Former Massachusetts governor and 2008 GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney sharply criticized President Obama's foreign policy message on Tuesday.

Romney, who is considered by some observers to be a strong 2012 GOP presidential contender, penned an op-ed on the National Review's website. In it, the former governor criticizes Obama for his performance on recent trips to Europe for the G-20 summit and Latin America.

The Republican blasts Obama for not firing back at Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega after he criticized America. Obama's actions, Romney wrote, show he isn't standing up for the country.

"But last week, even as American soldiers sacrificed blood in Afghanistan and Iraq to defend liberty," Romney wrote. "President Obama shrank from defending liberty here in the Americas."

Romney also joined the Republican chorus that has expressed their displeasure with Obama for his handshake with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez as well as his response, or lack of preemptive action, to North Korea's missile test. On Monday, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) said footage of the handshake would be used for anti-American propaganda throughout the world. And Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) told CNN on Sunday that the handshake was "irresponsible."

Ultimately, Romney said Obama's early foreign policy message shows that he is not committed to specific notion of freedom.

"The leader of the free world has been a timid advocate of freedom at best," Romney wrote. "And bold action to blunt the advances of tyrants has been wholly lacking. We are still very early in the Obama years - the president will have ample opportunity to defend America and freedom, and to deter nuclear brinkmanship. I am hoping for change."

Romney has seen his stock rise among the field of potential 2012 potentials since the election. Since he is out of office, he has been able to adroitly pick his spots to step into the national conversation. It's interesting that Romney would choose foreign policy, which, compared to economic issues, wasn't considered his strongest arena during the campaign. This op-ed suggests that he may be attempting to bolster his foreign policy credentials.

jeremy.jacobs@thehill.com