Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) reemerged on Wednesday to decry President Barack Obama’s foreign-policy doctrine.
Appearing on Wednesday afternoon at the Washington Ideas Forum, the 2012 Republican nominee repeatedly called Obama’s foreign policy a “disaster.”
“I think the president’s been a foreign policy disaster,” Romney said. “You may love the president for a lot of reasons. His rhetoric is soaring, but the results have been terribly disappointing, and in terms of foreign policy, disastrous.”
Romney cited several decisions that he considered mistakes, including a failure to reach an agreement with Iraq to keep a certain number of troops in the country permanently and a failure to train Syrian rebels.
Romney also said the US was being outmaneuvered by Russia, which began airstrikes in Syria on Wednesday. US Defense Secretary Ash Carter said those strikes did not appear to target fighters from the Islamic State group, but rather rebels from other groups battling the Russian-backed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
“You don’t let the Russians tell us that we can’t fly over Syria,” Romney said, referring to Moscow’s request that the US avoid Syrian airspace.
“Russia complicates things right now. And Russia has out-gamed us, once again.”
Romney and Obama had a particularly memorable exchange during one of the 2012 presidential debates, when Obama zinged Romney for arguing that Russia was the US’ “No. 1 geopolitical foe.”
“In 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,” Obama said. Romney has since argued that a continually deteriorating relationship with Russia has proved him right.
On Wednesday, Romney blamed a perception of a lack of world leadership for some foreign-policy setbacks. Though Romney acknowledged President George W. Bush’s foreign policy missteps – primarily relying on faulty intelligence that led to the invasion of Iraq, Romney said Bush at least acted like a leader.
“He at least believed that America should be a leader and took action as a leader. This president has not,” Romney said.