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Time magazine cover redeems Romney's 'Cold War' foreign policy

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Barack Obama,2012 Elections,Vladimir Putin,Mitt Romney,Ukraine,Malaysia Airlines Disaster,Blake Seitz

In 2012, President Obama ribbed Mitt Romney for having a “foreign policy of the 1980s.”

If Time magazine's new cover is any indication, Romney is having the last laugh for that line.

In the evocatively titled article “Cold War II,” journalist Simon Shuster describes the West's fecklessness as Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 and its 298 passengers lay smoldering in a Ukrainian field.

“The American President announced no deadlines, drew no red lines and made no threats," Shuster writes. "Even as U.S. intelligence sources asserted with growing confidence that Russian weapons and Russian allies were behind the missile attack, U.S. diplomats were met with roadblocks as they tried to rally Europe to stiffen sanctions against [Vladimir] Putin.”

The tragedy is thought to be the handiwork of pro-Russian separatists armed with Russian-made surface-to-air missile launchers.

Shuster argues that the U.S.'s inaction stems from our misunderstanding of the threat posed by Russia. “A generation of Westerners has grown up in the happy belief that the Cold War ended long ago and peace is Europe’s fated future,” Shuster argues. “They are slow to rally to the chore of once again containing Russia’s ambitions. So Putin presses ahead.”

To where? Only Putin knows for sure, but his long-term goal of a “Eurasian Economic Union” to compete with the European Union gives us a hint: He is working to restore Russian confidence and prestige, and part of that is getting the band back together with autocrats in the former Soviet bloc.

Candidate Romney warned of this, going so far as to call Russia the U.S.'s “number one geopolitical foe,” a nation that “always stands up for the world's worst actors.”

Obama took aim at Romney's position during a September debate. “The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back,” Obama said. “Because the Cold War has been over for 20 years.”

Obama, for his part, presided over a “reset” policy with Russia during his first term. As Shuster details, the administration has struggled to adapt to Russia's recent aggression in Crimea and eastern Ukraine.

Shuster’s article is a rebuke to the president’s foreign policy and a small token of redemption for the former presidential candidate.

It's not the only one. According to a June poll by Quinnipiac University, 45 percent of voters think the U.S. would be in better shape if Mitt Romney was president, compared to 38 who said the U.S. would be in worse shape.

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Blake Seitz

Special to the Examiner
The Washington Examiner

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