Al Qaeda is public foe No. 1 for the U.S., the White House declared on Wednesday, not Russia – as Republican candidate Mitt Romney asserted earlier this week.
In fact, the Russians are “working well to isolate” nations with rogue nuclear programs that the U.S. is trying to contain, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.
“You don’t have to be a foreign policy expert to know that the Cold War ended 20 years ago and that the greatest threat that the president has been fighting on behalf of the American people is the threat posed by Al Qaeda,” Earnest told reporters in the daily White House briefing.
The remarks came a day after Romney complained about President Obama’s posture toward Russia, while criticizing Obama for remarks he made to Russian President Dmitri Medvedev this week about his having more “flexibility” on missile defense after the November elections.
Romney called Russia “without question our No. 1 geopolitical foe.”
While Earnest didn’t go so far as to call Russia a friend, he did note that Russian officials have worked to isolate Iran and North Korea.
“The irony is that Russia,” said Earnest, “has worked very well with the international community to isolate those two regimes and to seek a diplomatic solution to hold those two regimes accountable for living up to their international obligations.”
The Romney campaign was quick with its response.
“It is unfortunately not surprising to see more effusive praise for Russia’s leaders coming from the White House,” policy director Lanhee Chen said. “President Obama has utterly failed to stand up to Russia on issues ranging from Iran’s nuclear weapons program to Syria to Russia’s own backsliding into authoritarianism. At the same time, he’s given away concession after concession to Russia. We can expect more such ‘flexibility’ if President Obama is re-elected.“
Original source: White House declares Al Qaeda “No. 1 geopolitical foe’