The New York Times
By RICHARD A. OPPEL Jr.
Published: May 11, 2012
WASHINGTON —Mitt Romney’s recent declaration that Russia is America’s top geopolitical adversary drew raised eyebrows and worse from many Democrats, some Republicans and the Russians themselves, all of whom suggested that Mr. Romney was misguidedly stuck in a cold war mind-set.
But his statement was not off the cuff — and it was not the first time Mr. Romney had stirred debate over his hawkish views on Russia. Interviews with Republican foreign policy experts close to his campaign and his writings on the subject show that his stance toward Russia reflects a broader foreign policy view that gives great weight to economic power and control of natural resources. It also exhibits Mr. Romney’s confidence that his private-sector experience would make him a better negotiator on national security issues than President Obama has been.
Mr. Romney’s views on Russia have set off disagreements among some of his foreign policy advisers. They put him in sync with the more conservative members of his party in Congress, who have similarly criticized Mr. Obama as being too accommodating to Russia, and generally reflect the posture of some neoconservatives.
But they have frequently put him at odds with members of the Republican foreign policy establishment, like Senator Richard G. Lugar of Indiana, who was defeated in a primary this week, and the party’s shrinking band of foreign policy “realists” — those who advocate a less ideological and more pragmatic view of relations with rival powers.
The Romney campaign has been critical of Mr. Obama’s record and positions on a variety of national security issues, including containing Iran’s nuclear ambitions and confronting China’s rise. But many of the positions taken by Mr. Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, have either been vague or not fundamentally different from those of the administration.