The Huffington Post commented on Mitt Romney's statement that a Russia, and not Iran or China or North Korea, is the main enemy of the United States. The newspaper notes in particular:
"Mitt Romney's claim on CNN that Russia represents America's "number one geopolitical foe" demonstrates how far the Republican party's relationship with Moscow has soured. In June 2001, five months after President George W Bush had taken office, the story was quite different.
It is easy to see the 2008 conflict between Russian and Georgian troops over the breakaway region of South Ossetia as having changed all that. But in truth the problems between the two countries began far earlier than that.
In September 2002 the US was attempting to build international support for an operation against Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq. Following the launch of the Afghanistan campaign in the previous year, however, many countries were wary about the prospect of another military intervention in the Middle East. Russia was firmly in the latter camp.
Indeed then-Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov warned that his country stood ready to use its veto in the UN Security Council. The subsequent failure of the US-led "coalition of the willing" to gain a clear UN mandate for military action against Saddam, marks the key turning point in recent Republican thinking.
John McCain, the Republican presidential candidate in 2008 and outspoken critic of Moscow, made the case for a cooling of relations with Russia in 2010 at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. In an emotive speech he claimed:
"What we need most now is a greater sense of realism about Russia -- about the recent history of our relationship, about the substantial limitations on Russian power, about the divergences in US and Russian interests, and about the lack of shared values between our governments.
We don't need WikiLeaks to reach these conclusions, my friends. They have been staring us in the face for a very long time".
He cited the traditional bugbears of Russian opposition to European missile defense, the use of resource politics and ambitions to maintain the Soviet sphere of influence to back up his claim.
Yet his central point was not simply the "divergence in US and Russian interests" but the "lack of shared values".
That is, it is not only politics, but incompatible ethical positions that have undermined relations", writes The Huffington Post.
Department of Monitoring