OH. MY. GOD. Mitt Romney can see the future. HE’S A WITCH!!!!
In the 2012 Presidential Election this happened. Republican Presidential Nominee Mitt Romney had decided to double-down and tell a television audience that Russia was one of the greatest “geopolitical threats” to the US. As you can expect both the Democratic Party and liberal pundits had a field day with it. And while this isn’t the smoking gun that killed the Romney campaign, it definitely was useful fodder for Romney opponents.
Fast forward to 2014. The country of Ukraine is in utter chaos as separatist groups tear it apart. If you are to believe basically any news source out there, the Russian government is providing money and weapons to the rebels. Now the US and many of its European allies scramble to put together sanctions against Russia in hopes of deterring them from getting involved even further.
Now if you’ve been listening to conservative pundits, they have been singing the praises of Romney’s clairvoyant views on Russia for several weeks now. Romney has even been spotted on a couple of Sunday programs, making a victory lap of sorts, touting that if he had been elected, the crisis in Ukraine would never have happened. So the question has to be asked.
Did Mitt Romney really see this coming?
Well yes and no.
While campaign speeches try to be vague as possible – that goes double for presidential campaigns – it’s important to remember that they do give a general idea of what their policies would be. In Romney’s case when he claimed that Russia was “[America’s] greatest geopolitical foe” explaining further that “Russia does continue to battle us in the U.N. time and time again”, he was talking less about Russia: The Country that Attacks Neighboring Sovereign States and more about Russia: The Country that Uses Its Clout to be America’s Foil in the United Nations. Let me explain.
For years after the Cold War, Russia has been the preverbal stick to America’s side when it comes to conducting international policy. Russia has always been weary of former neighboring satellite states like Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine not to become closer to the West. In the past to make sure that the Western powers wouldn’t have too much influence over these countries, Russia would use trade and energy to have a stronghold on these countries.
For example, late last year when the four countries above created an accord with the European Union offering the regions substantial trade opportunities and investment benefits for political reforms, Russia wasn’t too pleased. In retaliation Russia had severely delayed vital trade to these areas creating massive shortages throughout these regions.
Russia had been doing this for years. Everyone knew this. Not just Romney. But to be fair, Romney did shine a light on a vital foreign policy issue, even though many did take shots at him for it. So kudos has to be given.
But still, did Romney actually predict Russia would start supporting separatist groups in countries like Ukraine?
After hearing an ungodly number of stump speeches Romney recited during the 2012 Presidential Election, it’s clear that he talks about Russia being a foe that would use its energy and trade stronghold on Eastern European countries to curve foreign policy going against US economic interests. Not that Russia would provide cash and weapons to separatist groups in Ukraine. Big difference.
Though there is a conservative contingency out there taking Romney’s past interviews and saying that they saw Russia/Ukraine situation coming. As in “if we had a conservative in charge, the Ukrainian situation would never happen because we knew they [Russia] were dangerous from the start.” It’s insincere and belittles Romney’s very legitimate point about Russia being an economic bully within the region. The fact that Europe and America have put stiff economic sanctions on the table as well as the international outrage over the MH17 plane being shot down has not deterred Russia makes many to think that this was inevitable. In layman’s terms, RUSSIA DON’T CARE!
Then again there was one individual that hit it right on the nose. And that was Sarah Palin. Though considering she has hinted in the past that Russia would invade Alaska and her talk of “Death Panels”, I would hold off hitching your wagon onto her just yet. You know, until those two scenarios play out first. Better to be safe than sorry.