In the interview with the Israeli newspaper, owned by Sheldon Adelson, the American casino mogul and Republican financier, Mr. Romney offered no substantive policies for how he would have dealt with Arab governments differently. Neither does he have much history as a Bush-style freedom agenda advocate. Despite the campaign positioning, on the most fundamental international issues, the president and his challenger generally share the same goals, even if they would get there in different ways.
They both would press the battle against Al Qaeda through drones and special operations while drawing down troops in Afghanistan. They both would try to stop Iran’s nuclear program through sanctions and negotiations without ruling out a military option. They both would support rebels in Syria while keeping American forces out of the conflict. Even in areas where Mr. Romney has been most critical, like Israel, Russia and China, it is not entirely clear what he would do differently.
It may be, then, that the real test on foreign policy this year is how voters assess the candidates in terms of their leadership, experience, strength and agility. In other words, the argument may come down to who would be more effective pursuing the same aims, who would do better at asserting American will, rallying allies and confronting adversaries, who would find the right blend of diplomacy and assertiveness.