President Obama’s decision to endorse same-sex marriages (and not just civil unions) gave the American presidential race a new twist, presenting a serious challenge to Mr Obama’s likeliest adversary… the GOP’s “presumptive candidate” Mitt Romney. Mikhail Delyagin, the head of the Moscow-based Institute for the Problems of Globalisation (IPROG), commented, “I think everything will depend on the reaction of Romney and the GOP at large to this move, which looks like a provocation from Obama’s side. Obama knows that the majority of people wouldn’t approve of a same-sex marriage for their children, but at the same time, he knows that radical homophobia can scare quite normal people. So, his bet is that the attacks against this move of his from the side of Mr Romney will be so monstrous, that they’d ultimately scare centrist voters away from Romney and the GOP”.
This is indeed a risky bet, since a lot of analysts believe that centrist voters, quite on the contrary, could now tilt away from Obama. In the opinion of these experts, keeping the status quo would be a better solution for Obama, since liberal people wouldn’t vote for Romney anyway, and Obama’s already won moderate supporters of new lifestyles by his decision to end the ban on open gays in the military. So, everything depends on Romney’s reaction now… will he be subtle enough to find a non-aggressive, non-divisive use for the chink in Obama’s armour that the president deliberately left open for him? Romney’s handling of this election’s foreign policy agenda, more important from a Russian point of view, doesn’t speak in favour of the former Massachusetts governor. It appears that Romney’s penchant for aggressive non-apologetic rhetoric may indeed do him a disservice… and not for the first time.
Certainly, his statement to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer about Russia as America’s “number one geopolitical foe” in March didn’t help Mr Romney’s record for subtlety. Many observers, including some in Russia, dismissed Mr Romney’s statement as election posturing, advising the Russian public not to take it seriously. Indeed, the phrase about Russia’s “fighting every cause for the world’s worst actors” doesn’t stand up to any kind of criticism, even if a critic sticks to the official American ideology. Even a New York Times editorial had to concede that Russia’s aid to the American-led coalition in Afghanistan and Russia’s abstention during a vote on an anti-Ghaddafi UN resolution don’t fit Mr Romney’s theory. However, was it really just electoral posturing?
If indeed it was, then why did Romney refuse to retract any of the outlandish accusations against Russia and Obama that he made in his interview to CNN? Why instead did he prefer to write a whole article for Foreign Policy magazine, where he complained about president Medvedev’s “attacks” against him (as if the president of a country declared the “number one geopolitical foe” of the world’s biggest nuclear power should find nothing but praise for the author of such a declaration)? Why then did Romney continue the same rhetoric about “pliant” Obama trying to “ingratiate” himself with the Kremlin? Why weren’t any of Romney’s foreign policy advisers, mostly Bush-era neocons, fired? There were lots of opportunities to limit the damage, but Romney never used any of them. No Apology: The Case for American Greatness… that seems to be not just a name for Mr Romney’s paperback, but his ideology in a nutshell.
For a wider world, the choice of America’s geopolitical friends and foes is certainly a more important issue than the intricacies of differences between same-sex marriages and same-sex unions. Nevertheless, there are situations when such seemingly abstract issues can decide the world’s destiny. Sergei Rogov, the head of the RAN Institute of the USA and Canada, warned, “If indeed Romney and his people come to power, the foreign policy team of George Bush Jr would look like children in comparison”. Everyone knows what Bush’s team managed to “achieve” in a relatively short period. Nicole Bacharan, a French author of a book on American elections, noted that in this situation, paradoxically, Romney’s duplicity may serve the world, saying in a recent comment for the Paris-based Le Figaro, “When elected the governor of the state of Massachusetts, Romney introduced a health insurance system on the state level, which ran against the Republican rhetoric and which became a model for Obama’s health care reform in 2011… something that Romney now denies”. Bacharan wrote that there’s always been a wide gap between Romney’s statements and his actual policies. I hope that, indeed, Romney didn’t mean what he said when he spoke about Russia’s “hostility” or the need to support Israel’s possible strike against Iran. However, the world’s security is probably too serious a matter to be made dependent on one person’s duplicity.
10 May 2012
Voice of Russia World Service
Let’s keep it simple. Most of the opposition to President Obama comes from two sources:
NOTHING that Mr Obama says on ANYTHING will ever change their minds. The bubbas hate him because he’s black. The greedsters hate him for standing in their way… they truly enjoy smashing their boot-heels into the faces of helpless people… “The race goes to the swiftest” and “Nothing should impede the market”, dontcha know! Reflect on this… these two groups call themselves “Christian”… it goes a long way to explain the antipathy of normal average Americans to “Born Agains”, doesn’t it?