Mitt Romney may have been right about Russia: Last summer, the 2012 GOP presidential nominee declared in a speech that Russia is our “greatest geopolitical foe.” In a debate soon after, Barack Obama mocked that notion. “Governor Romney, I’m glad that you recognize that al-Qaida is a threat, because a few months ago when you were asked what’s the biggest geopolitical threat facing America, you said Russia, not al-Qaida,” Obama said, teeing up one of the debate’s most often repeated lines: “The 1980s, they’re now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because, you know, the Cold War’s been over for 20 years.”
It wasn’t an entirely fair shot, given the way Obama slyly replaced the word “foe” with “threat,” which has a different connotation and distorted Romney’s point–which Vladimir Putin has proceeded to validate. In the months since, Putin has backed Syria’s embattled dictator, Bashar al Assad, long past the time Barack Obama declared that Assad has to go. He has cut off American adoptions of Russian children. He has expelled an alleged American CIA officer after an unusually public humiliation of the man. And now he has granted one year’s asylum to American’s most-sought after fugitive, Edward Snowden. In response, Obama is threatening to skip a planned September summit with the Russian leader.