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Foreign Policy: Yes, Russia Is Our Top Geopolitical Foe

Author: John Arquilla
September 17, 2012


GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney has asserted that Russia is America's "No. 1 geopolitical foe;" a claim that has been heavily criticized, but may still be true.

The boldest gambit of the presidential contest thus far has to be Mitt Romney's assertion that Russia is America's "No. 1 geopolitical foe." The GOP candidate first blurted this out months ago, and he has been pilloried by the Dems for Cold War-era "old think" ever since. Some believe this view may even undermine the traditional perception voters have of Republicans being more adept than Democrats at national security affairs.

For all the flak he's taken, Romney reaffirmed his views about Russia last week. He no longer assigns Moscow a number -- much less No. 1 -- but Mitt has made it clear that, in his view, "everything we try to do globally they try and oppose." In particular, he cites the Russians' obstructive behavior when it comes to alleviating the conflict in Syria and the proliferation crisis with Iran.

Longstanding Russian support in the war on terror and the key role Moscow plays in the Northern Distribution Network that sustains the allied intervention in Afghanistan seem to have slipped his mind.

But no matter. Romney is still right about Russia. So far just in his instincts, as it seems he has not yet fully crystallized his thinking. As to the kind of thinking called for, he has made this clear: We must assess the world from a geopolitical perspective. This is most refreshing, given the utter lack of interest today among American institutions of higher learning in the intersection of geography and foreign policy.

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