n a speech this week, Mitt Romney slammed Barack Obama's foreign policy record, saying that the president had "diminished American leadership" in the world and given comfort to enemies of the U.S. The broadside, which came as Romney began a European tour designed to burnish his own (limited) foreign policy credentials, offered few details on what Romney would do differently. No wonder, say critics, who charge that Romney's foreign policy agenda is virtually indistinguishable from Obama's. Adding fuel to the fire, Team Romney on Wednesday denied that an unnamed "adviser" had told Britain's The Telegraph that Romney appreciates the "Anglo-Saxon" heritage common to both countries better than Obama, a dubious report that nevertheless bolstered the perception that Romney is grasping at straws when it comes to differentiating himself from the president. Is Romney's foreign policy any different from Obama's?
Yes. A Romney presidency would shake things up: Romney's main foreign-policy difference lies in the "conviction that it is essential to project American power in the world," says Jennifer Rubin at The Washington Post. Whether he is labeling Russia as America's "most serious foe," taking China to task for "unfair trading practices," or confronting Iran's suspected nuclear weapons program, Romney "begins from an entirely different premise" from Obama: It is "U.S. power and values that make the world safer and more free."
"Romney's foreign policy: The opposite of Obama's"
No. Romney's proposals are virtually identical to Obama's: Romney's foreign policy proposals are "not only vague, but not very different from" Obama's, says Mike Mount at CNN. In his speech, Romney railed against Obama for planning to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan by 2014, yet pledged to abide by the exact same withdrawal date. Romney says he will make clear that a military option is on the table when it comes to Iran, but Obama has already done that, going so far as to bolster the U.S.'s military presence in the Persian Gulf. Romney called for tough sanctions on Iran, but the Obama administration has overseen the toughest Iranian sanctions to date. Romney pledged to bolster the U.S.'s presence in East Asia, which is a signature foreign policy aim of the Obama administration. Essentially, Romney is criticizing his own positions.
"Romney borrows from Obama foreign policy playbook"
Romney is losing the foreign-policy argument: Even Romney's advisers "have been unable to explain exactly what he would do differently on many issues," says The New York Times in an editorial, and he has largely stuck to blaming Obama for an impending $500 billion spending cut to the Defense Department's budget, which was part of a bipartisan agreement manufactured in Congress. Romney has also asserted that Obama has treated Israel shabbily, even though the administration "has backed Israel in almost every way, and Israeli leaders have publicly acknowledged that." What Romney "is offering voters on American security is neither impressive nor convincing."
"The candidates talk foreign policy"
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