Ramaswamy did not detail, even after being questioned, why he was open to a NATO withdrawal. Unsolicited, the candidate added that “I am also open to reassessing US participation in the UN” without further explanation, even after further questions on the topic.
Still, the statement makes clear that Ramaswamy is considering a radical shift in American foreign policy, one that would see the United States withdraw from the alliances and institutions it helped found after World War II. Ramaswamy’s stance means that at least two of the four top Republicans vying for the nomination are skeptical that remaining in such organizations will be beneficial to U.S. foreign policy goals.
If the United States were no longer in NATO, it would lose the commitment of 30 other allies to defend it if attacked. The only time NATO Article 5 was invoked was after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. And leaving the United Nations would mean a loss of the United States’ veto power in the Security Council, possibly giving China and Russia, two of the five nations with that privilege, more influence in the world body.
Ramaswamy resists further entangling the United States abroad and has called for a weakening US commitments to Ukraine and Israel, urging lawmakers to vote “no” on President Joe Biden’s $106 billion aid package, which would boost both countries’ defenses. He told POLITICO on Saturday that the US military aid for Israel’s fight against Hamas should be ‘contingent’ about Israel having a detailed plan for what comes after a ground invasion of Gaza.
Ramaswamy, however, does not seek a total removal of the United States from world affairs. He has promoted military attacks against Mexican drug cartels to slow the spread of fentanyl, and has warned other countries, particularly China, that if they move further into the Western Hemisphere, “have a lot to pay.”
His comments about NATO and the United States are likely to draw more backlash from American foreign policy traditionalists in both parties. Nikki Haley, a former U.N. ambassador and rival for the Republican Party presidential nomination, has been a staunch critic of Ramaswamy, calling him a foreign policy novice, in part because of his stances on Israel.
Ramaswamy and Haley are two of three candidates who will qualify for the next Republican presidential debate in November. The other, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, will join them. Trump, who did not show up for the first debates, is unlikely to appear.