Mitt Romney's recent primary victories in Iowa and New Hampshire have bolstered the perception -- both at home and overseas -- that the former Massachusetts governor has all but locked up the Republican presidential nomination. And while the foreign press is picking up on all the familiar tropes about Romney (a dull but determined Mormon moderate millionaire with solid business credentials and protean political views), some news outlets are going further -- expressing outright anger with the GOP candidate over his foreign-policy views.
Romney, to be sure, hasn't said anything as incendiary as, say, Newt Gingrich calling the Palestinians an "invented" people or Herman Cain sneering at Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan. But he has ruffled feathers abroad by coming out strongly against Russian aggression, European socialism, Iranian nuclear ambitions, Chinese economic policy, and illegal immigration. We've already heard from Eric Pape about why life in Paris isn't nearly as bad as Romney makes it out to be, but there's plenty more indignation out there to survey.
Romney, perhaps more than any other GOP candidate, has been a vocal critic of the Obama administration's "reset" with Russia, calling the New START nuclear arms reduction agreement Obama's "worst foreign-policy mistake," criticizing the president for abandoning Eastern European allies like Poland and the Czech Republic, and arguing that Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin threatens global stability by dreaming of "rebuilding the Russian empire."
Those comments haven't gone unnoticed in the Russian press. Many news outlets have picked up Romney's comments, and the tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravda reports that Romney is a "hawk" on Russia even though he's generally considered a moderate on other issues. The World Policy Institute's Michele Wucker, however, assures Izvestia that Romney and his rivals are tailoring their anti-Russia rhetoric for domestic consumption -- "not battling against Putin, but Obama."
Russian coverage isn't all negative. The state-run radio station Voice of Russia, for example, points out that Romney has an "IQ of 122 while Obama has scored 140," which could make the 2012 elections "the most intellectual ones in America's contemporary history." Citing experts, the news outlet adds that the United States "is tired of wars" and "doesn't want tension with Russia and China and involvement in new Middle East campaigns."
The Polish press, not surprisingly, is generally friendly to Romney. At the journalist forum Salon24, historian Michael Krupa observes that Romney is the only Republican candidate to have thoroughly outlined his foreign-policy vision, particularly when it comes to Europe. Krupa says Romney wants to elevate the importance of U.S.-Polish relations by executing a plan scrapped by Obama to locate U.S. missile defense systems in Poland and working to decrease Eastern European dependence on Russian gas supplies. Gazeta Wyborcza writes that while Romney may be "colorless and wooden," he can boast of "real achievements" as a businessman and governor.
Above, Romney speaks at the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library at Texas A&M University in April 2007.
Ben Sklar/Getty Images