Mitt Romney waded into the realm of international diplomacy and nuclear arms reduction last week with a Washington Post op-ed on the administration's START treaty with Russia, and he was promptly panned by both Fred Kaplan and Richard Lugar, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, both of whom said Romney displayed an ignorance of history and the issues at play in the arms control treaty. (See Marc's analysis of Romney's nuclear worldview here.) Today Romney kept at it, sending an e-mail to supporters of his political group, the Free and Strong America PAC, repeating the main claim he made in the op-ed--that the START treaty could be President Obama's "worst foreign policy mistake," showing weakness to Russia after he dumped plans for missile defense sites in Poland and the Czech Republic last year--and asking for money:


XXXXX,

President Obama's New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New-START) with Russia could be his worst foreign policy mistake yet.  

The treaty would give Russia an even greater advantage in its total number of nuclear weapons. It calls for restraints and reductions on us that would not have to be matched by the Russians. And inexplicably, it limits our ability to deploy an effective missile defense system. As such, it fails to address the looming threats posed by Iranian and North Korean nuclear proliferation. 

By all indications, the Obama administration has been badly out-negotiated, as noted yesterday by the National Review. Perhaps the President's eagerness for global disarmament led his team to accede to Russia's demands, or perhaps it led to a document that was less than carefully drafted. 

Whatever the reason for the treaty's failings, it must not be ratified: The security of the United States is at stake. 

Unfortunately, this is not the first time that President Obama's foreign policy missteps have damaged our national security interests. His decision to abandon our missile defense system in Central Europe undercut key allies like Poland and the Czech Republic. And his policy of "engagement" with rogue nations has been met with North Korean nuclear tests, missile launches and the sinking of a South Korean naval vessel, while Iran has accelerated its nuclear program, funded terrorists and armed Hezbollah with long-range missiles.  

This is a critical midterm election year, and we need to ensure that we elect leaders who understand that a strong America is the best hope for freedom and peace in the world, and who will put our national security interests first. Will you stand with me today in this effort by making a contribution to my PAC of $35, $50, $100, $250, $500, $1,000, $2,500 or even the maximum $5,000? 

Chris, Providence has blessed America and trusted us to safeguard liberty. In a time of economic distress at home and challenge abroad, let ours be the voice of clarity and good sense -- confident in our cause, and faithful in the care of freedom.

Best,

Mitt Romney 

Romney has built his foreign-policy ideology on the notion of American greatness and exceptionalism, interwoven with a hawkish national-security approach; that's the foreign-policy niche he carved for himself while running for president in 2008 with business and management credentials as his main selling point. The treaty with Russia, and the notion that it proves Obama's foreign-policy weakness, seems to be the chosen point of entry into foreign policy debate for Romney this year.

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