Pence Slams GOP Isolationists in Foreign Policy Speech

'Some Republicans abandoning the traditional conservative position of American leadership on the world stage,' Pence says

(Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTERS)
September 19, 2023

Former vice president Mike Pence slammed some of his fellow Republicans for embracing a "dangerous form of isolationism," including opposing military funding to Ukraine, in a speech on Monday.

"Some Republican candidates, including my former running mate, are abandoning the traditional conservative position of American leadership on the world stage," said Pence. "I believe isolationism is just another word for appeasement on the world stage. And appeasement has never worked."

Pence’s strong defense of U.S. global power comes as an increasingly vocal group of Republicans—including members of the House Freedom Caucus and presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy—have pushed to cut military aid to Ukraine as part of a larger policy of U.S. retreat on the global stage.

In a speech to the Hudson Institute—the first in a series of addresses by presidential candidates—Pence argued that the "world needs America to lead again."

The former vice president blamed skepticism about Ukraine aid on President Joe Biden doing a "terrible job explaining to the American people what our national interest is" in Ukraine, adding that "under Joe Biden's leadership, America's standing on the world stage is diminished."

"If we allow Putin to overrun Ukraine, I have no doubt that the day would come soon when Russian forces would cross a border of a NATO ally," said Pence. "That would require our armed forces to go and fight under Article Five of the NATO Treaty."

Pence also argued that U.S. failure to support allies in Eastern Europe would embolden China’s quest for military dominance and encourage Beijing to invade Taiwan.

"You can either be tough on China or you can be an isolationist. You cannot be both," he said.

Pence criticized Ramaswamy’s recent claim that U.S. support for Taiwan should be based on how reliant America is on the country’s semiconductor industry.

"We will stand with a free and democratic Taiwan and sell Taipei the weapons it needs to defend themselves," said Pence. "We will place no timeline on our partnership and freedom with the people of Taiwan, as one of my competitors in this race has already said he would."