Romney criticizes Obama’s handling of Middle East crises

SOURCE: C-Span.org

Former Massachusetts governor supports arming Syrian rebels & preemptive military strikes against Iran 

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney on Monday blamed the recent upheavals in the Middle East on President Barack Obama’s weak leadership and vowed to restore America’s “strong, confident, principled global leadership”.

Read more: Commentary: Romney’s pathetic attempt to exploit deaths of U.S. embassy staff for political gain

Taking advantage of his post-debate upswing, Romney launched his latest foreign policy offensive just three weeks after he politicized the deaths of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans in Libya on Sept. 11th.

Addressing supporters at the Virginia Military Institute, Romney tried to brand Obama as passive, weak, and ineffective in handling the turmoils in the Middle East, particularly on Iran’s nuclear development and the escalating violence in Syria.

“Hope is not a strategy,” Romney said. “We can’t support our friends and defeat our enemies in the Middle East when our words are not backed up by deeds.”

Read more: Obama warns Iran that time for diplomacy is running out

On Iran, Romney stated that he would tighten existing sanctions and impose new ones to pressure Tehran to stop its nuclear program, which Israel suspects is being used to develop nuclear weapons. Romney also suggested that he would support preemptive military strikes against Iran as advocated by Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu two weeks ago at the United Nations General Assembly.

“I will put the leaders of Iran on notice that the United States and our friends and allies will prevent them from acquiring nuclear weapons capability,” said Romney. “For the sake of peace, we must make clear to Iran through actions—not just words—that their nuclear pursuit will not be tolerated.”

Read more: U.S. & world leaders at U.N. condemn Syria violence, call for Assad to step down

On Syria, Romney attacked Obama for “sitting on the sidelines” for using sanctions to isolate and pressure Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down and providing humanitarian aid and “non-lethal” equipments to help the Syrian opposition coordinate their on-the-ground defenses against Assad’s assaults.

Romney said the U.S. should supply weapons and ammunitions to support Syrian rebels, who are outgunned by Assad’s military.

“In Syria, I’ll work with our partners to identify and organize those members of the opposition who share our values and then ensure they obtain the arms they need to defeat Assad’s tanks, helicopters, and fighter jets,” Romney said.

Obama campaign strikes back with TV ad attacking Romney’s foreign policy record

The Obama campaign struck back against Romney’s attack with a television ad criticizing his foreign policy records and gaffes.

Below is the transcript of the TV ad, “Policy”:

Narrator: 

“‘Reckless’, ‘Amateurish’ – that’s what news media and fellow Republicans called Mitt Romney’s gaffe-filled July tour of England, Israel and Poland. When our U.S. diplomats were attacked in Libya, the New York Times said Romney’s knee-jerk response ‘showed an extraordinary lack of presidential character’. And even Republicans experts said Romney’s remarks were the ‘worst possible reaction’ to what happened. If this is how he handles the world now, just think what Mitt Romney might do as President.” 

“Mitt Romney once again tried to engage the President on foreign policy, and we have a simple message for him: Bring it on,” said Ben LaBolt, National Press Secretary for the Obama campaign. “President Obama has shown time and again that he’s a tough, responsible and steady commander-in-chief. Mitt Romney has shown throughout this campaign that he would be the exact opposite. Behind the tough talk, he’s been erratic, unsteady and irresponsible in his audition on the world stage.”

 

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