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China left out of Romney campaign

The presidential election campaign of Republican Mitt Romney recently made public a policy memorandum by Harvard academic Lanhee Chen, listing what it sees as several foreign-policy and national-security failures by President Obama.

However, conspicuously absent from the list was any mention of China and the administration’s failure to coax China into behaving like a normal part of the international community.

There was no mention of China’s military buildup continuing apace in secret with no pressure from the administration for an explanation. It also ignored the current failure to halt the Chinese state-controlled press campaign to demonize the United States. It made no mention of the administration’s mishandling of efforts to prevent China from moving to control vast areas of international waters near its coasts, while alarming neighbors from Japan to India.

The lack of any reference to China reflects the pro-China bent of the formal Romney campaign advisers, such as Rich Williamson, who recently praised liberal China hand Kenneth Lieberthal, a former Clinton administration adviser who is considered a soft-liner on Beijing’s military buildup.

Observers say the Romney campaign’s focus on Russia as a major threat is designed to harken back to the Cold War when Republicans played the China card against Moscow. Thus if Russia is the problem, China is not.

John R. Bolton, an informal adviser to the Romney campaign, filled the gap. In a column this week, Mr. Bolton faulted the Obama administration for lacking a strategy to prevent China from asserting hegemony and turning international waters around China into “Lake Beijing.”

Romney campaign policy official Alex Wong contacted Inside the Ring to say that Mr. Bolton was never a “special adviser” to Mr. Romney, as reported in last week’s column.

Warning on nuclear cuts

Two senior members of Congress recently warned that the Obama administration’s failure to modernize U.S. nuclear forces is a major danger.

Sen. Jon Kyl, Arizona Republican, and Rep. Michael R. Turner, Ohio Republican, stated in a recent letter to The Washington Post that President Obama is planning $370 million in nuclear-weapons cuts “with billions more to come.”

The lawmakers were responding to a Post editorial warning that the GOP platform included “scare talk” on the president’s cuts in nuclear forces.

Mr. Kyl, Senate Republican whip, and Mr. Turner, chairman of the House Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee, said the planned cuts are not a minor dip in spending.

“They go to the heart of the program to refurbish aging warheads and infrastructure,” they stated in a letter. “Ironically, the cut will delay or prevent achievement of one of the goals of the president’s 2010 Nuclear Posture Review: reducing the number of ‘hedge’ warheads in our stockpile.”

The congressmen said the president has abandoned commitments he made to senators in late 2010 to win their support for ratification of the New START arms treaty with Russia, a pact that, after it was signed, revealed that its levels called only for unilateral U.S. warhead cuts since the Russians claimed to have already reached the treaty’s levels.

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