By Gram Slattery
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republican presidential contender will make his non-interventionist foreign policy a central plank of his pitch to voters in the coming weeks, he told Reuters, as he seeks to position himself as the least likely candidate in the nominating contest to wade into a foreign war.
In an interview, Ramaswamy said he would formally introduce a pledge on Tuesday in Miami, on the eve of the third Republican primary date, laying out non-interventionist foreign policy principles. If he does win the Republican nomination and later the 2024 general election against Democratic President Joe Biden, Ramaswamy said, he would require all political appointees to sign the pledge, and he would eventually ask other elected officials to sign on as well.
“This will be specifically I will call a litmus test for anybody who is an appointee in my administration and a clear signal to our own supporters,” said Ramaswamy, a 38-year-old tech entrepreneur who is polling a distant fourth in the Republican primary.
Ramaswamy’s introduction of the pledge comes after weeks of sparring with fellow Republican presidential contender Nikki Haley, a former U.S. ambassador to the UN, over foreign policy.
Ramaswamy has said Haley, who ranks third in most Republican primary polls, risks dragging America into a bloody conflict thanks to her aggressive foreign policy stances. Haley favors sending military aid to Ukraine and Israel, positions which Ramaswamy opposes.
It also comes as an internal debate within the Republican Party over America’s role in the world appears to intensify.
Former President Donald Trump, who is the Republican frontrunner, and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who polls a distant second, both oppose military or humanitarian aid to Ukraine, a position that Ramaswamy shares. Haley and former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who is polling in fifth place, favor aid to Ukraine.
According to Ramaswamy, his pledge, dubbed “No to neocons,” will consist of three broad policy positions that signatories must agree to: “avoiding World War Three is a vital national objective”; “war is never a preference, only a necessity”; and “the sole duty of U.S. policymakers is to U.S. citizens.”
“Neocons” refers to neoconservatism, a movement within American conservative thought that tends to advocate for intervention in foreign conflicts.
According to polling and analysis website FiveThirtyEight, Ramaswamy has the support of 5% of Republican primary voters, while Trump is the lead with roughly 58% support.
(Reporting by Gram Slattery; Editing by Leslie Adler)
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