This BuzzFeed story is getting a lot of attention:
Ten months after Mitt Romney shuffled off the national stage in defeat -- consigned, many predicted, to a fate of instant irrelevance and permanent obscurity -- Republicans are suddenly celebrating the presidential also-ran as a political prophet....Particularly for this:
In the most actively cited example of the Republican nominee's foresight, Romneyites point to the candidate's hardline rhetoric last year against Russian President Vladimir Putin and his administration. During the campaign, Romney frequently criticized Obama for foolishly attempting to make common cause with the Kremlin, and repeatedly referred to Russia as "our number one geopolitical foe."But when Mitt Romney made that "geopolitical foe" comment in a March 2102 interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer, the specific bee in his bonnet about was Obama's effort to reduce the chance of nuclear war with Russia:
Many observers found this fixation strange, and Democrats tried to turn it into a punchline. A New York Times editorial in March of last year said Romney's assertions regarding Russia represented either "a shocking lack of knowledge about international affairs or just craven politics." And in an October debate, Obama sarcastically mocked his opponent's Russia rhetoric. "The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because the Cold War's been over for 20 years," the president quipped at the time.
That line still chafes Robert O'Brien, a Los Angeles lawyer and friend of Romney’s who served as a foreign policy adviser.
"Everyone thought, Oh my goodness that is so clever and Mitt's caught in the Cold War and doesn't know what he's talking about," O’Brien said. "Well guess what. With all of these foreign policy initiatives -- Syria, Iran, [Edward] Snowden -- who's out there causing problems for America? It's Putin and the Russians."
BLITZER: All right, in case you didn't hear it: "This is my last election. And after my election, I have more flexibility." That is a factual statement that the president is making [to then-Russian president Dmitri Medvedev]. If he doesn't have to worry getting reelected, he doesn't have to worry so much about domestic politics.So what upset Romney was that America was reducing the amount of its nuclear arsenal that's targeted at Russia.
Is there anything wrong in -- when in comes to national security issues, to be saying something like that to the Russian leader?
ROMNEY: Yes, there's something terribly wrong with that.
It is alarming. It is troubling. The agreement that the president put in place with regards to nuclear weapons is one which I find very, very troubling already. The decision to withdraw our missile defense sites from Poland put us in greater jeopardy, in my view....
I am -- I'm very, very concerned. I think the American people are going to feel the same way. This is a president who is telling us one thing and doing something else and is planning on doing something even more frightening.
BLITZER: Well, when you say even more frightening, what's he planning on doing, in your opinion?
ROMNEY: Well, my guess is it has to do either with -- with nuclear arms discussions or it has to do with missile defense sites. What he did both on nuclear weaponry already in the -- in the new START treaty, as well as his decision to withdraw missile defense sites from -- from Poland and then reduce our missile defense sites in Alaska from the original plan, I mean these are very unfortunate developments. And if he's planning on doing more and suggests to Russia that -- that he has things he's willing to do with them, he's not willing to tell the American people -- this is to Russia, this is, without question, our number one geopolitical foe. ...
We still have a rather large nuclear deterrent. Do Romney and his fan club believe that if we had a bigger, more provocative one now, it would be a good thing to use it now, or threaten to use it, so we could have a 21st-century Cuban missile crisis over Syria? Or over Snowden?
And if not, how does whining about a (very) partial nuclear disarmament make him a prophet?
To quote the New York Times op-ed cited in the BuzzFeed story:
Two years ago, President Obama signed a treaty with Russia that makes modest cuts in each side's nuclear weapons, and he has promised to pursue more reductions. Although Mr. Romney opposed the treaty, 13 Republican senators joined all the Democrats to ratify it. Every president since Ronald Reagan has reduced the nuclear arsenal significantly. We simply don't need -- and cannot afford -- the thousands of weapons still on hand.Oh, but the right-wing fantasy is always that refusing to make any compromises with commies is the best approach. (Um, except when Reagan or the Bushes did the opposite, I guess.)
Saying he will have flexibility on missile defense doesn't mean Mr. Obama will "cave." Two years ago, he made a sound strategic decision, scrapping former President George W. Bush's dubious plan to build a long-range missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic. The Pentagon is deploying a less-ambitious -- but-more-feasible -- system of interceptors and sensors, first on ships and later on land. Russia objects to a system in Europe, saying it will put their long-range missiles at risk. That is not America's intent -- the real target is Iran -- and Mr. Obama is right to work to find a compromise.
The Obama administration may have made a lot of mistakes with regard to Russia, but Romney was characterizing a recalibration of our nuclear arsenal as supine appeasement. No, that's not prophetic.