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The Pink Flamingo is not a foreign policy wonk.  It’s not my thing.  I do know enough to know that Mitt Romney really blew it on Monday.  Then again, so did Barack Obama.  Doing a little bit of research, on what Obama said, well, the Russians are trying to take advantage of a decimated NATO, to bring some missiles back into Poland.  They are also trying to take financial advantage of the mess Europe is in, currently.  They’re trying to take financial advantage of us.  They’ve been trying to manipulate the dollar out as world currency – but they’ve been trying to do that for ages.

Russia is a paper tiger, desperate to regain her lost status as a world super-power.  There are some who have their panties in a wad because Putin will become President of Russia in May. What the heck, he’s been running the country, anyway.  He’s not going to do anything crazy.  There are those who are concerned about the movement of Russian troops to combat terrorism, but then they have an ever MORE serious with Islamic than we do.

Then there is Azerbaijan, us and Israel.

Mitt Romney is delusional when it comes to foreign policy.  One day he thinks Iran is our worst, problem, the next it is Russia.

“…“This is without question our number one geopolitical foe, they fight for every cause for the world’s worst actors. The idea that he has more flexibility in mind for Russia is very, very troubling indeed,” Romney said.

Wolf Blitzer asked if he thought Russia was a bigger foe than Iran, China or North Korea.

“I’m saying in terms of a geopolitical opponent, the nation which lines up with the world’s worst actors,” said Romney. “Of course the greatest threat that the world faces is a nuclear Iran and a 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 Bashir al-] Assad for instance is murdering his own people we go to the United Nations and who is it that always stands up with the world’s worst actors, it’s always Russia, typically with China alongside,” he continued. “And so in terms of a geopolitical foe, a nation that’s on the Security Council … and is of course is a massive nuclear power, Russia is the geopolitical foe.”..”

TPM

“…If you gut-check Americans on what our biggest foreign-policy problem is, the answers you’re most likely to get, I’ll bet, are Iran, Pakistan/Al Qaeda, and China. Russia is, as Romney says, frequently a stumbling block to America’s agenda abroad — look no further than Syria — but I think most of the public sees it as a fading power whose primacy of place in U.S. threat assessments was lost after the Cold War. Seems odd for the presumptive GOP nominee to suddenly name them public enemy number one….”

Romney appears to be a bit out of touch with what is going on in Russia. If he were up on things, he would realize that where Russia is concerned, they are making a bid to out OPEC, OPEC.  They’re big into energy.

“…Gazprom’s proposal is part of Russia’s larger strategy — in both Turkey and Europe — to increase Moscow’s energy leverage with its customers. Although Ankara will be wary of giving Moscow more influence in Turkey, there is little it can do at the moment to withstand the Kremlin’s strategy. …Russia is working on a complex strategy to strengthen its position relative to its Western energy customers, particularly in Europe. The first element of the strategy is to move Russia away from its primary role of natural gas supplier and increase its ownership of other natural gas-related assets. The second element is to lock many of Moscow’s customers into 10-to-15-year contracts, which Russia has made more appealing by offering natural gas at a discount.

Russia is in negotiations to purchase electricity networks in Germany, natural gas distribution networks in Greece, and electricity and distribution networks in Italy. Moscow has also shown interest in the natural gas distribution networks in the Czech Republic. Russia has struck tentative deals with Germany, Italy and others on 10-year contracts with natural gas price discounts of between 10 and 30 percent. Amid Europe’s financial difficulties, the discounts are welcomed. Russia knows that many long-term energy diversity programs are under way in Europe and so is trying to prepare for when those become operational by striking long-term deals….”

Romney’s position on Russia also puts him in direct conflict with Angela Merkel.

Stratfor

Ynet News

I found a fascinating commentary from the Iran Policy Review:

“…- The first factor is deployment of NATO’s missile defense shield closer to the Russian borders. This issue is of special importance to Russia because it has damaged the country’s international standing as a nuclear power and has, in fact, cast doubts on Russia’s “threat capacity.”

- The second factor is role of Turkey in recent developments in the Middle East. At present, the triangle of Turkey – Saudi Arabia – US, is trying to restrict Russia’s allies. This will not only undermine Russia’s regional standing, on the one hand, but will also lead to emergence of a powerful Turkey as a new threat to the restoration of Russia’s position as a great power, on the other hand.

The third factor is the role played by the United Nations Security Council. Russia has been constantly concerned about its power in the Security Council as the rightful heir to the former Soviet Union. In fact, Moscow eyes the Security Council as a means of achieving its goals and to guarantee that it will continue to play its global part as a superpower. In the meantime, the United States’ efforts to circumvent the

Security Council’s mechanism and take unilateral measures constitute a source of threat to Russia.

Under these conditions, revising Russia’s foreign policy approaches seems to be inevitable. The most important point, however, which should be taken into account here is foreign policy requirements of Russia in various fields. Undoubtedly, one of those requirements is to have powerful allies both in the region and at global level.

It seems that China is the one country which is more in line with Russia’s foreign policy approaches and priorities than other countries while being a great power as well. Although Russia is seriously concerned about China’s influence in its eastern regions, it seems that, at least, in short term and from a tactical viewpoint, the two countries will adopt more or less converging approaches.

From a regional viewpoint and in view of the existing conditions, Iran can be a gravitational point in the foreign policy of Russia. From this angle, if developments in Syria take a negative turn to the detriment of Russia, Iran will be the last line of resistance against the West’s step-by-step progress in the region. Undoubtedly, due to friendly relations between Iran and Russia, it is imperative for Russia to have a powerful Iran in its neighborhood which will be the strongest counterweight to restrain the regional clout of Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

Finally, let’s not forget that there are no permanent friends and no permanent enemies in international relations and national interests are the main yardstick for determining foreign policy of various states. In view of the above facts, reelection of Putin will lead to closeness of Iran’s national interests with Russia, at least, from a tactical viewpoint. There is no doubt that it would take the diplomatic finesse of Iranian statesmen to take advantage of this opportunity to the best benefit of the country’s national interests.

The problem though, is that the Iranians don’t look at the world the same way the rest of us do.

Business Insider

 ”…Moscow has been watching the crisis in Europe intently, partly for internal reasons. The Kremlin has been worried about any ripple effect the monumental crisis next door could have on Russia. Moscow already is revising its growth forecasts this year, taking into account an expected slowdown caused by shifts in Europe. High oil prices have allowed Russia to keep large amounts of cash flowing into its coffers, which will ameliorate an economic blow caused by Europe.

The Kremlin also is revising its modernisation and privatisation plans, which require tens of billions of dollars of investment from the Europeans in the next few years – much of which likely will be slashed. Moscow is also concerned that the Russian public’s perception of the European crisis will create a lack of confidence in Russia; Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has assured his constituents that his return to the presidency in 2012 is intended to help lead a stronger Russia.

Although the Kremlin has been watching for effects from the European crisis to move through Russia, the crisis also has given Moscow an opportunity to take advantage of a weak and chaotic Europe….”

KAVAZCenter

“...The Kremlin intends to have the EuU fully formed by 2015, when Russia believes the United States will return its focus to Eurasia. Washington is wrapping up its commitments to Iraq this year and intends to end combat operations and greatly reduce forces in Afghanistan, so by 2015, the United States will have military and diplomatic attention to spare. This is also the same time period in which the U.S. ballistic missile defense installations in Central Europe will break ground. To Russia, this amounts to a U.S. and pro-U.S. front in Central Europe forming on the former Soviet (and future EuU) borders. It is the creation of a new version of the Russian empire, combined with the U.S. consolidation of influence on that empire’s periphery, that most likely will spark new hostilities between Moscow and Washington.

This could set the stage for a new version of the Cold War, though it would not be as long-lived as the previous one. Putin’s other reason for re-establishing some kind of Russian empire is that he knows the next crisis to affect Russia most likely will keep the country from ever resurging again: Russia is dying. The country’s demographics are among some of the world’s worst, having declined steadily since World War I. Its birth rates are well below death rates, and it already has more citizens in their 50s than in their teens. Russia could be a major power without a solid economy, but no country can be a global power without people. This is why Putin is attempting to strengthen and secure Russia now, before demographics weaken it. However, even taking its demographics into account, Russia will be able to sustain its current growth in power for at least another generation. This means that the next few years likely are Russia’s last great moment-one that will be marked by the country’s return as a regional empire and a new confrontation with its previous adversary, the United States….”

Mitt Romney’s position on Russia puts him in direct conflict with the most powerful elected democratic leader in Europe, Angela Merkel.  It also puts him into conflict with the EU’s position on Russia, and Russia’s growing energy industry.    Barack Obama is an incompetent panderer, like a little puppy wetting itself for attention and a pat on the head.

Not so with Mitt Romney.  This is a man who has accomplished much.  Unfortunately, his accomplishments have come with the assistance of the political influence of his church – as with the Salt Lake City Olympics.  The only reason he was successful there was because the American taxpayer spent hundreds of millions to bail out the games, and the mess they had become, before Mitt took over.

His business accomplishments, while great, were achieved through hostile take-overs and threats.  You don’t “take-over” countries like Russia.  You negotiate.  You do not threaten them, you act with a cool head.  You don’t act with arrogance, but as a statesman. Romney does not have the temperament to deal with these countries.

You can’t be a world leader and be arrogant, despotic, and vindictive.  Then again, Mittens is only at home, and comfortable with the rich and powerful, looking down at the rest of the little people like you and I, over his perfect nose.  He might do well, he’s rude, arrogant, and despotic.  He should fit right in, but then again, he’s perfect.  They aren’t.

What this shows is a candidate woefully out of touch, making something of nothing.  Russia is disparately trying to survive.  In a land where the only positive thing going for it is energy and the magnificent voice of Dmitri Hvorostovsky, and he’s now living in the UK!  For Mitt Romney to go out of his way to make them the big geopolitical enemy is short-sighted, ill-advised, and just plain scary.

This is not the same country it was when Mitten’s dad was running for POTUS.  He’d best brush up on his current events, just a little.  The real enemy, to bout the US and Russia is the rise of extreme Islam.  They have some very real problems with entire sectors of the country being taken over by hard-line extremists, and I’m not talkin’ commies.

 

 

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