Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney delivered a serious and forceful foreign policy speech at the Virginia Military Institute earlier today, criticizing the atrophy of American influence and alliances over the last four years, and emphasizing the importance of clear-eyed American leadership in the world. Greg has already flagged one of Romney’s more memorable lines, “hope is not a strategy,” but there were a number of additional passages worth underlining:

(1) As I discussed earlier, the candidate turned up the heat on the administration over its calamitous handling of the Benghazi attacks, making brief mention of their unraveling explanations:

Last month, our nation was attacked again. A U.S. Ambassador and three of our fellow Americans are dead—murdered in Benghazi, Libya. Among the dead were three veterans. All of them were fine men, on a mission of peace and friendship to a nation that dearly longs for both. President Obama has said that Ambassador Chris Stevens and his colleagues represented the best of America. And he is right. We all mourn their loss. The attacks against us in Libya were not an isolated incident. They were accompanied by anti-American riots in nearly two dozen other countries, mostly in the Middle East, but also in Africa and Asia. Our embassies have been attacked. Our flag has been burned. Many of our citizens have been threatened and driven from their overseas homes by vicious mobs, shouting “Death to America.” These mobs hoisted the black banner of Islamic extremism over American embassies on the anniversary of the September 11th attacks.