Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Monday unveiled a foreign policy vision deepening US engagement in West Asia, getting tougher with Iran and Syria.
The candidate's basic argument was that the US's leadership of the world had slipped on President Barack Obama's watch - a typically Republican position - and he would restore it.
"It is time to change course in the Middle East (West Asia for India)," Romney said in a speech from a military academy in the US state of Virginia.But it was a vision heavily skewed towards West Asia. With the exception of Afghanistan, the rest of the world barely got a mention: Europe thrice, China once and India none at all. Also missing was world's biggest crisis: recession.
A private sector man, Romney is battling the image of a foreign policy lightweight.
"This President's policies have not been equal to our best examples of world leadership," Romney said, "And nowhere is this more evident than in the Middle East (West Asia)."
Though not blaming Obama for the death of US diplomats in Benghazi, Romney said, "It is the responsibility of our President to use America's great power to shape history - not to lead from behind, leaving our destiny at the mercy of events".
But Romney's prescriptions for the future didn't seem very different from Obama's. On Iran, for instance, he threatened to be tough to prevent it from going nuclear, using sanctions.
On Syria, he wants the US to work with partners and allies to arm rebels with whatever they need to overthrow Assad.
On Afghanistan, he would pursue "a real and successful transition to Afghan security forces by the 2014-end", as does Obama.
The Obama camp announced the launch of a new video titled 'Mitt Romney: Failing the commander-in-chief test'.