Vivek Ramaswamy Is Just Another Disgusting Warmonger

By Caitlin Johnstone September 10, 2023

He is not meaningfully different from all the other warmongers in the DC swamp.

I’m seeing Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy building up a lot of credibility in some antiwar circles, which is ridiculous because he’s clearly just another disgusting warmonger. He is not meaningfully different from all the other warmongers in the DC swamp.

I say this not because I’m some kind of purity police zealot who lets the perfect become the enemy of the good, nor because I don’t understand Ramaswamy’s appeal among those who oppose war and militarism. I totally get why it would look sparkly and interesting to see someone on the debate stage decrying neocons and wishing professional warmonger Nikki Haley the best of luck on the boards of Lockheed and Raytheon, and on the surface his support for a negotiated settlement in Ukraine looks admirable.

In reality, however, Ramaswamy is just one side of the dynamic we were discussing recently in which the populace is artificially manipulated into a power-serving debate over whether we should support warmongering against Russia or warmongering against China, thereby duping the public into arguing over how warmongering should occur rather than if it should. Ramaswamy is a virulent China hawk whose extreme militarism would greatly increase the risk of war with China if he became president, and the only reason he wants to end the war in Ukraine is to hamstring the PRC while rapidly increasing aggressions against Beijing.

Ramaswamy supports using Ukraine as a negotiating chip to pull Moscow away from Beijing, favorably comparing this approach to the way Richard Nixon exploited the Sino-Soviet split in negotiating to pull Beijing away from Moscow during the last cold war. Ramaswamy says he would negotiate to let the Russian Federation keep the Ukrainian territories it already controls and guarantee no future NATO membership for Ukraine in exchange for Moscow ending its military partnership with China. Ramaswamy doesn’t attempt to address the plot hole that there is no split between Moscow and Beijing to exploit today and that Putin would be an idiot to abandon his carefully cultivated relationship with Xi, but that’s an argument for another day.

The reason Ramaswamy is so eager to uncouple Moscow from Beijing is because he wants to focus the US empire’s firepower on aggressively confronting China (which he ominously refers to as “Communist China” as often as opportunity presents). He wants to rapidly increase the US empire’s encirclement of China, endorsing an “AUKUS-style deal” with India, calling for an increased military presence in the Pacific by France and the UK, and pushing allies surrounding China like Japan, Australia and the Philippines to increase their military budgets in preparation for war.

Ramaswamy has stated that he supports officially ending the policy of “strategic ambiguity” on whether or not the US military would defend Taiwan from an attack by the PRC, and committing to greatly enhancing Taiwan’s defenses “while running at least one destroyer warship through the Taiwan Strait each week.” While he’d previously given the impression that Taiwan would be left to fend for itself by 2028 after the US no longer needed it for semiconductor manufacturing, Ramaswamy has since walked back from that less hawkish position and now says in 2028 the US would simply revert to the status quo of strategic ambiguity.

Ramaswamy frames all this in terms of “deterrence”, with the idea being that China will be so cowed by this dazzling display of military force on its borders that it will play nice and act peaceful, but if Ukraine has taught us anything it’s that such escalations make war more likely, not less. As Geoffrey Roberts has competently argued in the Journal of Military and Strategic Studies, the west’s mad rush to turn Ukraine into a NATO asset likely caused Putin to make the calculation that it was better to fight a war now before a heavily armed super-proxy — potentially with nuclear weapons — could form on Russia’s doorstep.

History shows us that great powers just don’t take kindly to their rivals amassing military threats on their borders. As we discussed recently, the last time a credible military threat appeared near the border of the United States, the US responded so aggressively that it nearly ended the world. The reason the foreign policy “realists” have proved so accurate in their predictions about Ukraine is that they understood that no great power would put up with the things the west was doing in Russia’s immediate surroundings. There’s no reason to believe China would be any different.

Ramaswamy constantly portrays China as a “threat” to the United States — not just to US interests abroad but to the actual country and its people. He babbles jingoistically about Chinese spy balloons and spy bases in Cuba, claiming that China is waging “a modern opium war against the United States of America” by deliberately funneling fentanyl into the US with the help of Mexican drug cartels in order to hurt Americans.

In response to this supposed assault from a hostile foreign enemy, Ramaswamy pledges to reinvigorate the Monroe Doctrine, a 200 year-old colonialist doctrine which asserts that Latin America is essentially the property of the United States and is off limits to foreign competitors. This doctrine never really left — the US has been intervening in Latin American affairs at will to advance its geopolitical interests in some of the most depraved ways you can possibly imagine — but Ramaswamy’s vision is so hawkish and aggressive that he’s been openly pledging to invade Mexico to “annihilate” the cartels using US military force. He also decries the way “waves of leftism have roiled Latin America and created economic instability,” the implication being that the US should increase its efforts to install and maintain rightist regimes south of the border.

So while Ramaswamy may posture as an antiwar populist who hates neocons, in reality he’s just focused on advancing a specific aspect of the US warmongering agenda. An aspect which, as Michael Parenti explained in his book Superpatriotism back in 2004, just happens to be the one agenda that the neocons are most eager to advance:

“The PNAC plan envisions a strategic confrontation with China, and a still greater permanent military presence in every corner of the world. The objective is not just power for its own sake but power to control the world’s natural resources and markets, power to privatize and deregulate the economies of every nation in the world, and power to hoist upon the backs of peoples everywhere — including North America — the blessings of an untrammeled global ‘free market.’ The end goal is to ensure not merely the supremacy of global capitalism as such, but the supremacy of American global capitalism by preventing the emergence of any other potentially competing superpower.”

“PNAC” here refers to Project for the New American Century, a profoundly influential neoconservative think tank which helped pave the way for the surge in military expansionism and interventionism seen in the middle east during the Bush administration. Already back in 2004 Parenti could see that the ultimate target in the neoconservative unipolarist ideology was not Iraq, nor Iran, nor even Russia, but China.

After the fall of the Soviet Union the US war machine established the Wolfowitz Doctrine, which was a policy of ensuring that no rival superpowers emerge that could compete with the United States. Empire managers have long understood that this policy would eventually entail a forceful confrontation with China, because when the goal is unipolar planetary hegemony, there can only be one king.

China has always been the ultimate target in all the major geostrategic maneuverings of the empire in recent years, including Ukraine. Anyone who says they want to de-escalate with Russia in order to escalate against China is just another shitty warmonger like everyone else, because it’s the same agenda. In today’s world, China is the ultimate target of all US warmongering.

Some might object, “Okay, but Ukraine is the problem now and we should support anyone who wants to end that war first and foremost,” but I have no respect for that argument. The time to start fighting against the empire’s war plans for China is right now, because it’s on its way. The less we oppose it now, the easier it will be for the bastards to manufacture consent for that horrifying conflict when the time comes. This is exponentially more true of someone who is explicitly admitting that they only want to de-escalate against Russia to go after China.

Stop buying into this bogus song and dance. Stop buying into this schtick where opportunistic faux populists play into widespread anti-war sentiment while slyly advancing the agendas of the war machine. People bought into it with Trump for four years, and they’re buying into it with Vivek Ramaswamy again.

Are people not tired of having their intelligence insulted?


My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece here are some options where you can toss some money into my tip jar if you want to. All my work is free to bootleg and use in any way, shape or form; republish it, translate it, use it on merchandise; whatever you want. The best way to make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. All works co-authored with my husband Tim Foley.

Bitcoin donations: 1Ac7PCQXoQoLA9Sh8fhAgiU3PHA2EX5Zm2

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Get the latest news and analysis, plus special commentatory from Editor Donald Courter.

You have been subscribed.
Marx, Engels, Lenin