Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy laid out his vision Monday for what he sees as a foreign policy platform based on realism — which fuses approaches fostered by Presidents George Washington, James Monroe, and Richard Nixon — with a focus on ending the Ukraine war and the looming threat of communist China.
Ramaswamy detailed his approach in a comprehensive American Conservative opinion article published Monday morning. He sees the Washington Doctrine, which Thomas Jefferson described as “Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none,” combined with the Monroe Doctrine and the foreign policies of Nixon’s administration as the guiding formula for foreign relations.
The Monroe Doctrine of 1823 famously signaled to European Nations that the United States bore influence over the Western Hemisphere and warned them not to meddle on its side of the planet, while Nixon’s “cold and sober realism” amid the Vietnam War and Cold War made him the president Ramaswamy most admires in regard to foreign policy.
Ramaswamy cited Nixon’s accomplishments on this front, including ending the Vietnam War, and endorsed the 37th president’s posture that allies of the United States must be responsible for their own national security, with the prospect of U.S. involvement only being a final option.
With the three doctrines comprising the foundation of his platform, Ramaswamy shared his plan to end the Ukraine war with a peace deal centered around America’s interests:
A good deal requires all parties to get something out of it. To that end, I will accept Russian control of the occupied territories and pledge to block Ukraine’s candidacy for NATO in exchange for Russia exiting its military alliance with China. I will end sanctions and bring Russia back into the world market. In this way, I will elevate Russia as a strategic check on China’s designs in East Asia.
Ramaswamy compared the approach to Nixon’s when he visited China in 1972 during the Cold War, understanding that Mao Zedong, the founder of the Chinese Communist Party, was going to be “the driver of the Sino-Soviet split,” writing:
In China, he saw the greatest butcher of the 20th century, Mao Zedong. Yet rather than counting Mao’s crimes or launching a moralistic push for his downfall, he understood that Mao was the driver of the Sino-Soviet split. Nixon could never trust Mao to be a great leader or a saint, but he could trust him to act in his nation’s own interests. Thus it was that Nixon went to China and changed the Cold War forever.
A top concern Ramaswamy expressed on the first day of the campaign, which Breitbart News chronicled, is the prospect that “the combination of our aggressive policy to Russia with a meek policy to China is driving Russia into China’s hands.” He called it “a formula for ultimate disaster.”
Ramaswamy seeks to put the pressure on China through diplomatic, economic, and military means. One facet of the plan includes protecting American interests in Taiwan, though Tawain, which produces much of the semiconductors imperative to the functionality of modern technology, will need to increase its own defense efforts. Ramaswamy, who has called for putting guns “in every Taiwanese household,” said he would also ensure the island nation has the weapons to carry out a rebellion in the event of invasion.
Gearing up for the Chinese threat will require enlisting the help of other global allies, including England, France, Japan, Australia, and, most importantly, in his view, India:
Aside from China, India is the key to our Indo-Pacific policy. I respect India’s realist tradition of non-alignment and equidistance, but I will nevertheless find ways to draw them closer to us and into regional leadership. Right now, India is the world’s largest arms importer, as well as a strong center for technology and engineering. The American defense industry needs time to grow and recover from decades of post-Cold War mismanagement. India can serve as a helpful partner in the meantime. We can use trade and tech transfer to unleash India’s tech and manufacturing might to not just arm India but other regional allies – to transform them from importer to exporter. In a similar way, I will pursue an AUKUS-style deal to share nuclear submarine technology and empower the Indian Navy. The result should be that if there is war in Taiwan, we can reliably depend on India to stand with us in a naval blockade of the Andaman Sea and Malacca Strait—the way of passage for China-bound oil supplies from the Middle East. This possibility alone will further deter China from invading Taiwan.
Economically, Ramaswamy is set on cutting ties with China and relocating supply chains to allied countries, particularly in the Western hemisphere. One industry he identified as paramount is the semiconductor or microchip industry. The Economist noted in March that Taiwan “produces over 60% of the world’s semiconductors and over 90% of the most advanced ones,” meaning a disruption in those markets could be calamitous for the global economy.
He has also previously endorsed halting U.S. business expansion in China, as well as stopping those linked to the CCP from purchasing land in the United States.
Keeping with the theme of the Monroe Doctrine, Ramaswamy also pointed to the Chinese Spy balloons that have traveled over the United States, China’s alleged spy base on Cuba, and ports the country operates by the Panama Canal, emphasizing Monroe would have found all of these to be unacceptable.
Ramaswamy identified threats against the United States from within its own hemisphere as well, particularly at the southern border, via illegal immigration and drug trafficking. While speaking at a luncheon in Rochester, New Hampshire, in February, Ramaswamy said the top two foreign policy issues facing America were economic dependence on China and drug cartels while condemning U.S. involvement in Ukraine.
“Go Bin Laden, go Soleimani on this thing,” he said, vowing to “decimate” cartels. “If this was on the other side of the world, we’d already be doing it, so why wouldn’t we do it if it’s just south of our own border? If the U.S. military has one job, it is to protect the soil that we live on here in the United States.”