Romney's Foreign Policy Speech: Tough Talk And Obama Critiques
[Watch the full speech below.]
The GOP candidate’s third major speech on foreign policy of the campaign, which took place at the Virginia Military Institute, asserted that President Obama has “led from behind” and let “our destiny be at the mercy of events.”
The speech was seen as a major opportunity to reframe Romney’s foreign policy after previous attempts had been heavily criticized. Coming on the heels of Wednesday’s debate success and the same day as major strides in polling, the speech came at a key time in the campaign – and in international events.
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"When we look at the Middle East today — Iran closer than ever to nuclear weapons capability, with the conflict in Syria threatening to destabilize the region, with violent extremists on the march and with an American ambassador and three others dead likely at the hands of al-Qaida — it is clear that the risk of conflict in the region is higher now than when the president took office."
Romney encouraged leading with a stronger hand, stating that while he shares Obama’s hopes for the Middle East, “hope is not a strategy.”
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He outlined few new policies, except providing arms to Syrian opposition, and also restated his intentions to confront Russia and crack down on Iran - though he backed down from statements that he was ready to go to war with the country.
The Huffington Post explained that Romney’s speech was a way of building campaign momentum in the wake of recent international events:
In the past few weeks, a wave of unrest in the Middle East and North Africa has refocused public attention on foreign policy, bringing renewed criticism of Obama's handling of a region where al Qaeda can still mount attacks. Until recently, the U.S. use of targeted drone strikes and killing of Osama bin Laden had allowed Obama to proclaim that the threat of international terrorism was greatly diminished. Romney sought to characterize the recent attacks as evidence that al Qaeda remains strong, a relevant force in a broader contest of values from which the United States has largely withdrawn.
While Romney’s speech featured stronger criticism than he’s employed in the past regarding Obama’s foreign policy, he stayed away from former accusations that the President sympathized with rioters in the Middle East, and made it clear that the blame for Libyan violence “lies with the people who committed the acts.”
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