Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Wednesday alleged that US President Barack Obama has demonstrated a lack of clarity on foreign policy, even as he condemned the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi.
Romney condemned the attack, that left the American Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and three other US nationals dead when a violent mob of militiamen stormed the Consulate in Benghazi protesting against a US-made movie deemed offensive against Islam, saying that violence against American individuals and embassies is outrageous.
"It's disgusting. It breaks the hearts of all of us who think of these people who have served during their lives the cause of freedom and justice and honour," he said, adding that America will not tolerate attacks against its citizens and embassies.
"I think President Obama has demonstrated a lack of clarity as to a foreign policy," Romney told reporters in Jacksonville, Florida.
"My foreign policy has three fundamental branches: first, confidence in our cause, a recognition that the principles America was based upon are not something we shrink from or apologise for, that we stand for those principles," Romney said.
"The second is clarity in our purpose, which is that when we have a foreign policy objective, we describe it honestly and clearly to the American people, to Congress and to the people of the world," he said.
"And number three is resolve in our might, that in those rare circumstances where we decide it's essential for us to apply military might, that we do so with overwhelming force, that we do so in the clarity of a mission, understanding the nature of the US interest involved, understanding when the mission would be complete, what will be left behind us when that mission has been terminated," Romney said.
"These elements, I believe, are essential to our foreign policy, and I haven't seen them from the President. As I've watched over the past three and a half years, the President has had some successes. He's had some failures. It's a hit-or-miss approach, but it has not been based upon sound foreign policy," Romney alleged.
The Republican presidential candidate said he and Obama have differences of opinion with regards to Israel and the US policies there, with regards to Iran, with regards to Afghanistan, with regards to Syria.
"We have many places of distinction and differences," he said.
"We joined together in the condemnation of the attacks on American embassies and the loss of American life and joined in the sympathy for these people. But it's also important for me – just as it was for the White House last night, by the way – to say that the statements were inappropriate and, in my view, a disgraceful statement on the part of our administration to apologise for American values," he said.
Noting that the attacks in Libya and Egypt underscore that the world remains a dangerous place and that American leadership is still sorely needed, Romney said in the face of this violence, America cannot shrink from the responsibility to lead.
"American leadership is necessary to ensure that events in the region don't spin out of control. We cannot hesitate to use our influence in the region to support those who share our values and our interests," he said.
Observing that the US has stood witness to an Arab Spring that presents an opportunity for a more peaceful and prosperous region but also poses the potential for peril if the forces of extremism and violence are allowed to control the course of events, Romney said, "We must strive to ensure that the Arab Spring does not become an Arab winter."