This is the feeling throughout Latin America, where many of our oldest and closest friends feel like the afterthought of U.S. foreign policy.
This is the feeling among our friends in Iraq, where the withdrawal of all U.S. troops has only reflected the administration's wider disengagement from that critical country, which has left it more vulnerable than ever to the malicious interference of neighboring states.
This is the feeling among many of our Afghan partners, who want America to stay in the fight against the Taliban and al Qaeda until it is won, but who fear they will be abandoned by a president who talks far more about leaving Afghanistan than succeeding there.
This is the feeling in India, where a historic improvement in relations under the previous administration has now given way to a lack of U.S. strategic focus and persistent high-level attention that it deserves as one of the most critical U.S. partnerships of the 21st century.
This is the feeling across the Pacific, where talk of a U.S. "rebalancing" to Asia is welcome, especially amid China's growing assertiveness, but where many question whether the reality will measure up to the rhetoric at a time when the president has not signed one new free trade agreement in four years and is proceeding with vast cuts to our defense capabilities.
Sadly, all of these people are not alone in their desire for greater U.S. leadership.
Our friends and allies know that a world with less of America will be a poorer, darker, more dangerous place, and that is why they want us to lead more actively -- not unilaterally or vaingloriously, but confidently, bringing to bear America's unique strength and vision to help solve our greatest common challenges. That is what a Republican administration should deliver.
A Republican foreign policy under Romney would, of course, recognize that America's great power has limits, but it would also recognize that the greatest way to prevent conflict, secure our interests, advance our values, and support our friends is not by disengaging and waiting for problems to emerge, but by leading upfront to shape events in the world for the better. Republicans recognize that our first responsibility is to our allies and partners and that our president should never appear more eager to engage with our enemies than to deepen ties with our friends. Negotiations do not succeed, especially with governments that care only about preserving their own power, simply because the American president makes a speech or promises "more flexibility." And at times, when the dangers to our allies and to us are greatest, as in the case of Iran's ongoing pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability, the best hope for diplomacy rests on the unambiguous threat to act, if necessary, in defense of our interests and values.