Ahead of his first official trip outside the United States, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney
accused President Barack Obama
of "shabby treatment" of Israeli leaders, and promised to be firm against Iran.
"President Obama is fond of lecturing Israel’s
leaders," Romney said Tuesday in his first speech as an official presidential candidate. "He was even caught by a microphone deriding them. He has undermined their position, which was tough enough as it was. And even at the United Nations, to the enthusiastic applause of Israel’s enemies, he spoke as if our closest ally in the Middle East was the problem.
"The people of Israel deserve better than what they have received from the leader of the free world. And the chorus of accusations, threats, and insults at the United Nations should never again include the voice of the President of the United States."
Romney on Tuesday (Photo: AFP)
Romney told a convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Nevada that the US cannot maintain neutrality in the Middle East, but opt to fight the Jihadists in the region. He implied that he intends to demand Egypt
to maintain the peace treaty with Israel in return for aid funding, among other conditions.
Romney promised to prevent Iran from producing a nuclear weapon and said, "There must be a full suspension of any enrichment, whatsoever, period."
He vowed to "use every means necessary" to protect the US and the region from a nuclear Islamic Republic.
"This is very simple: If you don't want America to be the strongest nation on Earth, I am not your president," Romney added. "You have that president today."
Obama's campaign dismissed Romney's upcoming foreign trip, which is to include visits to Britain, Israel and Poland, as lacking in substance, underscoring the Democrats' effort to depict him as a foreign policy lightweight.
But Romney fired back, saying that Obama has compromised the US' leadership.
He charged the president with engaging in the appeasement of Russia
that "began with the sudden abandonment of friends in Poland and the Czech Republic" where the administration of former President George W. Bush had planned to install missile defense systems to guard against Iranian attack. Russia contended the installations would upset the carefully crafted balance of missile forces in Europe.
He also claimed that Obama dismissed the actions of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez
as ones that don't have "a serious national security impact" on the US.
"In my view, inviting Hezbollah
into our hemisphere is severe, serious, and a threat," he said.
Romney further blamed Obama for putting American soldiers at risk by leaking classified details of the military raid that killed Osama bin Laden.