Mitt Romney laid out his foreign policy vision on Monday in a speech at the Virginia Military Institute, saying "hope is not a strategy" as he tried to distinguish himself from President Barack Obama ahead of the next debate.
"America's security and cause of freedom cannot afford four more years like the last four years," Romney said.
Though it was a good line for the speech, critics have been quick to point out that Romney's approach does not differ greatly from the president's -- at least, not regarding Syria, Palestine or even Iran.
Romney is currently riding a boost in the polls following the first presidential debate. A Gallup poll from three days before the two faced off in Denver showed Obama enjoying a 5-point lead. A Pew poll taken three days after the debate showed Romney surged to a 4-percent lead over the president.
The next presidential debate will focus on foreign policy, so Romney's speech was something of a dress rehearsal. Expectations have been low for Romney in this area, especially since foreign policy is considered one of Obama's strong suits.
On Monday, Romney made an overall argument for stronger American leadership abroad, accusing the president of failing -- especially in the Middle East -- by hoping for change instead of making it happen.
"It is our responsibility and the responsibility of the president to use America's power to shape history, not lead from behind," Romney said.
However, issue by issue, Romney's positions don't appear to differ much from the president's current policies.
In regards to Libya, Romney criticized the administration's response to the attack in Benghazi, saying they incorrectly blamed it on the anti-Islam video that sparked protests across the Muslim world and only recently conceded that it was the work of terrorists. Yet, Romney's proposed strategy of hunting down the terrorists and working with the Libyan government to do it is similar to the president's current plan.
On Syria, Romney said the U.S. should help arm the opposition, saying Obama has let them down; however, the administration is providing intelligence and the CIA has helped allies arm the opposition fighters.
When it comes to Iran, Romney said he would tighten and increase sanctions while working closely with Israel to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear bomb.
"It has never posed a greater danger to our friends, allies and us," he said.
Still, Romney's approach does not appear noticeably different from Obama's either.
In an ad released right before Romney took the stage, the Obama campaign called Romney out of his league, criticizing his foreign trip in July and his response to the attack in Libya.
"If this is how he handles the world now, imagine what he might do as president," the ad says.
Also on Monday, Romney said he will re-commit to a democratic state in Palestine that lives side-by-side with Israel and that Afghanistan will lead a successful transition to Afghan forces -- but there are no concrete plans on either issue.