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DeSantis calls for US-led military alliance in Pacific, ‘economic independence’ from China 

Florida governor says he fears Biden’s weakness in Pacific may lead to war.

Published: July 30, 2023 12:23am

Ron DeSantis, the Florida governor and 2024 presidential candidate, is calling for the United States to create a stronger military alliance in the Pacific to counter China’s rising aggression, as well as wage a strategic decoupling of the American economy from Beijing.

“We need a declaration of economic independence from China. And that's something that will need to be done methodically and need to be done thoughtfully,” DeSantis told Just the News in a wide-ranging policy interview last week in Tallahassee.

DeSantis, the lone 2024 presidential candidate with military service, said the pandemic exposed a significant and unhealthy U.S. supply chain reliance on China, one that would be exploited if there ever was a military confrontation.

“You just can't go where they are responsible for things that we really need,” he said of China. “And so that's going to involve, you know, a very thorough approach. But that has to be done."

He called on American corporations to ease their entry into Chinese markets and blamed 1990s U.S. policy for creating the unhealthy reliance.

“These corporations really need to understand that they're taking on a huge amount of risk by going over and in there, and, you know, I criticize them," DeSantis said. "But I also do acknowledge if you go back at the beginning of this experiment, a lot of U.S. policymakers were telling the corporations to go over there, which was a huge mistake.”

The Florida governor was harshly critical of President Joe Biden’s foreign policy, saying that it risked a military confrontation with China through ambiguity, concession and weakness.

“On Biden's path, my fear is, that the weakness he's showing, is going to lead us to getting into a war with China in the future that we will lose,” he said. “So we definitely need to do more in the Indo-Pacific from a military perspective."

“We have to be able to project hard power in the Indo-Pacific,” he added. “They (the Chinese) are not going to want to do something like invade Taiwan if they see the United States, Japan, Korea, if they see that power there, they're going to take the path of least resistance.

DeSantis said he would like to grow the current Quad alliance in Asia to build a stronger military alliance in the Pacific while avoiding some of the pitfalls of NATO in Europe.

“This should be U.S. led, and it should be based on U.S. interests, whereas NATO is like we write the check for everything, but like globalism and all this other stuff,” he said. “And look, those NATO allies, they're good allies for Europe, but they don't see eye to eye with us on China. Some of them don't." 

He also said: “I think we should have an alliance. I think it's should should operate a little bit different than NATO."

DeSantis said he would like to spare more innovation and technology by increasing the research and development budget at the Pentagon. 

“One of the things I think we need to do more of is R&D through the Defense Department,” he said. “When you look at some of the weapon systems that China is trying to do. We got to get ahead of that.

“What ends up happening with that is there are discoveries that gets spun off, because you're doing cutting-edge research about a weapons system that would not be viable in the private sector,” he added. "I think we need it to make sure maintain our military superiority, but I also think it will end up helping productivity and I think it will end up helping the broader economy.”

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