Here’s what presidential candidate Mitt Romney would say as part of his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention if we were writing it:
My fellow Americans, for the last four years President Obama has been telling you that a man called Medvedev was the ruler of Russia. He had cheeseburgers with him, and told you Medvedev was his partner in democracy. That was a lie.
Medvedev never had real power in Russia, and he was never interested in democracy, and Barack Obama knew it. Ever since the late 1990s, only one man has held real power in Russia, and that man is a proud KGB spy named Putin.
Putin used Medvedev as a figurehead so he could continue to rule Russia without violating the Russian Constitution. And Obama used him too, used him to claim he was “resetting” our relations with Russia, transforming an enemy into a friend. During this election, he’ll claim credit for doing that and ask for your votes because of it. That will be another lie. And every single day he tells it, I’ll be there to tell you so.
Because of Obama’s misguided policy, Putin has now claimed the status of “president for life” like so many other horrific dictators around the world, each of whom despises American freedom and values and seeks to destroy us by any means possible.
Putin and Russia actively support many of these American-killing dictators. Russia supports Iran, Syria and Egypt against their citizens, giving them weapons and money they used to murder women and children. Obama’s own Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, has said Russia’s actions in Syria are “despicable.” It’s a shame Obama isn’t listening to his own State Department.
Instead, Obama continues to play footsie with Putin and Medvedev, in the hopes of making you believe in his “reset.” Obama looks the other way as Putin rigs elections, wipes out local government and opposition political parties and jails or murders his toughest critics.
By doing this, Obama harms not only Americans but also Russians. Russians look to America, as does the entire world, for courage and leadership in fighting for freedom. Instead of that, what Russians have received from Obama is a wink to Putin, a wink that tells him he is free to go on brutalizing his own citizens.
Russia and Putin are America’s enemies. Putin is a career KGB spy. He spent his entire life learning how to hate and destroy American values, and now, because of Obama’s misguided policy, he holds unlimited power for life. Putin wants high oil prices because he depends on that revenue to keep the Russian economy afloat. We want low prices, to fuel our economy and our automobiles.
Putin wants tumult in the Middle East, because that keeps oil prices high. We want peace in the region, and low prices at the pump.
Putin wants dictatorship and a command economy just like the USSR had. He’s even playing the anthem of the USSR for Russia at the Olympics! We want freedom and a market economy, because it’s in that environment that Americans shine.
Putin wants to look backward, he sees the collapse of the USSR as a tragedy and wants to rebuild it. We want to look forward, seeing the collapse of the USSR as a blessing for both Americans and Russians.
Let me close by speaking directly to Putin and paraphrasing Ronald Reagan, one of the greatest world leaders of our time.
And now — now the Russians themselves may, in a limited way, be coming to understand the importance of freedom. We hear much from Moscow about a new policy of reform and openness. Some political prisoners might be released. Certain foreign news broadcasts are no longer being jammed. Some economic enterprises have been permitted to operate with greater freedom from state control.
Are these the beginnings of profound changes in the Russian state? Or are they token gestures intended to raise false hopes in the West, or to strengthen the Russian system without changing it?
We Americans welcome change and openness; for we believe that freedom and security go together, that the advance of human liberty can only strengthen the cause of world peace. There is one sign the Russians can make that would be unmistakable, that would advance dramatically the cause of freedom and peace. President-elect Putin, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for Russia and eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization, release Russia from your iron grip. Mr. Putin, twelve years is long enough, in fact it’s much too long, for one man to hold unrestricted power.
Mr. Putin, open your heart. Mr. Putin, Mr. Putin, step down! Don’t force the United States into a new era of cold war with Russia, an war which Russia will lose just as surely as did the USSR.