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Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney waves to supporters as he walks to his campaign plane after a campaign rally at the airport in Sanford, Florida November 5, 2012.BRIAN SNYDER/Reuters

I support Governor Mitt Romney for president of the United States principally because he offers the greater hope of restoring our country's economic strength and vitality.

That is the critical issue in this election. In a recent poll, 60 per cent of voters identified economic or fiscal issues as the most important ones in this election, compared with just 13 per cent naming social issues and 7 per cent noting national security.

Voters are probably thinking mainly about their personal well-being, but the long-term health of the U.S. economy is critical also for U.S. national security and, indeed, for the peace and security of the world.

The rise of multiple new powers – not only China but also India, Brazil and others – presents new foreign policy challenges. Before too long, the United States may not even be the world's sole superpower. But that very phrase not only exaggerates the United States's ability to act unilaterally, it underemphasizes the indispensable U.S. role in forming effective partnerships.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) alliance, in which Canada has played a proud part, is perhaps the most successful and influential alliance in history. It is hard to imagine a world as stable as the one we enjoy today without NATO's remarkable contributions over the past six decades.

Not that the world is perfectly stable. Or that NATO and other U.S.-led coalitions are without weaknesses. Or that U.S. policy doesn't often make mistakes. Far from it. Nonetheless, we have enjoyed an unusually long period of peace among the major powers. And, although global terrorists remain intent on wreaking destruction, the 11-year campaign against them has been remarkably successful so far.

Precisely because the international landscape is becoming more complex, U.S. leadership is more important than ever for organizing alliances and coalitions to preserve international stability.

President Barack Obama likes to criticize "false choices," but he presents Americans with a false choice himself by suggesting that we must choose between "nation-building at home" and "nation-building abroad."

But even if the United States were to abandon its entire overseas role – very little of which is nation-building – that would do nothing to improve our dismally slow economic growth; indeed, it would probably slow it. And even such a drastic cut would have only a fractional impact on our ballooning deficits, which are driven mainly by entitlement spending.

The truth is, the United States can't afford not to lead, but it also can't afford to continue leading unless we fix our economy. Mr. Romney understands that U.S. strength is the key to peace and security. He also understands that getting the economy growing again requires removing burdens on business – including the suffocating new regulations and taxes that Mr. Obama offers.

Romney, and his running mate Paul Ryan, have shown political courage in addressing the need to reform popular Medicare and social security programs, which is essential for our long-term fiscal health. They understand the sources of U.S. economic vitality and recognize the need for U.S. leadership.

That is why I will be voting for them on Tuesday.

Paul Wolfowitz is former president of the World Bank, former U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense and a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.