Sen.-elect Mitt Romney (R., Utah) said Wednesday that it is in America's interest to "provide stability" around the world by deploying soldiers to key regions, pushing back against the notion that the U.S. needs to reduce its global military footprint after years of war in the Middle East.
CNN host Jake Tapper asked Romney to respond to the argument that the U.S. cannot be the "policeman of the world" and asked the senator-elect what he will tell his constituents who want to know when the war in Afghanistan will end and argue that war should not last forever.
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"The answer is you can't be everywhere forever, but you do place our troops and our military might in places where hopefully they're not involved in conflict in a kinetic way, but they are able to provide stability in a region, which is good for hundreds of thousands if not millions of people. And at the same time, it's good for us," Romney said. "We have hundreds of thousands of fighting men and women. We are not going to have them all just sitting home hoping nothing happens. No, we are going to station them in various places to keep bad things from happening. That's why they're in the DMZ [Korean Demilitarized Zone], or next to the DMZ in South Korea, and that's to keep stability there."
Romney went on to say that the U.S. should not be the world's policeman, but insisted that the country will continue to be part of the effort to make sure the world remains stable, saying it is in America's interest to do so for both economic and security reasons.
Later in the interview, Romney was asked about Trump's rhetoric concerning Russian President Vladimir Putin and whether Trump has been tough enough against Russia. The senator-elect responded that it is important for Trump to be "clear-eyed" when it comes to Putin.
"Russia has a real problem. Their population is shrinking. Their workforce is shrinking. John McCain used to say that they are a gas station parading as a country, and they're in trouble," Romney said. "And as a result, Putin is looking around for how he can get more population and get more of an economic industrial base, so he's looking at the former satellite states of the Soviet Union."
"America has to make it very, very clear in our communication and in the things we do that that's unacceptable to us and to the world, that he can't go invading other nations," Romney continued. "Since World War II, there's only one major power that's been invading neighbors, and that's been Russia. This is simply unacceptable. I think that President Obama didn't handle it as well as he could of, and I think it's very important for this president to make it clear to Vladimir Putin: we will not accept forays and adventures in grabbing a territory and population from sovereign nations around Russia."