WASHINGTON, October 9 (RIA Novosti)
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has reaffirmed his plans to review “questionable” cuts to US defense budget and to maintain a hard stance on missile defense in talks with Russia in a key foreign policy speech during the current election campaign.
“I’ll roll back President Obama’s deep and arbitrary cuts to our national defense that would devastate our military,” Romney said addressing cadets at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington on Monday. “I’ll make the critical defense investments that we need to remain secure.”
“I’ll implement effective missile defenses to protect against threats. And on this, there will be no flexibility with Vladimir Putin,” Romney added.
It is not the first time the Republican challenger uses relations with Russia to manipulate the minds of American voters.
“Obama abandoned our friends in Poland by walking away from our missile defense commitments, but is eager to give Russia’s President Putin the flexibility he desires, after the election,” Romney said in his nomination acceptance speech at the Republican convention in August.
The line was a reference to President Barack Obama’s hot mic snafu in South Korea this past spring, when he was heard whispering to then Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that he would have “more flexibility” on contentious bilateral issues following the November U.S. presidential election.
Romney has also openly called Russia "number one geopolitical foe" of the United States, which strengthened the Kremlin’s resolve to oppose NATO’s plan for a missile defense shield in Eastern Europe.
With less than a month left until November 6 elections, the presidential race has suddenly become a nail-biter after an unexpectedly strong showing by Romney in the first of three televised debates against Obama.
Republicans claim Romney “is back in a contest that was threatening to slip away.”
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Any response would likely boomerang on Russia – the partnership between Rosneft and ExxonMobil is a case in point. The United States has hit Russia with a third round of sanctions. This time the Americans went with a higher caliber weapon, targeting Russia’s biggest energy companies (Rosneft and Novatek) and banks (VEB and Gazprombank).