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The Right Resistance: ‘Uncle Sucker no more’, the foreign policy outline of Vivek Ramaswamy

With the Labor Day holiday in the rearview mirror, and the traditional start to the fall campaign season upon us, it’s a good time to assess where we stand in the 2024 Republican presidential primary race – and possibly to predict where we’re headed.

It’s safe to say the biggest surprise in the contest thus far is not the enduring popularity of former president Donald Trump, nor the apparent struggles of some of the other candidates. Earlier this year, for example, who could’ve anticipated that the Joe Biden Department of in-Justice would’ve combined with overly corrupted and ambitious state and local prosecutors to bring Trump up on criminal charges? And who could’ve foreseen how the Republican grassroots would respond to them?

No, the biggest non-Trump related development is the emergence of ultra-outsider newcomer Vivek Ramaswamy, a self-made billionaire who burst on the political scene by virtue of his mental bank vault stuffed with ideas and proposals as well as his hustle, energy and aggressive I’ll-appear-anywhere media strategy. Ramaswamy’s face has been everywhere for months now, and the Ohioan seems to possess an uncanny talent for knowing what to say at all the right times.

Polls show Ramaswamy continuing to move up. How far can he go? Some longtime political observers say that Vivek’s “ceiling” could be dictated by his ability to present a coherent plan on his weakest area of experience: foreign policy. To that end, in a well-thought-out opinion piece titled “A Viable Realism and Revival Doctrine”, Vivek Ramaswamy wrote at The American Conservative recently:

“The Washington Doctrine provides apt inspiration of where to begin. I will lead our nation from the bloody follies of neoconservatism and liberal internationalism abroad towards a strategy that affirmatively defends our homeland. We will be Uncle Sucker no more. Rather than spending billions projecting power into global vacuums where our allies will not spend to maintain it themselves, we will put America First again—as George Washington urged—as we recalibrate and consider our true interests...

“As U.S. president, I will respect and revive Nixon’s legacy by rejecting the bloodthirsty blather of the useful idiots who preach a no-win war in Ukraine that forces our two great power foes ever closer. The longer the war in Ukraine goes on, it becomes ever clearer that there is only one winner: China. I will lead America from moralism to realism by executing the inverse of what Nixon did in 1972: I will go to Moscow in 2025. I will deliver peace in Ukraine under the only terms that should matter to us—terms that put American interests first. The Biden administration has foolishly tried to get Xi to dump Putin. In reality, we should get Putin to dump Xi.”

Sounds about right, no? One must give Ramaswamy credit for doing his homework on the world balance of power, and his foreign policy proposals – only a small portion are presented here -- look as though he’s up-to-speed on every region of the globe and what should be done in the future to achieve the goal of restoring American influence while keeping us out of expensive and costly entanglements.

In the process, Ramaswamy makes an awful lot of assumptions and promises that will be awful hard to fulfill. This is expected from a young man brimming with ideas who appears to have no problem seeing situations and devising solutions to age-old animosities. The problem being that the various actors around the earth have their own set of ambitions and aren’t likely to be so neatly impressed by this brainy late thirty-something.

But give Ramaswamy kudos for the effort. If Donald Trump’s foreign policy confidence was generated from his life-long experience dealing with foreign leaders – and built to a large extent on relationships – Vivek’s entrance into the subject seems to be the result of lots and lots of scholarly study and optimistic calculations. Could he pull it off? Call me skeptical, but it would make for a decided shift from senile Joe Biden’s apparent strategy of kowtowing to the powers that paid son Hunter (and the Biden crime family syndicate) the most slush to get him to dance if he ever became president.

Vivek’s largest obstacle in this endeavor is gaining credibility with not only the voters, but also with his jealous competitors in the ’24 race who will relentlessly hammer him on his age and status as a political “outsider”.

If I was surprised by any one segment at the recently conducted 2024 Republican presidential candidates’ debate in Milwaukee (minus the absent Donald Trump, of course), it was the passion displayed by GOP establishment candidates in favor of sending more American tax dollars to (help) fight the war in Ukraine. Ramaswamy and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis were the only ones (at least that I could tell) that didn’t jump on the supposed need to continue to toss money into the senseless meatgrinder rather than push for a compromise negotiated peace, which was shock inducing in and of itself.

On the campaign trail, fellow Indian-American Nikki Haley always says it’s time for younger leadership, yet when it comes to Ramaswamy and his realistic foreign policy vision, she griped “you have no experience and it shows.” Nikki, have you been paying attention the past eight years? Will Vivek’s youth and different worldview hurt his chances?

If the 2016 election and the conservative/populist MAGA promoting Donald Trump didn’t convince most Republicans that neoconservative military adventures were no longer backed by the grassroots, what do they need to sway them now? Where’s the attachment to Ukraine of all places? Something has to give. What are the reasons for designating the Ukraine/Russia conflict as the establishmentarians’ proverbial “hill to die on”?


One, these shortsighted blueblood politicians might actually have a soft spot for Ukraine itself. I’m not sure how – or why -- since the place is half a world away and doesn’t offer many tangible connections to the United States, at least that I can spot. A former Soviet “republic”, Ukraine suffered greatly during the Nazi invasion in World War II, and then languished in the post-war era under the guise of Soviet leaders.

Even today, Ukraine would not be held up as a bastion of freedom and American-style liberty. Its leadership is arguably as corrupt as their Russian counterparts, and, as the Hunter Biden probe has exposed, is knee-deep in buying influence on the North American continent. Wouldn’t this fact alone make sending more cash to the country just a tad suspect?

Two, the Bush-era neocons see Ukraine aid as a full-employment for defense contractors corporate welfare program. It’s not exactly a big secret that defense industry lobbyists have Mitch McConnell in their back pockets, and every time there’s a hint of scrubbing a hugely expensive defense project, Americans get an earful about all the jobs that will be lost in certain districts.

But thanks largely to the Eurasian war on the other side of the world, defense contractors will be busy, busy, busy, replenishing the weapons stocks expended to fight the proxy war in Ukraine!

The mere mention of cutting waste from the defense budget gets the GOP establishment elites up in arms (pardon the pun). China spends a fraction of what the U.S. does for the military and avoids entanglements that would pull money away from their own interests. Perhaps we should send Nikki Haley over to China to advise them on how to conduct their foreign policy.

Lastly, the argument that fighting the Russians in Ukraine keeps us from having to battle them here is pure horsepucky. Nuclear enabled Vladimir Putin has ICBMs to maintain their half of the deterrence equation, and I doubt we’ll be seeing Russian tanks on transport vessels off the coast of Florida.

As to Europe’s/NATO’s defense, shouldn’t the countries be investing in their own protection? This isn’t 1947 any longer, and the climate change obsessed, pacifist Europeans have the resources to protect their own borders if they are really afraid for their skins. Instead, the falsely terrified depend on the old Bush-ian mindset of America protecting the “good guys” everywhere as though it’s a “duty” or an obligation.

Ramaswamy is 100 percent correct in his views on America’s role in Ukraine, one of several reasons why he’s continuing to gain notice in the polls.

The mystery where Ramaswamy’s involved is whether he can sustain his current ascendance and eventually dispatch more established politicians and gain stature to allow him to compete with Donald Trump. Vivek articulates a foreign policy similar to Trump’s “America First” philosophy, but it’s doubtful that a man of Ramaswamy’s age group is going to take voters from Trump – unless the former president starts looking unelectable or weakened by what’s going on in courtrooms around him.

No one is going to beat Ramaswamy on brains, but there’s a question of how the young Ohioan plans to achieve all he promises when he doesn’t really know many folks in Washington and would be starting from scratch, basically. It’s not “on the job training”, as Mike Pence suggested at the debate on the 23rd, yet Vivek will have to convince doubters that he’s up-to-speed and more than just words and pipedreams.

It won’t be an easy task.

Vivek Ramaswamy is undoubtedly the biggest surprise in the current Republican presidential primary race, a distinction he’s earned through wits, hustle and a willingness to mix it up with just about anyone who dares question his qualifications, understanding of the issues or know-how. Ramaswamy’s fearless attitude is a credit to him, but will his flame burn out? Time will tell.

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