The foreign policy tirade came at a veterans event in Indiana on the eve of Romney’s all-important convention speech late Thursday, during which he will accept the Republican presidential nomination and make his case to the American people.
Romney, a former governor of Massachusetts, told members of the American Legion here that Obama has allowed global hotspots like Iran, North Korea and Syria to fester during his administration. “The world continues to be a dangerous place. Major powers are rapidly adding to their military capabilities, sometimes with intentions very different from our own,” Romney said. He warned of Tehran’s closing in on nuclear weapons capability, the persistent “threat of radical Islamic terrorism” despite the killing of Osama bin Laden, instability in Pakistan, “horrific violence in Syria” and the potential of North Korean proliferation of its nuclear weapons.
“And we are still at war in Afghanistan. We still have uniformed men and women in conflict, risking their lives just as you once did,” Romney said.
“All of this and more is happening around the world right now. And yet, for the past four years, President Obama has allowed our leadership to diminish,” he added.
“In dealings with other nations, he has given trust where it is not earned, insult where it is not deserved, and apology where it is not due.”
Romney highlighted his trip last month to Britain, Israel and Poland, saying it left him with an “even firmer conviction” of America’s pre-eminent security role in the world.
“The United Nations is a place where nations can talk, but leadership - leadership that preserves peace and promotes freedom - must come from the United States of America.”
US foreign policy, he said, must show confidence, clarity of purpose, and resolve, and Romney stressed that if president he would leave no doubt that America is no paper tiger when it comes to dealing with threats.
“In those exceptional cases where a substantial American interest demands that we take military action, we will employ overwhelming means to protect our troops and to achieve our objectives,” he said.
Romney also lashed out at the 10-year, $1 trillion across-the-board budget cuts that are due to kick in early next year if Congress does not act. Those are in addition to the $487 billion in Pentagon cuts over the next decade that Congress already committed to making.
He said that a Romney administration would surely slash federal spending, but not on the military.
“There are plenty of places to cut in a federal budget that now totals well over $3 trillion a year, but defence is not one of them,” he said.