(NBC) - Mitt Romney claimed President Obama made the mistake of pulling back in the Middle East during what was billed as a "major foreign policy speech" at Virginia Military Institute on Monday.
"Our friends and allies across the globe do not want less American leadership, they want more," Romney said.
That goes, said Romney, for the Muslim world, from Libya to Syria to Iran.
He suggested Obama policies in Libya let Al-Qaeda get strong enough to kill our ambassador.
In Syria, Romney would get the rebels heavy weapons, despite the administration fear they'll end in the hands of Al Qaeda, and Romney claimed he'd be tougher on Iran about nuclear weapons.
Romney said President Obama's making it more dangerous by resisting Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's apparent willingness to attack Iranian nuclear plants.
"I know the President hopes for a safer, freer, and a more prosperous Middle East allied with us. I share this hope. But hope is not a strategy," Romney told the crowd.
Romney's remarks, said one expert, are not a strategy either.
"He tried to sound very tough in his critique of Barack Obama today," said Foreign Policy editor-in-chief Susan Glasser. "However, those are mostly rhetorical differences on some of those key foreign policy issues as opposed to actual new tough policies that Romney said he would
be committed to."
The president fired back in an ad set to run in Virginia criticizing Romney's gaffe-filled foreign tour and bungled response to the Libyan crisis, which even fellow Republicans slammed.