Discover more from The Dossier
Ron The Realist?
Governor DeSantis dismisses the prevailing D.C. narrative on the Russia-Ukraine war, and it offers insight into how a President DeSantis would conduct foreign affairs.
Governor DeSantis has pursued his fight in Florida against Covid tyranny in a manner that is free from an overarching ideological compulsion. This week, Governor Ron DeSantis made his first public comments on U.S. foreign policy in quite some time, and they seem to express that a President DeSantis would maintain this thought process in the way he deals with America’s allies and adversaries.
The Dossier is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
This week, the governor directly addressed a question about U.S. support for the war in Ukraine in an interview with Fox News. It has a lot of significance for two reasons.
First and most obvious is the reality that this signals a potential entrance into the 2024 presidential contest. At the very least, he’s actively testing the waters. As governor, DeSantis has been incredibly disciplined on the issues, and he largely refuses to address questions that he believes are not of concern to Florida residents. This has included not only foreign policy but also matters of interest to other states.
Second, the governor’s answer reveals a lot about his current thinking regarding America’s role in the world.
"They have effectively a blank check policy with no clear strategic objective identified. These things can escalate, and I don't think it's in our interests to be getting into a proxy war with China, getting involved over things like the borderlands or over Crimea," the Florida governor stated. “I think it would behoove them to identify what is the strategic objective that they're trying to achieve, but just saying it's an open-ended blank check, that is not acceptable."
In his opening salvo, Governor DeSantis rightly challenges the notion that Vladimir Putin is on some kind of Hitleresque campaign to take over the whole of Eastern Europe, adding that Moscow is in his view a “third-rate military power."
There's a reason over 4 million people start their day with Morning Brew - the daily email that delivers the latest news from Wall Street to Silicon Valley. Business news doesn't have to be boring...make your mornings more enjoyable, for free.
The Governor seemed to ground his analysis in realpolitik, highlighting that this contested strip of land, positioned some 5,000 miles away, is not strategically significant to the defense of the United States. Moreover, he recognized that there are negative implications for continuing to ratchet up the pressure. DeSantis gave his take of the current geopolitical chess board without committing himself to any ideological bumper stickers or moralizing slogans.
Indeed, the idea that Russia has the capacity and/or the expressed mission to pursue continental conquest is of course laughably absurd. Nonetheless, it remains a prevalent and even widespread talking point among the think tankers in Washington, D.C., who are known to deploy World War II analogies in order to secure funding for their favorite weapons companies.
“The fear of Russia going into NATO countries and steamrolling is not even coming close to happening,” DeSantis added, contesting the Current Thing narrative surrounding Russia’s objectives beyond eastern Ukraine.
It’s quite significant that Governor DeSantis has made it clear that he does not accept the prevailing D.C. narrative, because this narrative has become popular both with the Biden Administration and the Uniparty members in Congress.
It speaks to a governor who — as his track record has shown with Covid hysteria and other major issues involving Floridian freedoms — is willing to buck the narrative and craft policy independent of the blob.
As his comments made clear, Ron DeSantis is not some kind of Wilsonian, neoconservative, or liberal internationalist akin to the Bush and Obama/Biden administrations.
The retired Navy officer, who deployed to Iraq in 2007, and had somewhat of a hawkish reputation during his few years in Congress, has clearly come a long way in the process he uses to thinks about U.S. foreign affairs. The neoconservative and liberal internationalist White House administrations of the post 9-11 era have been an unmitigated ideological foreign policy disaster, and the Florida governor appears to acknowledge that America is due for an ideological course change. In the coming weeks and months ahead, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Governor DeSantis continue to speak about America’s role in the world moving forward.