The Oct. 28 editorial “Superpower lite” took to task both President Obama and Mitt Romney for “a commitment to retrenchment” and “lowering U.S. aims in the world after a decade of exhausting wars.” As we learned in Vietnam and Iraq, and we and the former Soviet Union learned in Afghanistan, costly military responses to isolated threats bring only a reduction in global influence and benefit to our adversaries.

Mr. Romney’s recent embrace of Mr. Obama’s threat-response policy is not only smart but also welcome. One can only hope that this is only the first of many last-minute conversions on the part of the governor. Mr. Obama’s policies have stabilized, albeit slowly and deliberately, U.S. well-being both at home and abroad, and we would be well-served to have them extended, no matter which candidate wins in November.

Eric R. Carey, Arlington

Military power is not the exclusive way to demonstrate leadership in the world. The United States already spends more on armaments then the rest of the major powers combined. What has it brought us?

A smart military force is both cost-effective and strategically designed, with proper equipment and trained forces, for new types of combat. Witness how many young Americans were killed and horribly maimed by simple roadside bombs because we inadequately armored our vehicles. The United States can exercise moral leadership in the world by signing the treaty on land mines, denouncing torture, working through the United Nations and forgetting the notion of American exceptionalism. Considering ourselves first among equals might be an improvement.

Ernest C. Raskauskas Sr., Potomac