colin powell corrects romney, russia no adversary
DrMarty | May 25, 2012 at 01:31 amby
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During three television interviews yesterday as part of a book tour, Gen. (Ret.) Colin Powell made important statements on the strategic situation regarding Russia and Iran, and particularly his disagreements with statements on those subjects by presumed GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
Powell, a former National Security Adviser to the President, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Secretary of State in several Republican presidential administrations, made it clear at the outset, that he was not speaking only for himself.
On MSNBC's "Morning Joe," Powell agreed with host Joe Scarborough's characterization of Romney as being "top-heavy when it comes to the neoconservatives around him," and said that many of them were "quite far to the right." Powell continued:
"And sometimes they might be in a position to make judgments or recommendations to the candidate that should get a second thought. For example, when Gov. Romney not too long ago said the Russian federation is our number one geostrategic threat.
C'mon, Mitt -- think! That isn't the case. And I don't know whether Mitt really feels that or -- It's been catching a lot of heck from regular GOP foreign affairs community. We were kind of taken aback by it. Look at the world. There is no pure competitor to the United States of America.
A few hours later on MSNBC's "Andrea Mitchell Reports," Powell responded to Mitchell's remark that Mitt Romney said that President Obama was demonstrating weakness, in seeking negotiations with Iran, Powell said:
"I don't know what Mr. Romney would prefer to do. The fact of the matter is, we need a negotiated solution. And the only way you can get a negotiated solution is to talk to the other side. Now with Iran, I think all of us know by now that they will pull the football out from under you in a heartbeat. So don't go in there with any lofty expectations, but you talk to them. And at the same time, let's remember the weaknesses of Iran. They are under enormous economic pressure as a result of the sanctions.
They're totally isolated. Nobody's on their side. And they have a program that they've been working on for all these years. In my 10 years of chairmanship and the Secretary of State, I kept hearing, Iran's going to have a weapon in the next year. Well, they haven't. They haven't been that successful at it, but I don't deny that they may really want to be moving in this direction. I think it is still possible to find a solution that stops them at the point where they are developing power, electric power from nuclear facilities, but you could stop them from going up the chain of enrichment to producing a weapon."
Powell later added: "But I think he really needs to really not just accept these cataclysmic sort of pronouncements. I think he really needs to think carefully about these statements, because they're now on the wall for people to see. And when you see a Russian federation that has its own internal problems; a Russian federation that's going through transition and transformation; that has the GDP of a mid-sized European country; that's only half the population that the old Soviet Union used to be, and its population is dropping.
They need to have a good relationship with us. They need to trade with us, sell with us just like the Chinese do. Let's not go creating enemies where none yet exists. Does this mean that we should trust Putin or Medvedev? No, let's be mature people and look at the reality of the situation and not find ways to see if we can hyperbolize the situation."
Later in the afternoon, on CNN's "The Situation Room," Powell was categorical: "Mr. Romney, I think, took it to an extreme painting them as a foe. I don't think they're a foe. I don't think they've been a foe since the end of the Cold War."
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