Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Geopolitical IFF

So who wants to call Russia our friend?

[sound of crickets]

Governor Romney was again hammered by President Obama in the last debate for calling Russia our greatest geopolitical foe:

Mr. Romney first called Russia "our No. 1 geopolitical foe" during the Republican primaries in March, soon after an open mic caught President Barack Obama asking Russia's then-President Dmitry Medvedev to dial back their objections to US missile defense plans until after the November elections, when "I'll have more flexibility."

Although ostensibly a political attack against Mr. Obama, Romney's words caused puzzled concern in Moscow, the Monitor's Fred Weir reported.

A poll carried out by the independent, Moscow-based Levada Center earlier this month found that 42 percent of Russians think relations with the US are either "friendly," "good neighborly," or "normal and peaceful," while 47 percent think they are "cool" or "tense," and just 4 percent said they are "hostile."

I'm glad many Russians think of us in better terms, but I'm sad to say that most of the 4 percent who say relations are hostile seem to have jobs in the Russian government.

Remember, I keep hearing about how many Iranians really like us. How's that making dealing with the Iranian government's nuclear and terror threats any easier?

I know that President Obama has a lot invested in defending his reset with Russia (and Lord knows Putin is looking forward to post-election flexibility if President Obama wins), but there is a strong case to argue that the single state trying to thwart us more than anyone else is Russia.

Al Qaeda and jihadis are our practical day-to-day threat, of course. But that's a different threat altogether.

And China may be a growing threat but they are not in the same league as Russia under Putin in trying to stick a shiv in our back wherever they can by causing friction and supporting our foes.

I do not call Russia our friend. But that's been Putin's choice and not our choice.