Sunday, July 29, 2012

Romney's tough talk makes Europeans nervous

National Journal

Romney’s Rude Awakening

By James Kitfield
Romney’s rhetorical hard line that Russia is the United States' “number one geopolitical foe” will likely play well in Poland, where he will almost surely receive a rousing reception. It will be viewed less enthusiastically by Western European powers, however, who objected to what they perceived as George W. Bush’s unnecessarily antagonistic approach to Moscow (which culminated with Russian troops invading Georgia in 2008). Western European allies are also sensitive to Romney’s oft-repeated argument that Europe is exactly the kind of basket case that the United States will become if he is not elected.

“If I were not to get elected, we would in my view become more like Europe,” Romney told C-SPAN recently. “With higher deficits, with a debt that could put us in a Greece- or Spain- or Italy-like circumstance, with chronic high unemployment, with low wage growth, and with a military that gets slowly but surely hollowed out so it could pay for the various programs the government would try and keep in place.”

Romney’s close affinity for Israel’s right-of-center Likud Party; his tough line on Russia and Afghanistan; and his unwillingness to propose solutions to climate change all sound familiar to many Europeans. “Notwithstanding their widespread disappointment in President Obama, Europeans are nervous about Romney precisely because his positions remind them of George W. Bush,” said Simon Serfaty, a senior fellow at the German Marshall Fund.

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