What would you do if you were running for president and didn’t have to worry about winning votes, or what the party poohbahs thought of your ideas, or financial security for either
yourself or your family and still have what should be most of your life remaining to do whatever you wanted to do for the foreseeable future?
Some might claim I’m talking about Donald Trump in 2016 – or even now in 2024 – though the actuarial table part of the scenario could rise up to disappoint said individual at some earlier point in the 45th president’s case. Looking at Trump and seeing his face in the news for pretty much every day for the past eight-plus years, you’d almost think the man will live forever, his immortality driven by a yearning for news coverage, his own ego, his lasting drive to Make America Great Again and maybe even his determination to get back at each and every one of his enemies until the score is settled in his favor.
Compared side by side with broken-down president senile Joe Biden, it’s not difficult for Trump to look relatively youthful and full of vigor. Every so often senile Joe’s handlers – and maybe even wife “Dr.” Jill herself -- put in extra effort to make him appear capable of completing two full terms well after his eightieth birthday. It’s remarkable what a little make up and about six red bulls will do for a person, even as decrepit and decomposed as Biden is now.
You’ve got to love that little jog/shuffle senile Joe does every time he’s at an event, with Biden half running up to the microphone as if to show that everything still works, even if most of the people in attendance are watching just to see that he doesn’t trip again.
At any rate, I’m not referring to Donald Trump as the carefree candidate described above. I’m talking about late-30’s entrepreneur and energetic dynamo, Vivek Ramaswamy. As this nominating cycle’s ultra-outsider, Ramaswamy’s made a splash by free-wheeling his campaign, speaking to anyone and everyone who would listen, barnstorming the early states as though they’ll suddenly disappear (who knows, they just might) and, most importantly, offering opinions and policies that shock the political establishment.
Vivek delivered one such proposal recently, concerning America’s longtime NATO alliance, a topic that’s bound to attract a severe retort from the purveyors of the swamp status quo. In an article titled “Ramaswamy says pulling out of NATO ‘reasonable’”, Sarah Fortinsky reported at The Hill last week:
“Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy called the idea of withdrawing the United States from NATO ‘reasonable’ in a brief statement [last] Monday. ‘It’s a reasonable idea that I have considered,’ Ramaswamy told Politico when asked about a Rolling Stone story … detailing former President Trump’s openness to withdrawing from the alliance.
“’I am also open to reevaluating U.S. involvement in the U.N.,’ Ramaswamy added, without providing additional details on his position….
“Ramaswamy’s position on matters related to foreign policy sets him apart from many other GOP contenders looking to take Trump’s place as the front-runner in the 2024 primary. Ramaswamy has been skeptical about foreign aid to Ukraine and further entanglements abroad.”
Tossing NATO and the U.N. to the side was only part of Ramaswamy’s unique view of old, somewhat outdated international relationships. Fortinsky further reported, “On Saturday, Politico reported that Ramaswamy urged a ‘no’ vote on President Biden’s request to Congress for a $106 billion aid package that would help Israel and Ukraine. He also told Politico that U.S. military aid for Israel should be ‘contingent’ on Israel having a plan for the steps that would follow a ground offensive in Gaza.”
Wow. I’d say all but the last provision will not only raise eyebrows, it’ll blow the foreign policy discussion right off the face of the GOP. For far too long, the view that half-century-plus old entanglements were beyond consideration to outright cancel. It’s a long, long subject, but Trump’s suggestion, back in 2016, that the United States would stop footing the entire bill for Europe’s protection from the beast to the east drew gasps of contempt from the “it’s always been that way” and “we’re the guarantor of freedom” screams of horror from the so-called smart set.
Trump merely introduced the view that America’s interests came first. And the views of the people in flyover country would carry greater weight under his leadership – a popular stance that just might have won him enough votes from disenchanted people to elect him president. Trump was good as his word, too, as NATO members’ contributions increased greatly during Trump’s presidency.
Israel, on the other hand, deserves an unconditional pledge of support from the United States because it’s the tip of the spear in the greater war against Islamic radicalism. There’s no ambiguity about who’s right in the Jewish state’s struggle against Hamas, Hezbollah and the other proxies of Iran, the number one state sponsor of terrorism in the world. Iran is bad. Israel is good. We win versus the suppliers of terror. They lose. And hopefully the score won’t be close.
It sounds like Ramaswamy’s on a similar path, and it can’t really be said whether he takes such a position because he emulates Trump and desires to take on the MAGA mantle when he either defeats Trump in the primaries, which he won’t, or possibly inherits the legacy once Trump opts to hang up the loafers and park Trump Force One in the hanger for good.
Or, it could be that Vivek still hopes to be considered for Trump’s running mate, though that possibility seems less likely as the weeks and months go by and Trump’s lead grows and grows. Ramaswamy’s ideas fit within Trump’s framework, but it’s doubtful that the politically brilliant lifelong real estate developer and reality TV star would bet on such a longshot for his number two.
By announcing these forward thinking but unconventional foreign policy ideas, Ramaswamy is perhaps attempting to court additional scorn from the stodgy GOP foreign policy establishment represented by debate foe Nikki Haley, a candidate who seemingly hasn’t met an overseas military venture that she didn’t label “vital” or “crucial”. America’s sons and daughters (and parents, too) should be very worried if Haley’s view prevails. It’s as though the lessons from Iraq, Afghanistan – and Vietnam – weren’t ingrained by those at the top.
Vivek clearly seeks to lay down a marker between his position and Haley’s and Mike Pence’s and Chris Christie’s as well, all pushers of the Bush-ian aggressive overseas policies. NATO leaders must love what they hear from the establishment side of the GOP presidential field this year, because victory by any of the group would return foreign policy back to the early 2000’s. The problem being that much has changed since then, and when you really get down to it, our NATO “allies” didn’t help all that much in the war on Islamic supremacy.
Most of the NATO countries have massive Muslim immigration problems of their own. Is this having a bearing on their thinking? Or is it just “wokism” and emphasis on fantasy theories like “climate change”?
The possibility of the U.S. leaving the United Nations has been kicked around for decades by realist conservatives fed up with the globalist direction of the international deliberating body. The U.N. has never supported Israel and the majority of members aren’t friends of America by any stretch, either. Here, too, Nikki Haley holds a soft spot for the U.N. because she sat there listening to translated addresses for a couple years.
Haley also showed a willingness to consider accepting Palestinian “refugees” from the most recent war with Israel. If there’s a more dangerous idea in today’s day and age, I’d like to hear about it. We should be thankful for Ramaswamy for having the audacity to break with the party’s “accepted thought” and present an alternative.
Certainly by now, Ramaswamy must realize that he’s not going to be the 2024 Republican nominee, as should every GOP candidate other than Trump himself – and perhaps Ron DeSantis. The Florida governor espouses views similar to Trump and Vivek, so clearly, voters will have a choice on which side to lean towards when the time comes. Ramaswamy is confident enough to speak his mind freely since he’s largely self-funding and obviously relishes not being beholden to anyone, least of all the defenders of the DC swamp status quo.
The fact Ramaswamy was bold enough to touch the Republican Party’s DC War-Party third-rail – NATO membership – shows Vivek is ready to speak the truth even if he knows it’ll upset the applecart. As everyone knows, NATO was formed in a different time, when the Soviet Union represented a legitimate threat to the west. Vladimir Putin-led Russia does not equal grave danger – or at least not beyond its nuclear capability. The Russian economy could not sustain a lengthy war with NATO. Can’t people see that?
If the Russian specter is neutralized, doesn’t that fact alone minimize the necessity of NATO in the first place? I agree with Vivek, though a complete withdrawal from the alliance would cause chaos and resentment. The United States needs foreign allies, but they need to pull their weight, especially the large economies.
Why is the United States still paying to defend Germany? Russia’s tanks would have to move through several countries to even reach the WW II aggressor’s borders.
There’s nothing about Vivek Ramaswamy’s foreign policy that’s particularly novel or groundbreaking, but he deserves credit for having the gumption to initiate debate over whether the U.S. should continue to support NATO the way it has for over 74 years. The greatest threat to freedom these days isn’t from Russia – it’s Islamic supremacy. Republicans should be ready to defend their positions.
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