ALEXANDER GRAY: Only Ron DeSantis Can Complete The Foreign Policy Revolution That Trump Began

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ALEXANDER GRAY: Only Ron DeSantis Can Complete The Foreign Policy Revolution That Trump Began


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Editor’s note: Big Tent Ideas always aims to provide balancing perspectives on the hottest issues of the day. Below is a column from former Trump official Alexander Gray arguing that Ron DeSantis has the foreign policy chops to be president. You can find a counterpoint here, where commentator Judah Friedman argues that former President Donald Trump would make the best commander in chief because of his foreign policy track record.

I went to work for Donald Trump shortly after he secured the 2016 Republican presidential nomination and spent exactly four years in his White House, departing on January 20, 2021 as one of the last two Trump appointees to exit the West Wing. I was privileged to witness firsthand the revolution in American foreign policy initiated by President Trump, refocusing Washington’s attention on Great Power competition, principally with China, and adapting the machinery of the U.S. Government for what promises to be a decades-long rivalry with Beijing. Mr. Trump worked assiduously to rebuild American military power; to align U.S. trade and national security policies; and to demonstrate American willingness to uphold its core interests globally after eight years of Obama-era vacillation. Historians will judge the Trump foreign policy as the most successful and significant since Ronald Reagan.

Under the Biden Administration, the global situation is at its most perilous in decades, with China daily escalating its threats against Taiwan, Russia waging a horrific war of conquest against Ukraine, and Iran racing toward nuclear breakout. The Western Hemisphere is increasingly under threat, with leftist regimes on the march and Moscow and Beijing deepening their presence. America’s defense industrial base continues to shrink, posing challenges for the supply of Ukraine, let alone the potential defense of Taiwan. And asymmetric threats, from attempts to undermine the dollar as the global reserve currency to catastrophic space and cyber attacks, proliferate.

As the 2024 presidential campaign begins in earnest and Republicans look for the candidate best able to complete the foreign policy revolution begun by Mr. Trump, it is time to look past our 45th President. The threats faced by the United States today must be tackled with unwavering discipline, relentless commitment to the national interest, and a demonstrated disinterest in the opinions of policy and media elites in New York and Washington, not to mention the daily social media noise. The next Republican President must surround themselves with personnel who are both loyal to his policies and competent to implement them effectively. Simply talking about the problems we face is no longer sufficient.

Take the many sound policies Mr. Trump began but which remained incomplete or not fully realized upon his departure from office. Mr. Trump’s promised buildup of the U.S. Navy to 355 ships never materialized because his own appointees at the Pentagon did not share that goal. His numerous efforts to push even firmer policies against China’s depredations met constant internal resistance from members of his own Cabinet. And Mr. Trump’s trade policies rarely saw fruition due to unending discord within his economic team, nearly all of whom vehemently disagreed with his views.

The core tenets of the Trump Administration‘s foreign policy are needed now more than ever. Yet only one candidate has demonstrated the courage, competence and determination to continue that legacy and expand it to meet the threats of the 2020s. Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) has repeatedly shown the executive skills needed to assemble a top tier team to actually implement a realistic vision for American foreign policy in a dangerous world. Mr. DeSantis has faced unrelenting attacks from a partisan media during his governorship and has stayed the course, boasting an enviable record of conservative accomplishments. His leadership in Florida has offered a glimpse of what steady, resolute Republican stewardship can portend for the country at large.

Mr. Trump’s foreign policy legacy is secure. He successfully began the painful process of readjusting American power to the post-9/11 world and developing the strategies needed to confront the China threat. Beijing is inching ever closer to conflict with Taiwan, forcing the next President to potentially confront the first Great Power war since 1945. They will not have the luxury of engaging in social media feuds, incessant bureaucratic bickering among their own appointees, and ever changing shifts of focus. The 47th President must be wholly committed to the prudent use of American power to secure our interests in an unstable world and have the demonstrated ability to act upon that conviction. I believe that man is Ron DeSantis.

Mr. Gray served as Deputy Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff of the White House National Security Council, 2019-21.

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The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

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