President Barack Obama's projection of weakness is partly to blame for Russia's recent takeover of Crimea, and Obama needs to understand that not everyone in the world shares America's interests, says his most recent foe for the presidency, Mitt Romney.
The past five years have not been a time of building America's power around the world, Romney said Tuesday on Fox News Channel's "Hannity."
"The president has to account for that."
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Some people around the world want to oppress other people, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and terrorists, Romney said, adding that America needs a president who understands that.
Obama is currently attending the Nuclear Security Summit at the Hague, and was asked by ABC's Jonathan Karl whether Romney was right when he said during the 2012 campaign that Russia was America's biggest geopolitical foe.
Obama brushed aside the comparison, saying Russia is only a "regional power," threatening its nearest neighbors.
Romney replied that Russia plays a role in several important regions in the world, including the Middle East and the Caribbean, where it has docked a ship in Cuba.
Russia has been America's biggest foe by opposing the U.S. at the United Nations when it wanted to put tougher sanctions on North Korea and Iran. Putin also has sided with Syrian President Bashar Assad and other of the "world's worst actors."
America's greatest threat is a nuclear Iran, Romney told Hannity, "But in terms of who's playing politically against America -- of course, it's Russia."
Obama may not want to say it out loud, but he recognizes it, too, Romney said.
Had he been elected president, Romney said he would "not have given Russia the gifts that [Secretary of State Hillary] Clinton and President Obama gave Russia," he said, alluding to the "reset" button Clinton symbolically presented to her Russian counterpart.
"Don't you understand that Putin has different interests than America?" Romney said. The best way to stop him from pursuing those interests, he added, is to be a strong and powerful nation.
"Weakness only leads to other people taking advantage of you and being aggressive, and, in part, that's what leads to situations like Ukraine," Romney said.
Turning to the economy, Romney said it is not as robust as it could be, and that Obama has done nothing to make it easier to create jobs.
He described the economy as "slow" and "painful," but added, "The private sector is slowly crawling its way back."
Though Obama has done nothing to help, Romney predicted, "We'll ultimately come out of it."
He said he would not consider another White House run.
"It was the experience of a lifetime to run for president," he said, and if he were "the right guy" he'd run again. Instead, he said he will fight for whomever the 2016 GOP nominee turns out to be.
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