Reno, Nevada (CNN) – Mitt Romney foretold an "American Century" based on military and economic strength Tuesday in a major foreign policy address ahead of his trip to Europe and Israel.
In his remarks, Romney took sharp aim at President Barack Obama, saying policies enacted over the last three years had weakened America's military and reduced America's global stature.
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"The president's policies have made it harder to recover from the deepest recession in 70 years, exposed the military to cuts that no one can justify, and compromised our national security secrets. And in dealings with other nations he has given trust where it is not earned, insult where it was not deserved and apology where it is not due," Romney said to applause at a convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
In his remarks, Romney blasted Obama and his administration for leaking classified intelligence details, and placed blame for upcoming cuts to the military squarely on the White House.
Romney said as president he would usher the United States into an "American Century," one he said would be impossible under policies enacted by Obama.
"This president has diminished American leadership, and we are reaping the consequences," Romney said. "The world is dangerous, destructive, chaotic."
While he was delivering remarks the Romney campaign released a foreign policy white paper, detailing how he would approach military power, including a commitment to add 100,000 active duty troops.
The white paper also addresses policy on individual countries – such as Iran, Syria, Israel, China, Egypt, Russia and North Korea – as well as the hot-button Middle East region, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and Latin America.
Romney compared America to "a watchman in the night," saying leaders must protect the "freedom that defines and ennobles us, and our friends."
"In an American Century, we have the strongest economy and the strongest military in the world," Romney said. "In an American Century, we secure peace through our strength. And if by absolute necessity we must employ it, we must wield our strength with resolve. In an American Century, we lead the free world and the free world leads the entire world."
Romney, who will travel to London, Israel and Poland beginning Wednesday, said in his speech he "wouldn't venture into another country to question American foreign policy." He did, however, question Obama's policy in Reno, saying the president had a penchant for "lecturing Israel's leaders."
"The people of Israel deserve better than what they have received from the leader of the free world," Romney said. "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 heads to Israel at the end of the week to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli President Shimon Peres and Salam Fayyad, the prime minister of the Palestinian National Authority.
In his meetings, Romney will almost certainly be asked for his stance on Iran, which Israel and other Western nations believe is trying to build a nuclear weapon. Tehran insists its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.
On Tuesday, Romney said a "clear line has to be drawn" on Iran's nuclear ambitions: "There must be a full suspension of any enrichment whatsoever, period," Romney said.
Obama, he said, was ineffective in stalling Iranians from progressing on developing a nuclear weapon.
"For all the talks and conferences, all of the extensions and assurances, can anyone say we are farther from this danger now than four years ago?" Romney asked.
Romney said he would remain committed to withdrawing troops in Afghanistan by the end on 2014, a plan also backed by Obama. Romney, however, said Obama's decision was based in politics rather than strategy.
"President Obama would have you believe that anyone who disagrees with his decisions is arguing for endless war. But the route to more war – and to potential attacks here at home – is a politically timed retreat," Romney said.
He continued by laying out his own plan.
"As president, my goal in Afghanistan will be to complete a successful transition to Afghan security forces by the end of 2014," Romney said. "I will evaluate conditions on the ground and solicit 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."
Responding to Romney's assault on Obama's record, Vice President Joe Biden said in a statement that Romney only offered "empty rhetoric and bluster."
“Today, Governor Romney had an opportunity to fulfill a long-standing promise by laying out his foreign policy vision and agenda. He had a chance to say how he would lead as Commander-in-Chief. Instead, all we heard from Governor Romney was empty rhetoric and bluster," Biden said. "He reflexively criticizes the President’s policies without offering any alternatives. When he does venture a position, it’s a safe bet that he previously took exactly the opposite position and will probably change his mind again and land in the wrong place – far out of the mainstream. Or he mischaracterizes our record to create a non-existent contrast."
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