Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said on May 24 that he would deal with China as the United States’ “foremost geopolitical threat” if he were elected as the 47th president of the United States.
In an interview with Fox News not long after announcing his presidential candidacy on Twitter, DeSantis emphasized the need to recognize China as a threat to the nation and highlighted the growing interdependence between the two economies.
DeSantis drew a comparison with the Cold War, pointing out that during that time, the United States had minimal economic interaction with the Soviet Union.
However, he expressed concerns about the current level of reliance on critical supplies from China, particularly highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic. To address this, he emphasized the importance of restoring critical manufacturing capabilities within the United States.
“We have critical things that we rely on our foremost adversary for. During COVID, it was almost everything,” the Florida governor said.
The presidential candidate proposed the establishment of robust relationships with key allies such as Japan, Korea, India, and Australia. He believes that by working closely with these nations, the United States can effectively counter Chinese expansionism in the Pacific region.
Additionally, DeSantis stressed the significance of recognizing China’s increasing presence in the Western Hemisphere and the potential threats it poses to national security.
“I think we need a 21st-century version of the Monroe Doctrine, where we’re making sure that our own backyard is a freedom zone,” DeSantis said, referring to a U.S. foreign policy position in the late 19th and early 20th centuries that viewed foreign intervention in the Americas as potentially a hostile act.
The recently announced presidential candidate also voiced concern about leftist governments in Latin America inviting Chinese influence into the region, stating that it has negative implications for national security. He called for a proactive approach to counter such actions and ensure the protection of American interests in the Western Hemisphere.
Expressing his dissatisfaction with the current administration’s handling of China, DeSantis criticized President Joe Biden for what he perceived as a lack of firmness in dealing with the country. He suggested that Biden’s approach may even be encouraging China’s involvement in issues such as Ukraine and Russia.
In Florida, the governor has taken a series of measures combatting Chinese Communist Party influence, including signing a bill earlier this month that blocks the regime from buying farmland anywhere in the state or making land purchases within 10 miles of sensitive locations such as military bases, ports, or power plants.
Earlier in May, DeSantis decried “the folly of prior American policies” that allowed China to rise economically at the United States’ expense.
“Remember, they told us if you put China in the World Trade Organization and grant them most-favored trade status that they would end up becoming a capitalist democracy. That’s what the elites were saying would happen.
“In reality, China got much richer. They created a massive industrial base. And they’ve used that to fuel more military and, really, to fortify [Chinese leader] Xi Jinping’s ambitions.
“So that’s just the reality of what happened. The elites in this country let us down.”
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