Mitt Romney blames former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton along with President Barack Obama for the situation in Ukraine, saying they both misunderstood the world stage.Wait, so Putin's Ukraine aggression is a result of Obama presiding over a decline in global attitudes toward America? Even if the underlying claim were true—that the world thinks less of America today than it did five years ago—that wouldn't make any sense. But it doesn't even have the virtue of being true.
“There’s no question, but that over the four years where he and Secretary Clinton were working together, and now the year since then, it’s hard to name a single country that holds America in more esteem and respect than when the president took office five years ago,” Romney said on Fox News’s “Hannity”on Tuesday. “It has not been a time of building America’s respect and admiration and esteem and frankly our soft power or our hard power around the world.”
In fact, America's global image is up dramatically over the past five years. According to Pew's latest global survey, America's image has improved in 22 of the 29 countries where they have data from both the end of the Bush administration and today. And in the countries where our image hasn't improved, it hasn't gotten significantly worse. For example, 81 percent view America positively in Kenya and 67 percent do in Poland. Those are good numbers, but they aren't improvements.
Given that America is seen more positively today than it was in 2007 and 2008, if Romney's argument that Putin's behavior is driven by global attitudes toward America had any merit, then Putin wouldn't be doing what he's doing today. But clearly he is, and what that tells us is that even if Romney's underlying attack were accurate, his conclusion would still be wrong.