Letter to the Editor: Romney’s views on Russia should not have been dismissed


courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Former presidential candidate Mitt Romney recently criticized Russia’s excess spending on the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.

Most Americans are now well-informed of the developing situation in Eastern Europe. The Russian government, under the directive of Vladimir Putin, wants to annex Crimea, the Ukrainian peninsula on the Black Sea. The only way to accomplish this is to acquire it forcefully from Ukraine, an industrial and agricultural center for the region. For Russia, the timing could not be more perfect. The Ukrainian people have just ousted their Russian-sympathizing leader Viktor Yanukovych, and the people of Ukraine want to form a democracy.

This situation is troubling for not only Eastern Europe but for democracy everywhere. Russia is violating Ukraine’s rights as a sovereign and independent nation. Sadly, this isn’t the first time it has done so. An editorial from the March 4 paper by Professor Steffen Schmidt outlined this, as the Russians have done so with both Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968, as well as Georgia in 2008. In these three cases, democracy was crushed with force by Russia. The western world stood by idly, and this is the case again in 2014.

So democracy being suppressed in Eastern Europe should not come as a surprise. Yet, this seems to have confronted America with that exact emotion. Who could have warned the western world that Russia tries to quell democracy and oppose America’s efforts at every turn? Didn’t anyone realize this years ago? Well, it just so happened someone did. And that person happened to be a candidate for president of the United States.

In early 2012, as a response to President Barack Obama’s comments about having more flexibility to deal with Russia if he was re-elected, Mitt Romney appeared on CNN to comment on the president’s statement. He said: “Russia … is, without question, our number one geopolitical foe. They fight every cause for the world’s worst actors … 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 Assad, for instance, is murdering his own people, we go to the United Nations, and who is it that always stands up for the world’s worst actors? It is always Russia, typically with China alongside.” Romney realized Russia for what it truly is: an opponent of democracy and a defender of the world’s worst government leaders. His words ring out especially true when you consider not only the Russian/Ukraine conflict but also its opposition of our involvement in Syria and Libya.

Perhaps the worst part of Romney “telling us so” two years ago was how his statement was received by liberals and their mainstream media. He was blasted on talk shows and news programs across the country. “I don’t know what decade this guy is living. It sounds like ’72, ’52 even. It’s not Stalin over there, it’s not Khrushchev,” said a rather agitated MSNBC anchor Chris Matthews. Secretary of State John Kerry said: “Romney talks like he’s only seen Russia by watching ‘Rocky IV,’” in a speech at the Democratic National Convention. Lastly, here is Rachel Maddow: “The former governor just doesn’t have any real policy chops in this area. He’s out of his depth and struggles when the subject takes center stage. It’s not just that Romney is uninformed; it’s that he hasn’t figured out how to fake it.”

How Obama and Americans were lulled to sleep in the belief that Russia is our “friend” and that it is no longer a global enemy, I may never understand. From the oppression of the Soviet Union and communism, its opposition to democracy, and support of dictators around the world, Russia has and will always remain our number one geopolitical enemy, as Mitt Romney suggested two years ago. While I wasn’t alive during the Cold War, and I haven’t seen ‘Rocky IV,’ I know when democracy and freedom are being suppressed, and so did Mitt Romney. Will Obama and the rest of the western world ever see it?