What Romney Knew
Politics and Activism

What Romney Knew

Russia's return as one of America's premier opponents, combined with Trump's calls for closer ties, mean an uncertain future.

What Romney Knew

In 2012, when discussing who was America’s greatest geopolitical foe, Mitt Romney, who was then the presidential candidate for the Republican Party, said he believed it to be Russia. Barack Obama, the incumbent who would eventually go on to win the election and secure a second term as Commander-in-Chief, told Romney that the 1980s were “calling for their foreign policy back." Just over four years ago, this response was a serious blow to Romney, an assertion that his foreign policy views were outdated and failed to reflect the threats America faced (Obama believed the correct answer was al-Qaeda). But now, it seems as if the President’s dismissive response was the true error.

Russia has reasserted itself in the geopolitical realm. Under the stewardship of Vladimir Putin, Russia has seized the peninsula of Crimea and taken it from Ukraine, intervened in the Syrian civil war with devastating consequences for civilians in cities like Aleppo, and recently, according to America’s intelligence organizations, Russian agents unleashed a cyber attack against the Democratic National Committee in order to sway the 2016 presidential election in favor of Donald Trump.

The ascendance of Russia has long been a subject of discussion. It makes up the R in the term BRIC countries (the others being Brazil, India, and China), countries who’s rapid development has challenged the United States’ designation as leader of a unipolar international system created following the end of the Cold War. While Brazil, India, and China enjoy this distinction because of rapid economic development, Russia seems to have retained its status based on aggressive foreign policy.

As the millennium was beginning, Russia did experience favorable economic trends. It’s GDP growth rate jumped from -9.1% at the end of 1998 to 12.1% by the beginning of 2000. It seemed as if the downturn in the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union had been resolved. But recently, Russia’s economy has experienced sharp decline. Russia fell into recession in 2015, and has been in recession ever since. Since the Ukrainian crisis, which sparked American and European sanctions, Russia’s national reserves have been reduced from around $80 billion to $30 billion. The decline of Russia’s currency and its struggle to gain federal revenues led President Obama to declare in his 2015 State of the Union address that Russia’s economy was “in tatters.” He also stated that Russia’s actions had made it an international pariah.

But while Russians are feeling the sting of economic decline, with nearly 3 in 4 acknowledging that there are problems with their country’s economy, Vladimir Putin remains an extremely popular leader. A recent poll showed his approval rating to be 82%, and it has not dipped below 60% since he rose to political prominence in 1999. The message is clear; Putin’s ability to assert Russia’s foreign interests and to antagonize the United States have allowed him to enjoy immense support despite Russia’s economic turmoil.

Those who believe Barack Obama was at first dismissive and later weak when confronting Putin must be quivering as Donald Trump prepares for his inauguration on January 20th. The president-elect of the United States at times appears to be a stooge of the Russian government, adamantly expressing doubt about its involvement in the hacking of his political opponents (although he has recently accepted Russia’s role as the perpetrator of cyber attacks against the DNC) and praising the intelligence of its increasingly undemocratic authoritarian leader.

Russia has proved a disrupting force to international norms. Its seizure of Crimea in 2014 violated principles against using force to seize foreign territory that have been part of the bedrock of international relations for decades. Its involvement in Syria has run in stark contrast to U.S. interests, although Putin argues that his goal is the same as that of America's—combatting terrorists. The horrific atrocities committed by Russian and Syrian forces led by Bashir al-Assad in Aleppo created a humanitarian disaster. These heinous acts were met by what many found to be deafening silence on the part of the Obama administration. While the President took pride in his decision to limit American intervention in the Syrian conflict, many believe this decision, and his failure to condemn or go against Russia, will be seen as a great failure of his presidency.

And then there is the hacking. A report from the CIA, FBI, and National Security Agency given to Obama on January 5th came to the conclusion that Vladimir Putin had indeed ordered agents to interfere with the American election in a way that helped Donald Trump. It appears as if Putin is borrowing from the Bolshevik example in leaking the correspondence of foreign officials, although John Podesta’s emails are likely far less historically significant than the secret treaties drawn up by European powers during World War I. However, the reaction of our president-elect to the news that a foreign country, and a historically adversarial one, has hacked into the emails of American political leaders and perhaps tampered with an election has been disturbingly underwhelming.

Trump’s calls for closer cooperation with Russia may stem from genuine foreign policy strategy and ideology. He has a penchant for supporting strongmen like Putin, and wants to reevaluate America’s alliances and international commitments. But the Republican Party, which long criticized Obama’s stance on Russia, is divided on how to address Donald Trump’s unprecedented support for its president, for further cooperation, and the surprising amount of time it took him to admit Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Some of its members, such as John McCain and Lindsey Graham, are open in their disagreement with Trump, and most Republicans remain tough on Russia. Others, however, have fallen in line with the GOP’s new leader.

Republicans have long talked tough on Russia, and time and time again went after Barack Obama for what they perceived to be utter weakness in the face of a developing geopolitical threat. And now the leader of their party is disregarding Russian cyber attacks and calling Vladimir Putin “very smart." The reliably unpredictable politics of 2016 seems to be continuing into the new year, and time will tell if Trump’s “America First” policies will somehow leave Putin’s Russia with room to grow its influence not just in Syria and Ukraine, but possibly inside own our country's domestic politics.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

119 People Reveal How The Pandemic Has Affected Their Love Lives, And Honestly... Relatable

"I haven't been able to get out of the 'talking phase' with anyone."

The reality is, there's no part of life the pandemic hasn't affected. Whether it's your work life, your home life, your social life, or your love life, coronavirus (COVID-19) is wreaking havoc on just about everything — not to mention people's health.

When it comes to romance, in particular, people are all handling things differently and there's no "right way" of making it through, regardless of your relationship status (single, taken, married, divorced, you name it). So, some of Swoon's creators sought out to hear from various individuals on how exactly their love lives have been affected since quarantine began.

Keep Reading... Show less

The Caribbean is a place where people go for vacation, but if you set out from a cruise ship you miss out on all the beautiful culture. Their exotic beaches are nothing without their zinging food and hospitality. Locals in the Caribbean are warmhearted with a zest to live life to the fullest.

This is exactly where most of their words and phrases come from, having a good time. I definitely enjoyed myself living in the Caribbean, but it's not always about lounging. They get work done too and I've learned proper phrases for accomplishments.

Keep Reading... Show less

According to Urban Dictionary, a "simp" is defined as "a man that puts himself in a subservient/submissive position under women in the hopes of winning them over, without the female bringing anything to the table." There are many other definitions for a "simp," but basically it's shaming men who are kind to women without getting anything in return.

Let's just stop attacking nice men. Work out your own issues, don't project your shortcomings onto another man. What happened to the brotherhood? Y'all can lie for each other, but can't raise each other up? You guys can encourage murder, gang rape, and violence against women — or at least stay silent about it — but can't let your brother know it ain't cool when they bring you down for being nice to women with no expectation?

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Self-Love Is The Best Love, That's Just How It Is

Do you ever feel like you can't please everyone? Self-love will do the trick.

I've been feeling a little down lately, with the understanding that friends don't last forever and that I can't always please my parents. Life has been rough for everyone lately and it's not easy to stay happy and optimistic during these times. But I promise you, you are on this earth for a reason. You are here because God formed you, to love, and to be loved.

When things are tough, realize that you have yourself always. No one can take that away from you. You will always be you. No matter who you are, what you believe, or where you've been in life, at the end of the day, you are you. You can love you, therefore giving you one reason to stay here on this Earth.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Nobody Wants To Grieve, But That's The Price We Pay For Love

Grief never comes when you think it should. It comes when a certain song comes on or the sun shines through the window just right.

Death always seems to come when life is good and everything starts to be going alright. And then out of nowhere, you're reminded of how cruel life can be. The stages of grief don't always go in order, they come in waves or all at once. Grief never comes when you think it should. It comes when a certain song comes on or the sun shines through the window just right. I take comfort in the fact that everyone experiences grief, even when you feel all alone knowing that everyone goes through a process that helps a little bit.

Keep Reading... Show less

What's Coming To And Leaving Netflix In August For Your Summer Viewing Pleasure

Just in time for another your end of summer binge-watch list.

Flower Films, Warner Bros, New Line Cinema

August is here, which means we will be losing some of our Netflix favorites but gaining some new ones. Here is a list of TV shows and movies we will be losing and gaining on Netflix during August.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Living With Bipolar Disorder Is An Everyday Battle, But I'm Fighting It

I went from depression, to anxiety, to bipolar disorder.

I've thought about how to write this since my diagnosis. I've thought about what kind of feelings it might bring up from my mom, former friends, and even myself. I've rewritten it a thousand times in my head, but never could quite get the words onto my notepad, but tonight I'm going to sit down and write it.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

There's No Reason To Delay The 2020 Election Because Mail-In Votes Count Just The Same

Plus, Trump can't actually the delay the election even if he tried.

Donald Trump started Thursday out in a fury, taking to Twitter to suggest the 2020 election be delayed.

Keep Reading... Show less

I'm A Black, Gay Fashion Lover Who Grew Up In The South, And I Want To Be A Beacon For The Future

Giving your life story is never easy, but it can be, if you want to make a difference.

Jacorey Moon

Growing up in Georgia was not always the accepting place we know it to be today thanks to Atlanta. Let me preface this by saying, I had a pretty good life growing up. I was raised by a single mother who sacrificed so that I could live the life that I lived. I was spoiled rotten. One way that my mother spoiled me was through clothing.

Keep Reading... Show less

These 10 Black Women Were Our 2000s Fashion Icons — We're Still Replicating Their Looks Now

We recollect on some of the Black stars who served as fashion icons during the 2000s.

When we talk about the 2000s, it's always filled with nostalgia. For most of us, we grew up during that era with the razr flip phones or sidekicks, and decade staple designers like Juicy Couture, Von Dutch, and Ed Hardy. It was time of daring fashion choices and red carpets that we now look back on and say, "what were they wearing?"

A sector of people that exemplifies the fashion icons who ruled the 2000s, were Black women. So, I feel as though it's my duty to shine light on these fashion icons. Here they are:

Keep Reading... Show less

As a college student (really as a broke person with no cable,) Netflix is my go-to for solitude- style entertainment. My favorite types of shows to watch on Netflix by far, are dating shows.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments