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You're reading: West-Ukraine relations marked by indifference

His Oct. 22 foreign policy debate with Republican Mitt Romney may hold some clues. Naturally, you wouldn’t expect either debater to focus on Ukraine, but it’s still striking just how little attention was paid to Ukraine’s neighborhood—Europe and Russia.

Neither Obama nor Romney mentioned Europe or the European Union, even once. Ditto for Germany. France, the United Kingdom, and Poland got one mention apiece, but only in passing, while Greece got two, but only as a metaphor for a fate that needs to be avoided. Russia was mentioned 10 times, mostly in the below exchange:

OBAMA: Governor Romney, I’m glad that you recognize that al-Qaeda is a threat, because a few months ago when you were asked what’s the biggest geopolitical threat facing America, you said Russia, not al-Qaeda; you said Russia, and the 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because, you know, the Cold War’s been over for 20 years.

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