I wish profoundly ignorant people did not write about foreign relations. The following statement almost made me fall off my chair:
Broadly speaking, U.S. policy in Europe aims for a Europe that is “united, whole, and free.” On the whole, Russia cannot do much about that and doesn’t try, and it isn’t interested in rolling back the eastward expansion of the European Union.
Erm, what? Do the words “Ukraine” and “the Orange Revolution” mean anything to this blethering fool? When the Russian Secret Services aggressively interfered in the Ukrainian elections and poisoned the pro-European candidate, that didn’t count? The people of my country protested in the streets for months to defend their right to elect their own president and not have a pro-Russian, anti-European puppet appointed by Moscow.
It is especially annoying to see how this uneducated author easily dismisses the reality of foreign nations to prove some silly and insignificant point:
Russian ambitions, such as they are, include keeping NATO from additional eastward expansion, maintaining its influence in former Soviet space (which is related to blocking new NATO expansion), and using its energy resources to wield clout in Europe. Their ambitions are “directly counter our own” to the extent that the U.S. insists on expanding an obsolete Cold War-era military alliance and building ballistic missile defense systems in Europe.
“Maintaining its influence in former Soviet space” in reality means invading, interfering, destroying any possibility of a democracy. And having something to say about this egregious conduct is “obsolete.”
I believe that Romney blundered when he declared that “Russia is our #1 geopolitical foe.” The blunder, however, consisted in when and how this statement was made, not in the message it contained. This position is, at any rate, more realistic and bodes greater hope for the FSU countries than Obama’s coy “wink, wink, giggle, giggle, just wait until I get elected and then we’ll be best buddies.”
Just remember for a moment that there are over a dozen nations that are located close to Russia and that have a very long history of being violated, invaded, tortured and persecuted because of the imperial ambitions of the Russians. The people of those nations are looking avidly for any sign whatsoever that if they get invaded by their huge neighbor, somebody will object. In 2008, when the international community said absolutely nothing as the Russian troops razed Georgia, these people got their answer.
Romney’s position gives all these people hope, while Obama’s stance is a little terrifying to them. Romney is not going to win these elections, and I really don’t want him to. It would be great, however, if this country’s foreign policy stopped being oriented towards the immediate needs of the election cycle and started to develop at least a little bit of a long-term perspective.