Powell told CNN that while Washington and Moscow might disagree on various issues, they were far from being enemies.
"Foe means enemy," Powell said. "Will we have differences of opinion with the Russians? Yes. Will they get mad at us from time to time, and we get mad at them? That's part of the normal diplomatic relations."
Powell, a Republican, said earlier in the day on MSNBC Romney had raised eyebrows among GOP foreign policy experts with his statement that Russia was the main geopolitical rival of the United States.
He said Romney needed to be more discriminating about what his campaign advisers tell him on international matters.
"Some of them are quite far to the right, and sometimes they, I think, might be in a position to make judgments or recommendations to the candidate that should get a second thought," Powell said.
Powell did not mention any of the advisers by name. The Boston Globe noted that former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton is on the Romney team.
Bolton and Powell sometimes clashed on policy matters when they served in the George W. Bush administration.