Background on the candidate’s statements, positions, and record on diplomacy, global development, and U.S. international affairs programs.
A biotechnology entrepreneur and author, Vivek Ramaswamy has described his view of American leadership in the world through a distinctly “America First” lens, while also noting the power of America’s example.
As a candidate with less traditional foreign policy experience, Ramaswamy has staked out bold foreign policy positions, calling for the U.S. to end assistance to Ukraine and for U.S. companies to stop doing business with China.
On the war in Ukraine, he has stated that “I do not think that’s a top foreign policy priority for us” while adding that “I don’t think it is preferable for Russia to be able to invade a sovereign country that’s its neighbor, but I think the job of the U.S. president is to look after American interests.”
While he has not put forward significant policy proposals on how he would use diplomatic and development tools to advance U.S. interests, his voice on the campaign trail has often contrasted global engagement against “suffering here at home.”
Ramaswamy is the first Republican millennial candidate to run for president and would be the first president of Indian descent.
On U.S. global leadership:
- Ramaswamy has described U.S. leadership through power of America’s example, stating, “I think the best way we give hope to the free world is by being that shining city on a hill, not going somewhere else and talking about it with tanks behind us while actually suffering here at home.”
- In a podcast interview, Ramaswamy has stated that “American exceptionalism is about demonstrating through our example how America is strong when we live by our example and our values.”
- Anchoring his world view through the lens of sovereignty, he has stated, “I stand for Ukraine pursuing a Ukraine first policy. Poland should pursue a Poland first policy. But as a nation, we in America should unapologetically embrace America first and ask what affects our national interests.”
On U.S. foreign assistance:
- Ramaswamy has described a “litmus test” for how he would use “federal dollars abroad.” He has stated, “Even when it comes to foreign aid – even Africa and other parts of the world – I think those are problems that need to be solved. But using the U.S. taxpayer or military resources to do it has to answer a narrow question of how it actually advances the American interest.”
- He has also suggested that the U.S. could cut aid to Israel but that doing so “would have to be part of a broader disengagement with the Middle East” adding that “I would not do that as an isolated policy.” He later clarified that he was “opposed to selectively criticizing U.S. aid to Israel.”
On the global competition with China:
- In a podcast interview, Ramaswamy has stated that the “top military threat we face” is “the China-Russia alliance.” As president, he has stated that he would “deliver a peace deal in Ukraine” to “drive a wedge between China and Russia which would upend the bilateral international order which favors China, in favor of a trilateral order where none of the three nuclear superpowers are allied. This advances U.S. interests while reducing the risk of war with either Russia or China.”
- In a campaign interview, Ramaswamy has connected his view on “pulling apart the Russia-China alliance” to preventing an invasion of Taiwan. He has added that “If Russia’s no longer in Xi Jinping’s camp, then China will have to think twice before going after Taiwan. That is how we deter the invasion of Taiwan while avoiding going to war.”
- He has called for an end to “strategic ambiguity” on Taiwan, and suggested that U.S. commitments to help defend Taiwan would end as soon as the U.S. has semiconductor independence. He has stated, “we will not take the risk of war that risks Americans lives after that for some nationalistic dispute between China and Taiwan.”
- On the economic front, he has called for the U.S. re-enter the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement “with the allied nations in the Indo-Pacific in order to put ourselves in a position to actually decouple from China.” He has also stated his view that “we need to ban U.S. companies from doing business in China, until the CCP either falls or reforms its behaviors” adding that “I’m a hardliner on that, and I am not budging.”
- He has called for “using every financial lever we have available” to “hold China accountable for unleashing hell on the world with the COVID-19 pandemic.”
On the war in Ukraine:
- Ramaswamy has stated that the war in Ukraine is not a foreign policy priority for the United States. He has noted that “I don’t think it was a good thing that Russia invaded Ukraine, it’s not like I’m rooting for Russia to win this” but has added that “I think the job of the U.S. president is to look after American interests.”
- He has characterizedS. support for Ukraine as an “ill-defined way” of “pouring more money into a war that I think is destined to become Vietnam, or Iraq all over again.” He has exclaimed that, “We have to end this war, we can end this war and start prioritize prioritizing the interests of actual U.S. citizens here at home.”
- In an interview in New Hampshire, Ramaswamy has further said that as president that “he would not spend any more resources directly supporting Ukraine. That’s where I land on that, and I believe in giving clear answers.”
- If elected, he has stated that he “would negotiate a deal that ends the Ukraine war” and “freeze the current lines of control.” He has said “that means giving part of the Donbass region to Russia” and that he “would make a hard commitment that NATO never admits Ukraine to NATO” but that as another result would be that Putin “would have to exit his military partnership with China.”