ATLANTA—Republican presidential candidate Sen. Tim Scott (S.C.) called for an increase in military spending on Friday, saying that the U.S. military needs to be able to simultaneously go to war with Russia, Iran, and China.
"If we cannot engage in conflict on three different continents at the exact same time our military isn’t prepared," said Scott, speaking at the Gathering, a conference hosted by conservative commentator Erick Erickson in Atlanta.
Scott’s comments come amid a growing isolationist trend among Republican candidates. Vivek Ramaswamy has campaigned on ending aid to Ukraine, while Florida governor Ron DeSantis has said the United States doesn’t have a compelling interest in the European conflict.
Scott said the military must be prepared for conflict in Europe, where Russia’s invasion of Ukraine threatens NATO allies; the Middle East, where Iran’s nuclear ambitions are an existential threat to Israel; and Asia, where China has shown aggression toward Taiwan.
"We have to be loyal to our allies and lethal to our adversaries," he said.
Scott added that President Joe Biden has failed to explain America’s "vital interest in Ukraine," which is "degrading the Russian military" at the "very high price of Ukrainian blood," without putting U.S. soldiers on the ground.
"If we want to make sure that our military never has to step on the soil of Eastern Europe, let's degrade the Russian military" before Putin invades NATO allies, Scott said.
The candidate, who is a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the United States also needs to increase its development of hypersonic weapons and other assets to compete with Russia and China.