really make them our “number one geopolitical foe”? In the specific case of Syria, should we be mad a Russia for blocking the UN from getting involved, or grateful that, for their own selfish reasons, they are preventing us from doing something really stupid?

Daniel Larison sees Romney’s comments as reflective of a general antipathy towards Russia that still exists in the GOP:

This seems to reflect the bizarre, outdated hostility towards Russia that his earlier policy statements have conveyed. Sometimes the U.S. and Russia have divergent interests, and sometimes these interests may conflict, but that’s true of the U.S. and any other major power. His description of Russia as “our number one geopolitical foe” suggests that Romney has a very warped, anachronistic view of the threats to the United States. It’s a good bet that “our number one geopolitical foe” wouldn’t be permitting the resupply of our military in Central Asia through their territory and airspace. For some reason, Romney wants us to think that his Russia policy would be defined by Cold War-era paranoia.

There certainly does seem to be some of this paranoia still active on the right, if not among actual working International Relations experts, then at least among the pundits and talking heads that the public typically hears from. And it becomes a great “red meat” talking point for politicians to use with the crowds. In Romney’s specific case, this is a theme he’s been hitting on for awhile now, as this excerpt from an interview in 2011 demonstrates:

I began by asking him about Russian “reset.” He is, as on most topics, highly critical of President Obama. “You have to go back, ” he begins, “to when we pulled our missile defense sites out of eastern Europe. I wouldn’t have done it. But if we were going to do it, he should have gotten something of huge foreign policy significance. He didn’t.”

He’s under no illusions about Vladi­mir Putin. He is convinced that Putin dreams of “rebuilding the Russian empire.” He says, “That includes annexing populations as they did in Georgia and using gas and oil resources” to throw their weight around in Europe. He maintains that the START treaty was tilted toward Russia. “It has to end,” he says emphatically about “reset.” “We have to show strength.” I ask him about WTO, which has been much in the news as Putin blusters and demands entry into the trade organization. Romney is again definitive. “Letting people into WTO who intend to cheat is obviously a mistake.”

So this latest comment isn’t really a change of position from Romney, although there is an open question about how much it represents a position he’d actually take were he elected President and how much it represents a method by which to attack the President. Frankly, I think that’s mostly what this is. If Romney did become President, there would be no value in pursuing a confrontational policy with Russia in an era when we need their cooperation in a wide variety of areas. Perhaps the behind-closed-doors talk will be more pointed but the public face is going to be pretty much the same, because it has to be.

But back to the main question. Is Russia our “number one geopolitical foe”? In an era where the rising power in the world is China, and the major threats to world peace are in North Korea and Iran, this strikes me as a fundamentally silly idea. Yes Russia is a regional power with its own national interests, interests which sometimes (but not always) conflict with ours. However, to say it’s in anyway or chief foe in the world is to ignore reality. Mitt Romney should feel like a fool for even uttering the words.

Update: Russian President Dimitri Medvedev has responded to Romney’s remarks:

“As to ideological cliches, I have already spoken on the subject. I always get very cautious when I see a country resort to phrasings such as “number one enemy.” It is very reminiscent of Hollywood and certain period of history. I would advise two things to all US presidential candidates, including the person you just mentioned. My first advice is to listen to reason when they formulate their positions. Reason never harmed a presidential candidate. My other advice is to check their clocks from time to time: it is 2012, not the mid-1970s. No matter what party a candidate represents, he has to take the current state of affairs into account. That is the only he could count on winning.”

Of course it is worth noting that Medvedev won’t be President much longer, and his successor is a different animal entirely.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Mitt Romney should feel like a fool for even uttering the words.

    Mitt Romney is a fool for even uttering words. Every time he speaks it only gets worse.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 1

  2. michael reynolds says:

    Our greatest foe is the United States. Those S.O.B.’s have been hurting us for decades.

    As for Russia, we have an insecure person’s habit of seeing every potential opponent as ten feet tall. We are the world’s only superpower. Russia isn’t even close. Russia’s economy is the size of Canada’s. Unlike Canada, Russia has pretty much every problem-child nation in the world on their borders.

    We’re holding a full house, they’ve got a pair of deuces, and Romney is as scared as a little girl seeing a spider.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 31 Thumb down 0

  3. Mark Ivey says:

    Black Russian helicopters!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  4. Murray says:

    He knows Russia isn’t a threat, he just wants to capitalize on Obama’s open mic gaffe.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 0

  5. Vast Variety says:

    The #1 Geopolitical foe of the US is China. While Russia is certainly not among our friends, their ability to directly challenge us is limited to their quickly aging nuclear arsenal. China on the other hand has a much more direct affect on the US becuase of their manipulation of their currency, the rise of their economic influence, and the amount of US debt they own.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  6. Dave Schuler says:

    He’s fighting the last war but one. Russia might be a threat to Germany but, other than its stockpile of aging nuclear weapons, it’s not really a world power any more. Other than the energy sector its economy is struggling, its military has been hollowed out relative to the Soviet capabilities, and its population is actually declining.

    Russia does have its own interests. If that’s enough for a country to be our “number one foe”, we’re in a world of hurt.

    The irony of this is that we have nearly as many things in common with Russia as there are differences. Chief among the things we have in common: paranoia.

    One more thing: there is only one country other than the U. S. that has the capability of destroying the world and that is Russia. Under the circumstances it’s imperative that we maintain good relations with Russia.

    An aside on China as our geopolitical rival: hooey. Or, more politely, only to the extent that we want it to be. China’s military is mostly good for controlling China. China’s ability to project power beyond its borders remains quite limited.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  7. James Joyner says:

    I largely agree with Dave Schuler‘s analysis above–which makes me think Romney is right insofar as it goes. That is to say, the United States really doesn’t have a real nation-state “foe” in the Cold War sense but Russia is as close as it gets. Which isn’t very close at all, really, but still technically places them at #1.

    Not only is China’s military power limited but, more importantly, so are their aspirations. They have no desire to be a global power and merely want some degree of regional deference.

    Putin’s Russia, by contrast, actively opposes the Western agenda and the European project, which they see as threatening. They’ve already invaded Georgia and are a threat to others in their Near Abroad that dare get too uppity.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  8. Ron Beasley says:

    It’s more than politics – they need an enemy, real or imagined, to justify the outrageous military budget.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  9. Hey Norm says:

    What a doofus. Anyone that thinks this guy should be Commander-In-Chief out to have their heads examined. You know who you are.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  10. Fiona says:

    Nope–I don’t see Russia as our #1 foe. Romney’s just looking to score political points with the base.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  11. DRS says:

    Of course it isn’t. This has been another episode of Simple Answers to Simple Questions. Tune in again next week when we discuss The Loch Ness Monster: Fact or Fable?

    To me the question should be: why do certain Americans (not all Republicans) feel the need to have a major enemy all the time? What does it say about us that we’re addicted to Cold War rhetoric and thinking?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  12. PJ says:

    Russia aren’t going to invade any states in “old Europe”, or any NATO states. Russia isn’t a threat to Germany, or, for example, Poland and the Czech Republic for that matter.

    And the threat from China is about the economy; trade wars instead of conventional wars.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  13. Jenos Idanian says:

    Romney’s a fool. I mean, it’s not like Putin is engineering conditions to keep himself in power as Dictator For Life, and trying to set up a cult of personality, and trying to piece back together the old Soviet Union under a new name, and bring back to heel the former captive nations that were forced into the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact, and actively opposing the US and Western interests around the world, and aiding terrorists and terrorist regimes in the Middle East, and…

    I’m sorry, what was the question again?

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 16

  14. Brummagem Joe says:

    @James Joyner:

    Not only is China’s military power limited but, more importantly, so are their aspirations. They have no desire to be a global power and merely want some degree of regional deference.

    Are you serious JJ? China’s population is approaching 1.5 trillion, it’s GDP will overtake ours within 10 years, and it military expenditures are twice those of Russia at 120 billion. And they have no desire to be a global power? Meanwhile Russia with military expenditures of just under 60 billion (roughly the same as Britain and France); an economy largely dependant on natural resources; and a declining population remains our number one potential global adversary? As for the so called invasion of Georgia we’re talking about a territory much of which has been part of Russia since the 18th Century. Any invasions of Georgia pale into insignificance by comparison with our invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. Obviously JJ has now moved into Romney defense mode but I can only give him a 1/10 for this effort which is borderline humorous.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  15. Ben Wolf says:

    @James Joyner: Excellent comment. It’s encouraging to see that realists do in fact still exist in foreign policy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  16. Tsar Nicholas II says:

    I think Romney took a hit off a crack pipe before making that comment.

    The Russian Bear has been in hibernation ever since its tanks were eviscerated in 1991 in the desert. There’s no indication whatsoever that he’s about to wake up any time soon.

    That said, were I in charge I wouldn’t be tossing the Poles and other Eastern Europeans under the bus, as Obama seems wont to do. I’d be taking a much harder line against Comrade Putin & Co., precisely because Mother Russia doesn’t have too much leverage in the greater scheme of things.

    Regarding China, I do sense a large degree of naivete on the part of some commenters. Granted, China is not a direct military threat to the U.S., but when you factor in their sharp and often illegal trade practices, their rampant copyright infringements and their vast holdings of U.S. Treasury Notes, they are quite dangerous and should be treated accordingly. They also could send in a lot of bodies and a lot of missiles into Taiwan, should they ever be so inclined, and that’s something the U.S. never can allow to occur, unless we ourselves have devolved into a third-world banana republic.

    Iran is the geopolitical concern at present and will need to be dealt with shortly. North Korea is a wart on the face of the world and so long as they are led by crazy communists they’ll be a major problem too.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  17. @Brummagem Joe:

    I’m assuming you mean 1.5 billion there. 1.5 trillion Chinese people would make for a crowded country indeed. :)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  18. Hey Norm says:

    The Loch Ness Monster? Can’t say fer sure.
    Champ? Seen it.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Champ_(cryptozoology)
    Willy? Seen it twice.
    http://cryptozoo-oscity.blogspot.com/2010/03/lake-willoughby-creature-giant-eel.html

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  19. MBunge says:

    “Mitt Romney should feel like a fool for even uttering the words.”

    This is about more than Romney. We seem to have absorbed the idea that just because someone knows something about X, it means he also knows something about Y. But just as Paul Krugman may know a lot about economics yet be a complete moron when it comes to poltiics, Romney may know a lot about business but be an utter nincompoop on foreign policy.

    Mike

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  20. mike says:

    I do remember the time when Russia blew up the UN building and Twin Towers and funded Muslim Extremists and hacked our compuer systems and blew up embassies and threatened to exterminate Israel. We have plenty of more lethal foes out there right now. Russia is not at the top of the list.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  21. @James Joyner:

    Putin’s Russia, by contrast, actively opposes the Western agenda and the European project, which they see as threatening. They’ve already invaded Georgia and are a threat to others in their Near Abroad that dare get too uppity.

    A fair point, but how much of that is a unique characteristic of Putin’s Russia and how much is the same old Russian paranoia that the world has been dealing with for 300-odd years now? I remember reading one Cold War Historian who argued that much of the actions that the Soviet Union took vis a vis it’s neighbors and territories could be better understood in the light of Russia’s historical concerns rather than Soviet expansionism.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  22. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Tsar Nicholas II:

    The Russian Bear has been in hibernation ever since its tanks were eviscerated in 1991 in the desert. There’s no indication whatsoever that he’s about to wake up any time soon.

    That said, were I in charge I wouldn’t be tossing the Poles and other Eastern Europeans under the bus, as Obama seems wont to do. I’d be taking a much harder line against Comrade Putin & Co., precisely because Mother Russia doesn’t have too much leverage in the greater scheme of things.

    Nick demonstrates his usual intellectual capacity by contradicting himself in two successive paras. Firstly, the bear is asleep and there are no signs he’s threatening anyone. Secondly Obama is tossing the Eastern Europeans to the bear. Finally we need to be taking a hard line with a hibernating bear.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  23. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    1.5 trillion Chinese people would make for a crowded country indeed. :)

    Oops senior moment there.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  24. anjin-san says:

    I’m sorry, what was the question again?

    It was “are your really as much of a simpleton as your comments make you sound”?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  25. anjin-san says:

    Putin’s Russia, by contrast, actively opposes the Western agenda and the European project, which they see as threatening. They’ve already invaded Georgia and are a threat to others in their Near Abroad that dare get too uppity.

    So they promote their own agenda and they are willing to use force, sometimes without a particularly good cause. They sound kinda like us…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  26. sam says:

    @Dave Schuler:

    Russia might be a threat to Germany but, other than its stockpile of aging nuclear weapons, it’s not really a world power any more.

    To those of us who have a love of things navy, even an opponent’s navy, this has to be one to the saddest things to see.

    The United States is supreme on the seas. Nobody, nowhere, comes within light years of our ability to project power. If Russia is our number one enemy, what kind of crappy condition are the others in?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  27. An Interested Party says:

    I remember reading one Cold War Historian who argued that much of the actions that the Soviet Union took vis a vis it’s neighbors and territories could be better understood in the light of Russia’s historical concerns rather than Soviet expansionism.

    This is exactly right…once again, so many fail to look at current situations without looking at history or taking a warped view of history, like since the Soviet Union was our big, bad enemy, now Russia simply has to be as well…

    It’s interesting how so many of the people who tell us what a big, strong, powerful superpower we are become so threatened by so many other countries that don’t seem to compare too well in size and scope to ours…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  28. Rick Almeida says:

    I guess Al Qaeda ran out of #3 leaders to qualify as an existential threat anymore.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  29. Hey Norm says:

    Medvedev bitch-slaps Romney:
    Medvedev responds to Romney’s comment:

    “…Regarding ideological clichés, every time this or that side uses phrases like ‘enemy number one’, this always alarms me, this smells of Hollywood and certain times (of the past)…I would recommend all U.S. presidential candidates … to do two things. First, when phrasing their position one needs to use one’s head, one’s good reason, which would not do harm to a presidential candidate. Also, (one needs to) look at his watch: we are in 2012 and not the mid-1970s…”

    Again…I do not see how anyone can support this lightweight as Commander-In-Chief.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  30. Hey Norm says:

    Sorry…I didn’t notice the post was updated (above).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  31. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Hey Norm:

    Again…I do not see how anyone can support this lightweight as Commander-In-Chief.

    JJ?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  32. dennis says:

    @James Joyner:

    “I largely agree with Dave Schuler‘s analysis above–which makes me think Romney is right insofar as it goes. That is to say, the United States really doesn’t have a real nation-state “foe” in the Cold War sense but Russia is as close as it gets. Which isn’t very close at all, really, but still technically places them at #1.”

    James, I am flabbergasted at the hoops you jumped through to make this statement. I used to respect Mitt Romney & wanted him to win in 2008; however, he’s turned himself into a jackass being on two sides of virtually every issue and making asinine statements such as this. And you’re breaking your back trying to justify and see Romney as being “right insofar as it goes.”

    It’s not going very far, and neither is Mitt Romney.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  33. merl says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Willard is a snollygoster. he will say or do whatever it takes. including sucking up to people he holds in contempt.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  34. anjin-san says:

    When is Mitt going to go back to his clarion call to resurrect the Great White Fleet?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  35. Brummagem Joe says:

    Of course it is worth noting that Medvedev won’t be President much longer, and his successor is a different animal entirely.

    Yeah Doug, after all Medvedev has always operated completely independantly of Putin hasn’t he? What a pity you don’t have one of those eye rolling icons available here. We’ll just have to imagine it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  36. Hey Norm says:

    Panderer-In-Chief v. Commander-In-Chief
    Romney:

    You know, I don’t think he can recover from it, to tell you the truth. I mean, I think he will try and spin something. But I don’t know how you spin from an open mic, where you’re talking about having more flexibility after the election, which means quite clearly that you don’t want the American people to hear what you’re really planning on doing, and that you’re going to be able to do more when you no longer are accountable to the American people. You know, the mainstream media may try and put this to bed, but we’re going to keep it alive and awake. And we’re going to keep hammering him with it all the way through November.

    Obama:

    First of all,are the mikes on?
    What I said yesterday, Ben, is something that I think everyone in this room understands. Arms control is extraodrinarily complex, very technical, and the only way it gets done is if you can consult and build a strong understnading, both between countries and within countries. And, when you think about the New Start treaty that Dmitri and I were able to hammer out and ultimately get ratified, that was a paintstaking two year process.
    I don’t think it’s any surprise that you can’t start that a few months before Presidential and Congressional elections in the United States, and at a time when they just completed elections in Russia, and they’re in the process of a presidential transition where a new president’s going to be coming in in a little less than two months.
    It was a very simple point, and one that I repeated when I spoke to you guys yesterday, which is, that we’re going to spend the next nine, 10 months trying to work through some of the technical aspects of how we get past what is a major point of friction, one of the primary points of friction between our two countries, which is this whole missile defense issue.
    It involves a lot of complicated issues. If we can get out technical teams to clear out the underbrush, hopefully in 2013, there’s a foundation to actually make some significant progress on this and a lot of other bilateral issues.
    I think every body understands — if they don’t, they haven’t been listening to my speehces — that I want to reduce nuclear stockpiles. And one of the barriers to doing that is building trust and cooperation around missile defense issues. And so this is not a matter of hiding the ball. I’m on record, I made a speech about it to a whole bunch of Korean university students yesterday. I want to see us over time gradually, systematically reduce reliance on nuclear weapons.
    As Dimitri said, the United States and Russia, because of our history and becuase we are nuclear superpowers, have a special obliglation. That doesn’t make it easy because both countries are commited to their sovereignty and their defense.
    The only way I get this stuff done is If I’m consulting with the Pentagon, with Congress, if I’ve got bipartisan support and frankly, the current environment is not conducive to those kinds of thoughtful consultations. I think the stories you guys have been writing over the last 24 hours is pretty good evidence of that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  37. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @merl:

    Willard is a snollygoster. he will say or do whatever it takes. including sucking up to people he holds in contempt.

    Which is everyone not as rich as him.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  38. Dave Schuler says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Unlike Canada, Russia has pretty much every problem-child nation in the world on their borders.

    I’m surprised you would scoff at Canada’s problems with the countries (country, actually) on its borders that way. I know some Canadians who would disagree with you 😉

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  39. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Hey Norm:

    The adult in the room versus the irresponsible child. Apparently JJ thinks the child is talking more sense.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  40. dennis says:

    Romney can’t get the sense of Russia’s concerns about not having the near-abroad buffer zone around it’s capital and other major cities. I’ve said for years that Russia has legitimate historical concerns and worries about a resurgent Germany. Paranoia? Maybe; but, it wasn’t the U.S. that suffered German boots on our soil in two world wars.

    The Central European missile defense system GWB proposed would have rendered Russia’s nuclear strike/counter-strike capability impotent (we won’t discuss here the hypocritical Russian stance, since it has operated a deployed ABM system in Europe for quite some time.) against a possible resurgent, belligerent Germany. So, yes, Russia, as does the U.S., has its own national interests in mind.

    AS AIP said above, these knuckleheads cannot see, or refuse to take into account historical motivations for present-day strategic geopolitical maneuvering.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  41. Davebo says:

    Look on the bright side folks. At least Russia actually has WMD’s. And for those looking for a new boogie man looking back, at Russia, offers a whole new justification.

    Face the facts people. Cowards will find a demon no matter how far they have to look. Failing in the past only makes them look harder.

    And as JJ has shown, we have no shortage of cowards.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  42. michael reynolds says:

    If by “enemy” we mean a country that generally opposes core US policy, despises us, sees us as hostile, has the power to do us serious harm, and has taken hostile action in the past, I’d propose Pakistan as enemy #1. I worry a lot more about Pakistan than about Russia.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  43. Hey Norm says:

    If we are talking about countries that act counter to US interests…I’d say Israel.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  44. Hey Norm says:

    As if to prove Romney is not the dumbest Clown in the Car…a low bar indeed:

    Calling the incident “very disturbing,” Santorum said in Wisconsin that it showed Obama “suggesting that he’s willing to sacrifice American security and willing to sacrifice the security of our allies,” according to Reuters. He added that the implication was “after the election I’ll be happy, I’ll be happy to throw our allies under the bus” and that Obama “whispers don’t worry we’re not gonna defend ourselves or our allies” in the face of Iran’s nuclear threat.

    Republicans should be embarrassed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  45. Peter says:

    What about Iran?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  46. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    And how does any of that make them our number one foe?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  47. Tlaloc says:

    An aside on China as our geopolitical rival: hooey. Or, more politely, only to the extent that we want it to be. China’s military is mostly good for controlling China. China’s ability to project power beyond its borders remains quite limited.

    I think you give them far too little credit. Are they currently a real threat to us? No. Are they actively working to get there? Yeah. Are they likely to be much more of a threat than the soviets ever were (as in the actual military threat not the insane exaggerations of russian paratroopers in Colorado)? Yeah. Unlike Russia China is not surrounded by unfriendly or barely controlled subjugated nations. They have the population and the natural resources to do what the soviets could only have dreamed of.

    And they aren’t fighting the last war. There’s evidence that they’re preparing for the next war to be fought as much in cyberspace as on the ground.

    As for the claim that they have no desire to be a world superpower I think that’s belied by the strategic alliances they’ve been forming with Iran, Venezuela, et cetera. Don;t get me wrong. I don’t think the Chinese are gunning for a military show down with us. But I think they have very real designs on being a superpower in the world and getting to throw their weight around the way we do.

    Hell maybe they’ll have better success with it, but I doubt it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  48. CB says:

    @Brummagem Joe:

    with regards to the tsar’s ‘hibernation since ’91’ comment, i think the chechens would have something to say about that too

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  49. Brummagem Joe says:

    @CB:

    with regards to the tsar’s ‘hibernation since ’91′ comment, i think the chechens would have something to say about that too

    Chechnya is part of Russia. One may disapprove of the way in which the Russian government suppressed the insurgency there but they were dealing with a domestic revolt not invading or threatening another country.

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  50. […] We had a spirited discussion here yesterday over Mitt Romney’s declaration that Russia is Our “Number One Foe”. […]

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  51. al-Ameda says:

    For god’s sake, it’s like Chinatown with respect to identifying our “Number One Foe” – “Russia” {{slap}} China {{slap}} Russia {slap}} …. repeat

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