Trump's rival vows to cede Ukrainian territory to Russia, block Kyiv’s path to NATO
A US Republican contender for the presidential nomination has announced he would be ready to recognise Russia’s occupation of Ukrainian territory and deny Kyiv NATO membership, claiming Moscow’s rapprochement with Beijing portends more danger to the United States.
Vivek Ramaswamy, 38, who rose from the dark to one of the high-profile candidates for a Republican presidential nomination, set forth his foreign policy views in a piece published in The American Conservative.
He vows to "[reject] the bloodthirsty blather of the useful idiots who preach a no-win war in Ukraine that forces our two great power foes" — Russia and China — "ever closer".
"The longer the war in Ukraine goes on, it becomes ever clearer that there is only one winner: China," the post goes. "The Biden administration has foolishly tried to get Xi to dump Putin. In reality, we should get Putin to dump Xi."
Mr Ramaswamy also claims he would travel to Russia in 2025 — should he be elected president — and would "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," he wrote.
- Subscribe to LIGA.net in English on Twitter
Mr Ramaswamy’s narrative is resemblant of that of Donald Trump, the most popular Republican contender for the nomination, Oleksandr Kraiev, director of the North America programme at the Ukrainian Prism Foreign Policy Council, a think tank, said.
"He shows himself as a successful businessman, but in a different sector. He is trying to appeal to basic Trumpian themes — for instance, that Washington is a rotten swamp, we have to dry it out, we have to save America," Mr Kraiev told LIGA.net.
"He didn't say ‘make America great again’, but the logic of the narrative goes there. He has little understanding of foreign policy in general and is trying to actively move away from this policy."
Mr Ramaswamy’s foreign policy platform is based on the ‘keep-money-in-America’ mantra, the analyst adds.
"And, accordingly, this is where the Ukraine narrative comes from: ‘Ukraine should not be actively financed, the Russians have not started anything yet, they are fully capable, so let's think about how we can save more American money."
Vladislav Faraponov, head of the Kyiv-based Institute of American Studies, believes that Mr Ramaswamy is now exploiting his mixed background of a child born in a middle-class family who turned a successful businessman to appeal to the Republican base.
"He is quite radical in some of his rhetoric, plus it is very similar to Mr Trump. I got the impression that he expects to work with Mr Trump in a serious way because he openly said that Mr Trump was the best president of the 21st century," Mr Faraponov tells LIGA.net.
"I got the impression that he expects to get closer to Mr Trump, if not in politics, then in business. That is, if it doesn't work out in politics or if Mr Trump wins the primaries and participates in the national elections, he is a ready-made candidate for his [Trump’s] administration."
The next US presidential election is scheduled for 5 November 2024. Messrs Biden and Trump have both announced they would stand. Mr Trump's main rival in the Republican Party is Florida governor Ron DeSantis, who is yet to start his campaign.
Mr Trump has repeatedly opposed aid to Ukraine, praised dictator Vladimir Putin and spoke of a threat of nuclear war. He has made contradictory statements about the war in Ukraine, initially calling for more military aid to Kyiv, but later calling it a ‘territorial dispute’.
Following a flurry of criticism from fellow Republicans, Mr DeSantis called Mr Putin a war criminal and said that Ukraine would win.