It seems pretty safe to wager that if a Republican wins in 2024, they will be starting up a new conflict with any one of the countries mentioned in the third Republican primary debate Wednesday night.
If there was ever any doubt that Republicans running for president in 2024 will start up another needless war, let that myth be dispelled after the third GOP debate. Whether it’s North Korea, China, Mexico, Iran, Russia, or Venezuela, one major distinction between the candidates seems to be which country they’ll bomb first.
Off the bat, South Carolina Senator Tim Scott shredded “diplomacy only” as a “weak” strategy, saying “appeasement” leads to war. Scott vowed that if elected president, he would “cut the head off the snake” by bombing Iran: “My foreign policy is simple. You cannot negotiate with evil, you have to destroy it.”
Nikki Haley, a former board member at Boeing, echoed Scott’s dream of kicking off another catastrophic war in the Middle East and claimed that without Iran, there would be no Hamas in Gaza, no Hezbollah in Lebanon, no Houthis in Yemen, and no “Iranian militias” in Syria and Iraq to target U.S. troops still occupying both countries.
If mentions are any indicator as to which country is next on America’s long imperial hit list, it would be China.
Vivek Ramaswamy tried to differentiate himself from the hawks by offering a brief monologue about neoconservative wars in Iraq and Syria, yet still neglected to use his platform to call for pulling troops from either country.
Instead, he spent a portion of his time on the debate stage defending Israel’s “right to defend itself”—a phrase which has essentially become a euphemism for Israel’s “right” to bomb and kill with total impunity. According to Ramaswamy, Israel should “smoke terrorists” on their southern border, while in the U.S., he plans to do the same to “terrorists” along the border with Mexico.
Ramaswamy has also made it clear in past comments that he would launch strikes inside Mexico with—or without—the country’s permission, a sentiment shared by his more openly hawkish counterpart, Nikki Haley.
Asked what her colleagues at the United Nations would think if her administration launched U.S. attacks inside Mexico without approval from the country’s government, she scoffed and openly admitted she “doesn’t care.”
Likewise, Florida Governor Ron Desantis was also curling his heel-covered toes with absolute joy at the thought of what would likely become a U.S. war with Mexico, openly stating his intent to send U.S. troops to the border: “I’m going to stop the invasion cold,” he said. “I am going to deport people who came illegally, and I’m even going to build the border wall and have Mexico pay for it like Donald Trump promised.”
Additionally, Desantis said he would “turn the screws” on oil-rich Venezuela and reinstate economic sanctions against the country, all while emphasizing that he believes the “top threat” facing the U.S. comes from China.
The other GOP candidates appeared to share his fear.
On at least two separate occasions, Ramaswamy referred to China as “our enemy” and promised to “get tough” with them once the U.S. declares “economic independence.” Ramaswamy also provided what was an otherwise accurate critique of Ukraine’s failing democratic values, but then proceeded to condemn U.S. involvement in the war because it is “driving Russia into China’s hands.”
Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie labeled China, along with Iran, Russia, and North Korea, as part of the “Evil Foursome” while warning that if it isn’t stopped, Russia would try to “put the old band back together” and invade Poland.
And Nikki Haley called for arming Taiwan to deter China and bragged about how she once negotiated with both China and Russia to impose the “largest set of sanctions against North Korea in a generation.”
If mentions are any indicator as to which country is next on America’s long imperial hit list, it would be China. According to a debate transcript, China was mentioned by name approximately 61 times. Iran was a close second, coming in at 31. Following these, Russia came in at 21, Mexico at 11, Venezuela at 10, and North Korea at two.
In any case, it seems pretty safe to wager that if a Republican wins in 2024, they will be starting up a new conflict with any one of these countries—assuming, of course, Biden and the blue wing of the two-party war machine doesn’t beat them to it first.
This piece was originally published in The Screeching Kettle.