By Lisa Desjardins, CNN
(CNN) – Mitt Romney may be trying to separate himself from President Obama.
However, on foreign policy, most analysts have to squint to find much room between the two men on specifics.
Both support tight sanctions against Iran, a firm alliance with Israel, a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, indirect support of the Syrian opposition and full U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan by the end of 2014.
There are degrees of contrast on each of those issues, but the real difference, a very large difference, lies outside the specific issues and in broad philosophy: how the two candidates approach the world and America's role in it.
[2:50] "Mitt Romney is trying to portray himself as a more aggressive leader on national security. Obama is more multilateral, some call it 'leading from behind'. Romney tried (in his Virginia speech) to show himself as someone who would lead from the front, suggesting a potentially more aggressive foreign policy" Leila Halil, director of the Middle East Task Force at the nonpartisan New America Foundation.
In his speech at the Virginia Military Institute Monday, Romney spelled out a philosophy of American exceptionalism and indicated a belief that the U.S. not only has the ability to be a dominant force in the world, but that it has that responsibility.
[3:17] "I believe that if America does not lead, others will, others who do not share our interests and our values. And the world will grow darker, for our friends and for us."
President Obama has also called for American leadership in the world, but not American dominance.
He told the United Nations in 2009, "No one nation can or should try to dominate another nation. No world order that elevates one nation or group of people over another will succeed."
It is a sharp difference on key philosophy: how the U.S. sees itself and its relationship to the rest of the world.
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