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Transition 2012

A guide to foreign policy and the 2012 U.S. presidential transition.

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Midday Update: Romney Camp Criticizes Russia Arms Deal Halt

by Newsteam Staff
October 12, 2012

Photo of the Day: A customer pulls an Obama pin off the jacket of a seller on a street October 11, 2012. (Kevin Lamarque/Courtesy Reuters) Photo of the Day: A customer pulls an Obama pin off the jacket of a seller on a street October 11, 2012. (Kevin Lamarque/Courtesy Reuters)

GOP nominee Mitt Romney’s campaign characterized a Russian announcement that it is pulling out of a twenty-year-long arms reduction pact with the United States (TheHill) as an indication that “they do not perceive [the United States] to be strong.”

“The reset policy has been a complete disaster, partly because the administration has simply not understood how to deal with Russia,” said Romney adviser Dov Zakheim. “If they perceive you to be strong, they will work with you.” (FP)

Meanwhile, Josh Earnest, deputy White House secretary has different take, reports The Hill:

“There’s surely more work to be done in that program, and we’re going to engage in that effort,” he said during a briefing aboard Air Force One. “We found the Russians to be good partners on these issues”.

Earnest alluded to the fact the Russian pullout may be Moscow’s way of gaining the upper hand in negotiations to update the arms reduction pact.

“The Russians didn’t want to actually end the program … they wanted to update the program,” he said. “That’s certainly something [the White House] will work with them to do.”

This CFR Issue Tracker details both candidates’ stances on U.S.-Russia relations.


Following the first and only vice presidential debate with Vice President Joe Biden and vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan, Mark Landler reports in the New York Times that on foreign policy issues, the differences between the candidates were more style than substance:

The debate was almost as striking for the areas of agreement between Mr. Ryan and Mr. Biden. They agreed that the timeline for Iran to acquire a bomb was probably longer than the level of tension over Iran would suggest. And they agreed that the United States should transfer security control to the Afghans by the end of 2014, though Mr. Ryan stopped short of saying that American troops would be withdrawn by then.

Despite the policy similarities, Gayle Tzemach Lemmon writes in Foreign Policy that “Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday evening worked to portray Paul Ryan as the candidate most in favor of continuing the unpopular fight in Afghanistan, a conflict President Barack Obama once called the ‘war that has to be won’ and to which he added 33,000 American soldiers.”

Read the full debate transcript here.

Read what Obama and Romney are proposing for a number of major foreign policy topics in these CFR Issue Trackers.


A group of Florida experts on climate change has asked President Obama and Mitt Romney to discuss the topic in their last debate in Boca Raton scheduled for October 22.

The request was made in a letter asking “Obama and Romney to explain policies they would take to reduce the risks of a future rise in sea levels (AFP) and adapt to the impact, as well as how they would work with other nations on climate change.”

In a change from the 2008 campaign, neither candidate has spoken significantly about climate change (NBC) or their policies to combat global warming.

–Contributing Editor Kirsti Itameri

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