Point-Counterpoint: Russian and Polish Choices for U.S. President
After a string of Russian and Polish translations, the U.S. presidential preferences of Moscow and Warsaw seem clear: Moscow favors Obama, and Warsaw favors Romney.
Why does Poland favor Romney? In good measure, according to Waldemar Kompala of Poland’s Rceczpospolita, it is because Poles believe that under a President Romney, America is more likely to act as a shield against Russia, and is less likely to be, as President Obama put it to Dimitry Medvedev, “flexible.” In an article headlined Romney is the Better Choice for Poland, Kompala writes in small part:
Based on statements made at both conventions and before, what Romney wants for America would also be beneficial to us. But as usual, the devil is in the details – the most serious of which is harsh reality. You can howl against Russia while a presidential candidate; however, once you win the election, you need to pursue Realpolitic. Current interests, such as the maintenance of supply routes across Russia and Central Asia for troops in Afghanistan – may make moving in the right direction difficult. Moscow will remain above Poland on America’s priority list.
We do not know what Mr. Romney’s policy would be; we only hear his declarations. But we know what is and what are likely to be Mr. Obama’s. He is not as naïve as some commentators with Republican sympathies portray. Despite his mild words, he can act ruthlessly. During his term, the Americans have killed more actual and suspected members of al-Qaeda in covert attacks than they did under Bush. But we know Mr. Obama’s priorities – and they do not promise the best for Poland.
So why does Russia favor Obama? In short, because the Kremlin sees Obama as someone it can work with, particularly in areas Poland would rather him be “inflexible.” It seems that the Russians consider Obama to be an odd combination of Republican-style “alpha-dog” and Democratic “bunny.”
For Russia’s Izvestia, in an article headlined Obama: ‘Not a God, But a Partner’, Boris Mezhuyev writes in part:
Of course, if Romney wins, we’ll have to deal with Romney. But it is better to work with someone who, after his victory, is willing (perhaps genuinely) to come and meet on the issue of missile defense, than a man who (perhaps in all seriousness) considers Russia geopolitical enemy number one.
Our experts, who love to remember the cases of Nixon and Reagan, have also become aware that the era of such legendary presidents is long gone. Before us are completely different kinds of Republicans and far different types of Democrats. On the political scene today there aren’t any other, pardon the pun, “real realists” to be expected – except for Obama.
It appears as though the Russian government has stepped away from policies carried out in the spirit of mutual public relations for alpha-dogs and beta-bunnies. This, of course, won’t please all those who in fact are guided by national interests. Note that in the eyes of some overweening neocons, in their anti-Russian and anti-Iranian zeal, Obama is only a bunny. Yet he probably killed more leaders of al-Qaeda than Bush the younger. There is no particular reason to think him a defeatist when he is demonstrably not. And actually, in the case of Russia during his first term, he didn’t engage in any particular bullying of Russia.
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