Romney, 65, who is set to deliver a planned foreign policy address today, would call for changing the course America’s diplomacy in the Middle East.
“It is time to change course in the Middle East,” according to the excerpts of his major foreign policy speech to be delivered at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington.
Romney would say that if elected he would put Iran on notice on its nuclear ambition. “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. I will not hesitate to impose new sanctions on Iran, and will tighten the sanctions we currently have,” Romney will say.
“I will restore the permanent presence of aircraft carrier task forces in both the Eastern Mediterranean and the Gulf the region—and work with Israel to increase our military assistance and coordination. For the sake of peace, we must make clear to Iran through actions—not just words—that their nuclear pursuit will not be tolerated,” he will say.
The address will help Romney set the stage for his second presidential debate with the Democratic incumbent on October 16. The next debate, at Hofstra University in New York state, will cover both domestic and foreign policy in a town hall format.
According to Romney the attacks on America last month should not be seen as random acts, and they are expressions of a larger struggle that is playing out across the broader Middle East—a region that is now in the midst of the most profound upheaval in a century. “And the fault lines of this struggle can be seen clearly in Benghazi itself,” he will say.
The attack on US Consulate in Benghazi on September 11, according to Romney is likely the work of the same forces that attacked the United States the same day on 2001. “This latest assault cannot be blamed on a reprehensible video insulting Islam, despite the Administration’s attempts to convince us of that for so long.
“No, as the Administration has finally conceded, these attacks were the deliberate work of terrorists who use violence to impose their dark ideology on others, especially women and girls; who are fighting to control much of the Middle East today; and who seek to wage perpetual war on the West,” Romney will say.
Romney will pledge that his administration would work to find elements of the Syrian opposition who share US values and ensure they obtain weapons needed to defeat Syrian leader Bashir al-Assad’s forces and end his brutal crackdown. “Iran is sending arms to Assad because they know his downfall would be a strategic defeat for them. We should be working no less vigorously with our international partners to support the many Syrians who would deliver that defeat to Iran rather than sitting on the sidelines,” Romney will say. On Libya, Romney will vow to support the Libyan people’s efforts to forge a lasting government that represents all of them, and vigorously pursue the terrorists who attacked US consulate in Benghazi and killed Americans.
While in Egypt, his administration will use US influence—including clear conditions on aid—to urge the new government to represent all Egyptians, to build democratic institutions, and to maintain its peace treaty with Israel. On Afghanistan, Romney will vow to pursue a real and successful transition to Afghan security forces by the end of 2014.
“President Obama would have you believe that anyone who disagrees with his decisions in Afghanistan is arguing for endless war. But the route to more war – and to potential attacks here at home – is a politically timed retreat that abandons the Afghan people to the same extremists who ravaged their country and used it to launch the attacks of 9/11,” he will say.
“I will evaluate conditions on the ground and weigh the best advice of our military commanders. And I will affirm that my duty is not to my political prospects, but to the security of the nation,” Romney will say.