On August 17, 2023, Vivek Ramaswamy, a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, participated in the Richard Nixon Foundation’s 2024 Presidential Policy Perspectives series at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library.

Vivek Ramaswamy’s Remarks at the Nixon Library, August 17, 2023


It’s an honor to be here. I just came here from the house where Richard Nixon grew up, and I’m still a little awestruck by the good fortune I had to play the piano that Richard Nixon played. He continues to reveal a lot of commonality that I aspire to, in a man who deserves to be remembered for what he actually did to our foreign policy, which will become the main subject of my speech this evening.

Before I get into that, I wanted to share a little bit of background with you, I see some familiar faces, but mostly new, a little bit about my background and why I’m in this race for U.S. president. And that’ll bring me to the doorstep of actually how we commemorate Nixon’s legacy. My parents came to this country 40 years ago with no money. In a single generation, I have gone on to found multi-billion dollar companies, and did it while marrying my wife, Apoorva, and raising our two sons. That is the American dream.

And I am deeply worried that that American dream will not exist for my two sons and their generation. I believe today we’re in the middle of a national identity crisis. Faith, patriotism, hard work, family. These things have disappeared, only to be replaced by new secular religions in American life. Wokeism, transgenderism, climatism, Covidism, globalism. Depression, anxiety, fentanyl, suicide. These are symptoms of a deeper void of purpose and meaning in our country. And I speak to you today as a member of my generation. I’m 38 years old. I’m the youngest person ever to run for U.S. president, as a Republican. Thank you, I appreciate that. Thank you. And I’m rooting for victory.

Vivek: Thank you. And I’ll tell you what’s going on in our generation, right? Millennial, what’s going on with the millennials. We are hungry for a cause. We are starved for purpose and meaning and identity. At a time in our national history when the things that used to fill our void, faith, patriotism, belief in God, nation, the things we talked about, when those have disappeared, that leaves a moral vacuum in its wake. And I think that that presents our opportunity.
I’m not speaking to conservatives. I’m speaking to Americans. That is our opportunity to step up and to fill that void with a vision of what it means to be an American today. You ask people my age that question, what does it mean to be an American? Try it. You get a blank stare in response, like a deer in the headlights reaction. That is the vacuum. That is the void. And for a long time, especially in the conservative movement, we have been running from something. Now is our moment to actually start running to something.

To our vision of what it means to be a citizen of this nation. What does it mean to be American? To me, it means we believe in the ideals that set this nation in demotion 250 years ago. Ideals like meritocracy and the pursuit of excellence. The idea that you get ahead in this country, not on the color of your skin, but on the content of your character and your contributions. That is why I’ve said I will end affirmative action in America. It’s been a cancer on our national soul, and we are done with it.

What does it mean to be American? It means we believe in the rule of law. I say this as the kid of legal immigrants to this country. We should be open to immigrants like them. But your first act of entering this country cannot break the law. That is why we’ll use our own military, not to secure somebody else’s border somewhere else, but to secure our own southern border in this country, in the United States of America.

What does it mean to be an American? It means we believe in this radical dream that our founding fathers had 250 years ago. It means we believe in a radical dream that Richard Nixon had half a century ago. A radical dream that I have as a citizen today, that the people who we elect to run the government ought to be the ones who actually run the government, not the deep state managerial bureaucracy that actually runs the show today. That is why I’ve said that, you know what? If I can’t be your president for more than eight years and collect a paycheck from you all the hardworking taxpayers for that long, which I think is a good thing, then neither should any of those federal bureaucrats reporting in to me either.

Eight year term limits for the bureaucracy over civil service protection. That is what it means to revive accountability in government. If there are government agencies that should not exist or which have become so corrupt that they have abandoned their original purpose, from the FBI to the IRS, to the ATF, to the CDC, to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, to the U.S. Department of Education, we will not just reform them, we will get in there and shut it down. That is how we revive the integrity of a constitutional Republican.

These are not Democrat ideas or Republican ideas. These are not black ideas or white ideas. These are fundamentally American ideals, that we fought a revolution for in 1776, where we said we, the people, create a government that is accountable to us, not the other way around. That we, the people, settle our differences through free speech and open debate in the public square where every citizen’s voice and vote counts equally. Not in the back of palace halls in old world England, not in the back of palace halls in the back of a three-letter government agency building in Washington D.C., or BlackRock’s corner office on Park Avenue in Manhattan. We, the people, settle these differences in a republic.
The thing that motivates me is that, you know what? November, 2024, that is not a destination. That is the starting line. The destination for us in our next leap will be January, 2033, when I leave office. And we drop the mic. I’ll tell my two sons, my oldest son, he won’t even be in high school yet, I wanna tell him what we actually did. I wanna tell you all what did we actually do? It’s not a lot a U.S. president can do, but there’s a few things that we can do, actually, without asking anybody for permission.

I will tell you that we no longer have four branches of government. We’re back down to three, okay? That we laid off properly, 75% of the federal employee headcount in Washington, D.C., 75% can go home and find honest work. I will tell you that we are no longer dependent on our enemy, communist China, for our modern way of life. We are independent in the United States of America. I will tell you that our economy is once again growing at the fastest rate in the developed world, because we embrace capitalism instead of apologizing for our growth.

And most importantly, I will tell you that my two sons and their generation, that they’re once again proud to be citizens of this nation. I believe that is possible. I believe we together can create a country that they can be proud of again. For a long time, we have been taught, I have been taught, grew up into it for the last 20 years, to celebrate our diversity and our differences. So much that we forgot all of the ways that we are really just the same, as Americans. Bound by a common creed that set this nation into motion 250 years ago. I believe deep in my bones, those ideals still exist, and I believe that we together can revive them.

E pluribus unum. From many, one. That is the dream that won the American Revolution. That is the dream that reunited us after the Civil War. That is the dream that won us two world wars and the Cold War. That is the dream that still gives hope to the free world. And if we can revive that dream over group identity and victimhood and grievance, then nobody in the world, not a nation, not a corporation, not a virus, is gonna defeat us. That is what American exceptionalism is all about, and that is what we will revive to save this great nation.

And the way we do it, thank you, the way we will do it is by remembering the great men and women that led us 250 years in to get here. One of those great men was none other than the man who we commemorate in this library today, Richard Nixon. He’s misunderstood. I think he is by far, by and away, the most underappreciated president of our modern history in this country, probably in all of American history. He was somebody who had a deep skepticism for the bureaucracy that sucks the lifeblood out of a constitutional republic.

He was unafraid to surround himself with people who challenged him, knowing that we are the best versions of ourselves, not when we are surrounded by sycophants, but when we are surrounded by the people who push us to be the best versions of ourselves. He understood that the path to truth runs through free speech and open debate. That is itself the foundation of this nation. He was also, when it came to our foreign policy, someone who revived the spirit of George Washington’s farewell address to this nation. Richard Nixon, like I aspire to be, was a George Washington America first conservative.

He was deeply pragmatic. He was a realist who believed that the job of the U.S. president above all was, who would’ve ever thought, to advance the interests of Americans who live in the United States of America. That is a spirit we would do well to remember today. So I’m gonna use tonight as an opportunity to lay out my foreign policy vision for where we’re going in the next generation of our engagement on the global stage. And it will revive that spirit of Nixonian realism.

It is why it was important for me to be here in person today, to make this announcement here, in the Nixon Library, where much of that wisdom resides. We live in a moment right now when actually, they say the worst ideas in Washington are bipartisan. Our engagement in the Ukraine War continues to prove that, if you ask me. But the way we’re gonna actually do this is by transitioning from an era of neo-conservatism and liberal hegemony to an era of realism and unapologetic American nationalism where we stand for our national interests on the global stage.

The North Star of my foreign policy will be the modern Monroe Doctrine combined with Nixon’s Doctrine. The Nixon doctrine was that other nations have to be the first protectors of their own national security. I agree with that. We will revive that. And I combine that with the modern Monroe doctrine, a doctrine that we will re-implement under my watch as U.S. President, which says that if you’re a foreign nation, you do not mess with the United States of America on our own home soil. You do not test us on our waters or in the Western Hemisphere. And if you do, you will have hell to pay for it. No Chinese spy balloons flying over half the United States.

No Chinese spy bases off the southeast coast of the United States. No Chinese-manufactured fentanyl in the hands of Mexican drug cartels waging a modern opium war on the United States of America. But it also means that we will not fight somebody else’s war if they’re not actually defending their own territory either. The first accomplishment that I hope to deliver in my foreign policy agenda as U.S. President will therefore be to end the Ukraine war on terms that advance American interests.

I refuse to use our own military resources to defend against an invasion across somebody else’s border when we should be using our own military to defend against the invasion across our own southern border in this country, the United States of America. And in ending that war, I will borrow from none other than our main man tonight, Richard Nixon, who traveled in 1972 to China to pull a maneuver that only he could have pulled off. Nobody else other than Richard Nixon could have done it, because it was his own vision.

You know, if you’re gonna actually find one of those rare moments to reassert American interests on the global stage, you can’t be just a vehicle for somebody else’s agenda. In fact, much of the managerial class underneath him resisted the decision that he made, because they said, “You can’t trust Mao Zedong.” Well, Richard Nixon knew we couldn’t trust Mao Zedong, but he knew we could trust Mao to follow his self-interest if Mao could trust us to follow ours. And that’s what he did. He did it out of strategic necessity.

Yes, other presidents thereafter in the decades that came after, messed that up with the doctrine of Democratic capitalism that then took that to the next level thinking that we were gonna export Big Macs and Happy Meals, and somehow that was gonna spread democracy to places like China. That didn’t work. That was a bipartisan consensus through the 1990s. But that wasn’t Nixon’s vision. Nixon’s vision was to recognize that the chief threat that the United States faced, the Cold War that we were actually in, was not with Red China, but was with the USSR.

And he recognized that Mao was in a strategic relationship with Brezhnev, with the USSR at the time that posed, together, an alliance that truly threatened American interests on the global stage. And so he did what he needed to do. He traveled to China to pull Mao Zedong out of that alliance with Brezhnev. And that was the beginning of our path that allowed Reagan to be on the strong footing to bring us to the near end of the Cold War itself.

Well, I have a news flash for the modern neoconservative establishment, the modern propagators of liberal hegemony. The good news is that the USSR does not exist anymore. An alliance, NATO, that we formed to deter the spread of the USSR, to deter the possibility of nuclear war with the USSR, that alliance has now expanded more after the fall of the USSR than it ever did during the existence of the USSR. The real threat we face today, the equivalent of the USSR that Nixon faced is actually communist China today.

We have to open our eyes to the fact that we’re not in the 1970s anymore. We live in the year 2023, and we must awaken to the real threats that we face. Now it’s an anime who we depend on for our modern way of life. And today, once again, how history comes full circle, the Russia-China Alliance represents the single greatest military threat that we face in the U.S. today. Russia’s hypersonic missile capabilities and nuclear capabilities outstripping that of the United States, combined with China’s naval capacity in the South China Sea that outstrips that of the United States.

Combined with being an economy that we depend on for the shoes on our feet or the phones in our pockets. That Russia-China military alliance is the single greatest threat we face. Nobody in either political party is talking about it, and that is why I will end the Ukraine War on terms that require Vladimir Putin to exit his military alliance with China. This is a reverse move of what Nixon did. Putin is the new Mao, and while we have a foreign policy establishment in both parties, including Biden, who tries to supplicate to China to get Xi Jinping to drop Vladimir Putin, what we really need to be doing is getting Vladimir Putin to drop Xi Jinping.

And so, what I’ve said is that, you know what? In any good deal, I know this from the business world, it’s not that different in foreign policy, everybody has to get something out of the deal. That is realism. That is the truth of how a good deal gets done. The deal I will do with Vladimir Putin is simple. We will freeze the current lines of control. We will further make a hard commitment that NATO will never admit Ukraine to NATO. But in return for that, that’s a big win for Putin. I’ll admit that you’re not supposed to say you give Putin big wins. That’s a big win for Putin. But there’s a bigger win for us.

The bigger win for us is I will require that Russia exit its military alliance with China. I will require that Russia remove its nuclear weapons from Kaliningrad, the strip of Russia that borders Poland. And I will require, pursuant to my modern Monroe Doctrine, that Russia remove its military presence in the Western Hemisphere. Not in Cuba, not in Venezuela, not in Nicaragua, you’re out. And in return, we will reopen economic relations with Russia, just as Nixon did with China. To recognize that do we trust Vladimir Putin? No, we don’t. Does Putin trust us? No, he does not.

But Putin can trust us to follow our self-interest, just as we can trust Putin to follow his. And that is why in my first year in office, in 2025, I will make a trip to Moscow to deliver the same deal that Nixon did when he traveled to China. This is how we restore realism in our modern foreign policy, to actually advance American interests by pulling apart the alliances that threaten us. Now, the conventional wisdom is that this will threaten Taiwan and threaten American interests which we have in Taiwan because that will embolden Xi Jinping to go after that island nation.

The argument goes that if Putin walks away with parts of the Donbas region, then that will somehow cause Xi Jinping to be emboldened to think he can walk away with impunity if he takes a piece of Taiwan. I think it’s actually the reverse that’s true. Today, we are driving Russia further into China’s hands, and Xi Jinping’s calculus is that the U.S., will not want to go into conflict with two different allied nuclear superpowers, Russia and China, at the same time. But if Russia is no longer in China’s camp, is no longer a 2001 treaty ally as they are today, then Xi Jinping will have to think twice before going after Taiwan.

The number one thing we can actually do to deter Xi Jinping from going after Taiwan while avoiding war is pull Russia apart from China. Combined with that, a renewed commitment to our partnership that we may expand with India. Hard commitments to close the Andaman Sea and block the Malacca Strait if required, in the position of potential conflict arising around Taiwan. India would happily do that if we gave them a trade deal that looked similar to what we have already with Chile or Australia. And I’m not just saying that because my name is Vivek freaking Ramaswamy here, okay?
In fact, part of the reason that we have a relationship of mistrust, I would say a relationship of trust with India that could leave room for improvement, is that we haven’t had the kind of trust-based dialogue between our two countries. And so, you know what? If I’m not gonna get that done by the end of my first term, I would consider that a personal failure on an ethnic count.

But this is how we think about deterrence of China. Bolster our relationship with allies who share our interest in deterring Taiwan while pulling Russia out of China’s hands. I’m a big believer in the Second Amendment here at home. Let’s turn our Second Amendment into an export. That’s what American exceptionalism is about. Leave it to Taiwan to adopt a Second Amendment of its own. Put a gun in every Taiwanese household. Train them how to use it. That’s how you turn Taiwan into a porcupine. This is how you deter China.

But why is it in our interest then to deter China from going after Taiwan if we’re not doing the same with respect to Russia and Ukraine? The answer is it comes back down to American self-interest. Taiwan is responsible for the leading-edge semiconductors that power our modern, technologically facilitated lifestyle. Probably these lights that are shining in my face, the phones in our pockets, the computers that we type up our notes on, those cameras that are recording me in the back. These are powered by leading-edge semiconductors that come from this tiny island nation off the southeast coast of China.

I think it’s regrettable that we got to a place where our modern way of life depends on that island nation, but that remains a fact. Which is why I’ve said that we will move from our, I believe, inexplicable posture of strategic ambiguity with respect to Taiwan, in my first year to a position of strategic clarity, where I will be clear with China and with Taiwan that we will defend Taiwan if China invades Taiwan before we have semiconductor independence in this country. I will lead us, I hope by the end of my first term, to semiconductor independence in this country. By 2028, I believe it is possible in the United States of America.

And thereafter, we will be very clear that after the U.S. achieves semiconductor independence, our commitments to send our sons and daughters to put them in harm’s way will change after we’ve achieved semiconductor independence. These are naked views that you’re not supposed to share in public, right? These are the things you’re supposed to keep in a hush-hush format, sweep under the rug. To know that you kind of mean these things, but you don’t actually say them. I actually believe it is in our interest to unapologetically state to the world what I will state to you all at home. That it is my moral obligation as the next U.S. President to stand for the interests of Americans here in the homeland without apologizing for it.

And when I tell the rest of the global leaders that I mean it, they will know they can trust us. And it’s not really credible to say that we’re gonna defend democracy selectively when the democracy of the day we’re defending is a nation that has banned 11 opposition parties, goes after religious minorities and churches, and has consolidated all media into one state media arm. That’s Ukraine, If you’re wondering. It doesn’t make sense, right? But if we say that, no, no, no, we’re gonna be very honest. Our engagement outside the Western Hemisphere will be limited to the circumstances where it actually advances U.S. interests, the net puts Taiwan on notice.

That a nation that’s supposedly a threat of annexation is now spending less than 2% of its GDP on its military. It better step that up to 4% by 2028, which is where it’ll need to be to have a chance of defending itself. It’ll put China on notice to say that you know what? You have some nationalistic unfinished business from 1949 when Mao Zedong and Chiang Kai-shek had at it, but you will not mess with the United States and our interest by holding an economic gun to our head by taking a shot for going after that island, until we have semiconductor independence in this country.
This is how we smoke out realism, revive Nixonian realism in the modern day. Revive George Washington’s vision of what it means to put the interests of this nation first. This is an uncomfortable shock to the modern bipartisan foreign policy establishment. I’m an outsider. That is what I believe it will take to turn our foreign policy establishment back upside down where it belongs. That is what it will take to get our NATO allies, allies who spend, more than half of whom, less than the 2% they’re obligated by treaty to actually spend on their own national defense.

That is how we restore sanity to a world in which we represent 36% of our allied GDP while spending 61% of our allied defense. This is not the stuff of advancing American interests, but it will take an outsider with a fresh perspective to actually restore American interests in our own foreign policy. What I will say in closing before opening this up to a few questions tonight, is that I reject the other bipartisan consensus in Washington, D.C. It’s the flip side of the same one that has us continuing to send $200 billion to a nation around the other side of the world that we have no interest in. The flip side of that is an assumption embedded in there, that Republicans and Democrats alike will agree to today.

The assumption that we are a nation in decline. The assumption that we’re at the tail end of the Roman Empire and that we have to puff our chest to project a self-confidence that does not exactly exist here at home. I don’t believe we have to be like ancient Rome. I don’t believe that we have to be a nation in decline. The truth is, I think what we really are is a nation that’s just a little young, going through our own version of adolescence. Figuring out who we’re really gonna be when we grow up.

And when you view it that way, it makes sense. When you go through adolescence, you go through that national identity crisis, you go through that identity crisis of self. I did. Maybe many of you did. You lose your self-confidence, you lose your way a little bit. You forget who you really are. But we are stronger for it when we reach our adulthood on the other side. So you know what I say, we are not a nation in decline. I believe we can still be a nation in our ascent. Maybe in the early stages of our ascent. Maybe we’re not even at base camp yet.

On our way to that mountaintop, still that shining city on a hill. Where no matter who you are, where your parents came from, what your skin color is, how long your last name is, that you still get ahead in this country based on your own hard work, your own commitment, your own dedication, and that you know what, you are still free to speak your mind at every step of the way. That is the American dream.

That is what we are running to. That is how we revive our strength at home so that we may set an example of what is possible for the rest of the free world. That is our obligation to the world, to be strong at home. That is what I will revive, as your next president. Thank you, all. God bless you, God bless your families, and God bless our United States of America. Thank you. Thank you.

I appreciate it. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Audience Member: Thank you so much. Your writings on stakeholder capitalism are more relevant than ever today. Given the rise of supernational institutions like the World Economic Forum, how would you recommend the U.S. on the one hand balance maintaining its soft power with respect to relationships, and on the other hand, ensure first and foremost, that our own economic interests are represented on the international stage?

Vivek: Yeah. Well, I have a very practical answer to that question and then I have a deeper answer of what’s at stake. My practical answer is if it comes in an acronym FTC, SCC, FBI, DOJ, WEF, WHO, NATO, UN, we may have good reasons to be skeptical of the purpose of any acronymized institution. And I say that only half flippantly. Okay? The truth of the matter is what’s at stake in the debate about stakeholder capitalism? This idea that businesses and multilateral institutions should look not only after their own institutional purpose, but also should solve other societal problems at large, from global climate change to systemic racism in the West.

It’s really a 1776 question, actually. Because the basic premise is that we, the people, cannot be trusted to solve existential questions like climate change. That we get it wrong. That we’d burn in a planet entering an ice age, which is what they said during Richard Nixon, that was gonna happen actually. We were gonna have global climate change. They said during Nixon, “Time” Magazine and “Newsweek” covers around that time said that that’s what’s gonna happen unless we stop burning fossil fuels. Now they say we’re gonna heat ourselves to death if we keep burning fossil fuels.
They say that we, the people, can’t be trusted with those questions. So business leaders and government leaders and three-letter acronym institutions have to work together dissolving the boundaries between the public and private sector. Dissolving the boundaries between nations to work together towards the global common good. We fought a revolution in 1776 that said no to that vision. We said that for better or worse, and this is the crucial part of that, for better or worse, the way we do it on this side of the Atlantic, on this side of 1776, is that we do trust the people to sort out our differences through free speech and open debate in the public square where every citizen’s voice and vote counts equally.

That is how we do it. And so, what we see today is that old, ugly monster rearing its ugly head again. That old-world European version that distrusted the public. That’s what’s at stake, is our sovereignty itself. From the WHO to the UN, it is fundamentally skeptical of sovereignty, especially the sovereignty of a nation founded on rejecting that monarchical vision. And I think that the deeper question to ask is not what comes from the outside that causes us to cede our sovereignty, but what is it inside each of us that makes us want to bend the knee? That’s the real question.
When the Israelites escaped the Pharaoh, they’re wandering the desert, lost in the wilderness, finding their way to the promised land, but they couldn’t find it. What did they say? We wanna go back and be ruled by the Pharaoh. So the real question for us to ask, as much as I have been a chief critic of the multinational international institutions that are impeding on the sovereignty of the United States, from ESG to stakeholder capitalism, to whatever new label they come up with, yes, these are top-down forces, but they’re trick only works if we ourselves are willing to bend the knee.
And I think that when it comes to the global climate religion in particular, that’s the real question. What is it that makes us want to bend the knee? They can’t take our sovereignty. It’ll have to be up to us to give it to them. And my view is that we have to fill that vacuum of purpose with our own vision of what it actually means to still be a citizen of this nation, not some nebulous global citizen fighting climate change. No, a citizen of the United States of America. And to say that is true, that means something to me, and I will stand for my sovereignty and the sovereignty of my nation. Thank you for that question. I appreciate it. Couple more of them.

Audience Member: I lived in China for one year and also in Taiwan for one year. So my question is regarding that area of the world.

Vivek: Good.

Audience Member: So my first question about China is, we know that China does not have an elected government, so we can see Chinese government and Chinese people as being different. From my time living in China, I’ve seen there are many Chinese people who are curious about America and want to come visit here, come study here, come be immigrants here. And so, my question in regard to China is, what are the creative or innovative ways that your administration would try to build a relationship and rapport with the new generation of Chinese people that’s growing up, that’s the future of China?

And my second question regarding Taiwan is, if you were to make this policy very clear after a certain time period, once we have semiconductors, that you would not defend Taiwan, what would stop China, if they’re truly our enemies, wouldn’t they wanna then attack us first before we get semiconductors?

Vivek: Okay, great question. I’ll take the second, actually, I’ll take ’em in order as you asked them. So the first question is a beautiful question. I actually didn’t share some of my own background. I spent a lot of time in China myself. Actually was an exchange student at Beida, which is, you know, so Harvard has their exchange program. It’s sort of the Harvard of China. I spent time at Hong Kong University. I’ve done business in China in my first business.
And it’s a lot of those experiences that opened my eyes to a CCP that has dramatically changed. This is not Hu Jintao’s CCP anymore. And I think that this has changed dramatically, even under our own plain sight view over even the last 10 years as Xi Jinping brings his iron fist down now to take his unprecedented third term as the leader of the CCP. Breaking that chain of succession and literally physically removing who Hu Jintao to go along with it in the party meeting that did it last October.

So I think it’s a brilliant question for you to ask, who are those kids holding up those white sheets in that white sheet revolution? Just, what, it was a year or so ago. It will be my job as the next U.S. president to distinguish the Communist party of China from the people of China to whom I will do my best to speak to them directly as allies of free people. We are born, we as human beings are born to be free. We, all of us, not just Americans, are endowed by our creator, with the will to be free.

But to earn our sovereignty, as we did in this country, it must be earned. We cannot earn it for them. In fact, we must continue to earn it for ourselves, but I think it will be up to them to earn it for themselves while knowing that when the United States is strong, we set an example of what is possible. And that’s why I think our moral obligation to the world isn’t to go intervene and fight somebody else’s revolution for them. No. Our moral obligation is to set an example of what is possible for free people around the world.

And so that’s the distinction I will draw. We will talk to the Chinese people separately from the way that we deal with Xi Jinping and his autocratic boot on our necks through the legs of the CCP. To your second question about Taiwan. So, look, I think that there’s a real opportunity for us to put China and Taiwan on notice of exactly what our intentions are. This is a radical break from the policy of strategic ambiguity, but I think this allows us to accomplish three goals in one.

One is to put Taiwan on notice that it needs to spend on its own defense for the long run, if it wishes to retain its sovereignty. There’s an election in Taiwan in 2024. One of the two parties has a different view on this, and the KMT could very well win the election for all we know. The second thing though that it does is it puts China on notice. That we will not be okay with you holding an economic gun to our head, trying to get to that deal that we would otherwise never do. The deal that says, you know, they get to make our stuff if we give them our IP.

No, that is not a good deal. We do not want parity for the next 200 years between the United States and China. That new bipolar order is not something that we should wish to voluntarily accept. So you will not hold that economic gun made of semiconductors to our head. But it also sends the signal that afterwards, we have now smoked out two different intentions that China may have for taking over Taiwan. Right now the problem with strategic ambiguity is we don’t know which one’s really guiding Xi Jinping.

I mean, the guy trots out in his Mao Zedong outfits and there’s some weird psychology going on there, right? I mean, Mao Zedong did some, I mean, really was unkind to his own father as part of the cultural revolution. As best we can tell, tortured, possibly abused, maybe even Xi himself was. And yet now he gets Mao Zedong-style tailored-made suits. I mean, there’s something going on in that psychology, which is a headspace that, and I can only speculate to explore. But you have these deep nationalistic impulses to reunify, as he would call it, One China.

Yet we also have this impulse to lord over the United States. And my answer is, for one of those our answer is no. I will not see a country where my children and my grandchildren, our children, our grandchildren grow up to be a bunch of Chinese serfs because we’re held hostage to the way we live our modern lives. No is the answer to that question. And we will get to independence by the end of my first term in 2028. But if the second motivation is really what remains and guides him to close off the unfinished business of the Chinese Civil War dating back to 1949, well, look, I think that it is preferable that we still deter that from happening by way of alliances with India and preparing Taiwan to stand for its own security interests in Japan, which will further be threatened in this scenario.

But I will not send our sons and daughters, I’m certainly in the current facts, not inclined to be in a position to say that we will send our sons and daughters and our troops to fight for that purpose if we’ve already achieved the more important purpose that advances American interests. I recognize that you’re probably in the new cycle tomorrow. This discussion will be treated very unkindly, just because it is a shock to the system. You’re not supposed to do it this way.

But I believe we live in a moment where if we are clear about our actual interests, we will actually command greater credibility in drawing red lines that other nations will dare not cross because they know they can actually trust us rather than the smoke and mirrors of liberal hegemony, which has not worked in this country for the last 25 years. I promised I would take one more question. I’ll take one last question and then we’ll…

Audience Member: Hi, sir. My name is Parker. I’m 21 years old. My question…

Vivek: 21?

Audience Member: 21. Yeah.

Vivek: Good for you.

Audience Member: Thank you.

Vivek: Big guy. I like that.

Audience Member: Appreciate it.

Vivek: You’re a football player, or what do you do?

Audience Member: In high school, yeah.

Vivek: High school football player. I like that. All right, that’s good.

Audience Member: My question is kind of related to the younger generation, which is, one thing that my generation is really frustrated by is how unproductive our government is. And…

Vivek: Makes a couple of us, man. Two generations included.

Audience Member: And you have some very bold ideas and I agree with a lot of what you say. My question to you would be, what would you do as president to ensure that you break down those partisan walls that are keeping our government from actually advancing our interest as a country?

Vivek: Yes. So this is the choice we face in this election, actually. We’re a night where we’re scaring a lot of people, so we might as well keep on going with this. So here’s the truth, here’s the choice we face in this GOP primary right now. This is relevant. The answer to your question is at stake in 2024. Do you want incremental reform or do you want revolution?

Audience: Revolution.

Vivek: I stand on the side of revolution. And so, I’m not gonna go in and tinker around the edges. And, yeah, I can say in a tough guy voice, “I’m gonna get in there and fire Christopher Wray.” Well, that sounds good. That’s fine. But, you know, James Comey, Christopher Wray, potato, potato, you know? We need to get in there and shut the darn thing down. The J. Edgar Hoover building of the FBI, auction it off. We don’t need it anymore. We cannot reform these bureaucracies. They’re unreformable. This is Thomas Hobbes stuff. This is the modern Leviathan, okay?

And if you don’t know what that word is, just watch the bureaucracy of the federal government, then you know what it is. We have to get in there and do what, really, no U.S. president has for a long time had the spine to do. Channel Nixon’s skepticism, and even a skepticism that Donald Trump, to his credit, shared. But see, we can’t just roll that log over and see what crawls out, right? You strike the swamp, the swamp strikes back.

If you’re gonna roll that log over, you better be ready to bring the pesticide. And that is what I’m bringing to Washington, D.C. We have to shut it down. That is how we revive this nation. We stand not for victimhood. We stand for victory. Thank you. God bless you. God bless our United States of America. Thank you. Thank you.