With his refusal to go along with lockdowns and mask mandates during the pandemic, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis emerged as a hero to many in libertarian circles. But as his name is now consistently put forward as a prospective or even likely 2024 Republican Presidential candidate, those who view him favorably should take a sober second look. On foreign policy in particular, DeSantis promises to continue the disastrous policies of his predecessors, which have made us uniformly less free, less safe, and much poorer.
It starts with his brief stint in Congress, where as Florida’s 6th Congressional Representative he voted without objection in support of every defense appropriation, as well as voted in favor of H.R. 3364, which expanded the reach of U.S. economic war-making via sanctions. Serving on the Foreign Affairs Committee, then-Representative DeSantis was a guest speaker on the "dangers" of Iranian missiles at the Hudson Institute, which anyone with any knowledge of the D.C. blob knows is just the Project for a New American Century under a new name, as well as advocated the needless and counterproductive US withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Given his previous close relationship with Zionist mega-donor the late Sheldon Adelson and the walking disaster that is John Bolton (the man responsible for the destruction of the IBM and INF treaties as well as the nuclear agreement worked out with North Korea under Clinton), it is sad but unsurprising to find DeSantis on the record repeating obvious lies about Iran supporting ISIS as well as expressing unqualified support for Israel.
This latter support for Israel continued even after he left Congress to take the governorship of Florida, vociferously supporting passage of HB 741, which by reclassifying what constituted antisemitism effectively made criticism of Israel’s numerous documented human rights abuses a punishable offense under certain contexts. In another strong show of his support for Israel, DeSantis traveled to the country in order to visit an Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank.
Of course, the Israel lobby is hardly the only one with DeSantis’ ear. Given Florida’s demographics, it would be surprising were he not closely in tune with the Cuban-American lobby: which he is. As such, his thoughts on Latin American politics are unsurprising. From the election of leftists to so-called narco-terrorism, DeSantis sees threats to America everywhere south of the border.
Then there is his approval of waterboarding, support for direct US military involvement in Syria, embrace of NATO, and propagation of the ubiquitous but fake China threat, signing and forcefully defending two bills aimed at countering the overhyped danger of allegedly pervasive Chinese influence just this year.
In short, a DeSantis presidency would likely bring pointless continued hostility
towards Iran, more needlessly provocative policies toward China, and a Latin
America policy straight from the bad old days of the 1970s and 80s, with covert
and overt US support for authoritarian regimes and terrorist proxy forces of
the kind that got the US labeled a de facto state sponsor of terrorism by the
Court under Ronald Reagan.
Far from being someone restrainers, skeptics, and non-interventionists should embrace, DeSantis represents much of the worst America’s political and policy establishment have to offer. As political analyst José Alberto Niño noted in a recent interview, beneath the culture warrior veneer DeSantis is little more than a neocon in America First populist clothing.
While the JCPOA may have been redundant given Iran’s signing of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, as well as the Ayatollah’s pronouncements against the building of nuclear weapons, throwing it away in favor of increasing hostility was harmful to the interests of the average American – who far from wanting to fight a war with Iran would probably rather have access to Iranian oil. Far from supporting ISIS, Tehran fought it from the beginning, which anyone who knows anything about the Middle East recognizes: why, after all, would Shiite Iran support a bunch of Sunni terrorists trying to overthrow its fellow Shiite regimes in Syria and Iraq?
And Israel, well, let’s just say that following the advice of people like Ariel Sharon and Benjamin Netanyahu has led to seriously bad outcomes for the American people: Iraq Wars Two and Three anyone?
As far as Latin America goes, why is it any concern to the American people whom others choose to govern them? As I have written elsewhere, the apparent southern threat is grossly overblown.
Though its overhyping pales in comparison with the ubiquitous fake China threat, which everyone insists on falling for. A weak middle income country totally dependent on U.S.-led globalization, far from taking over the world, Beijing will be lucky if the Chinese state survives the multi-front disasters facing it over the coming two decades.
In summary, unless he shows signs of wising up come 2024 a DeSantis administration would more likely than not bring nothing but more of the same tried and failed foreign policies that defined the disaster of the so-called unipolar moment. Further, a hypothetical DeSantis presidency risks pulling away conservatives from the antiwar movement, who, apart from no longer enlisting, have grown increasingly vocal in their antiwar opinions.
Americans deserve better and should demand better, because the fact is that since the end of the Cold War the only threats to us have been those our government has created.
A graduate of Spring Arbor University and the University of Illinois, Joseph Solis-Mullen is a political scientist and current graduate student in the economics department at the University of Missouri. An independent researcher and journalist, his work can be found at the Ludwig Von Mises Institute, Eurasian Review, Libertarian Institute, Journal of the American Revolution, Antiwar.com, and the Journal of Libertarian Studies. You can contact him through his website http://www.jsmwritings.com or find him on Twitter @solis_mullen.