Here's where the 2024 presidential candidates stand on foreign policy

They have talked about China, Russia, Ukraine and more.

October 4, 2023, 2:13 PM

Foreign policy is front and center of the 2024 presidential race as tensions remain high in various parts of the world.

Republican candidates overwhelmingly point to China as the biggest threat to U.S., but they're divided on how large a role the U.S. should play on the world stage and how to support Ukraine amid Russia's invasion.

On the Democratic side, President Joe Biden is touting U.S. leadership abroad while Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Marianne Williamson pitch themselves as the peace candidates.

Here’s a brief look at where the major candidates stand on the issue.

Joe Biden

Biden, seeking reelection as a Democrat, has vowed to support Ukraine for "as long as it takes." He's warned no nation is truly secure if Russia succeeds in invading the Eastern European nation. On China, Biden's sought to counter the nation's aggression by bolstering alliances and partnerships in the Indo-Pacific.

The president has forcefully defended ending America's 20-year war in Afghanistan but continues to face criticism over the military's chaotic withdrawal in August 2021.

Marianne Williamson

Author and speaker Marianne Williamson, whose 2024 Democratic platform echoes her 2020 message of peace and love, has pledged to create a Department of Peace if elected. The agency would focus on preventing conflict, providing peace-building programs rather than military aid and more.

On Ukraine, Williamson said she believed there is "legitimate justification" for military support from Western allies, including the U.S., but she has criticized what she has called U.S. "imperialism" and "paternalism" in Latin America.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Democrat Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has been among the most outspoken candidates in his opposition to U.S. support of Ukraine in its fight against Russian invaders.

Kennedy has accused the West -- without evidence -- of intentionally sabotaging peace talks between Russia and Ukraine in the spring of 2022 and, more specifically, claiming the U.S. wants to remove Russia's authoritarian president, Vladimir Putin.

Kennedy has also repeatedly said that he does not believe the war was unprovoked, pointing to the NATO expansions of the 1990s and 2000s -- a view that has been roundly rejected by leading politicians on both sides of the aisle as well as American military leaders.

He has characterized U.S. as a "warlike imperial nation" and believes that it's "not too late for us to voluntarily let go of empire and serve peace instead."

PHOTO: Ukrainian servicemen of the 10th separate mountain assault brigade 'Edelveis' of the Armed Forces of Ukraine fire a 2S1 Gvozdika self propelled howitzer towards Russian troops, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine
Ukrainian servicemen of the 10th separate mountain assault brigade 'Edelveis' of the Armed Forces of Ukraine fire a 2S1 Gvozdika self propelled howitzer towards Russian troops, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, at a position in the Donetsk region, Ukraine, Sept. 26, 2023.

Donald Trump

Former President Donald Trump seeking reelection as a Republican, has repeatedly touted his relationship with authoritarian leaders like Russia's Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Trump claims he can end the Ukraine-Russia war in 24 hours by bringing the two countries' leaders together, while refusing to answer whether he would send U.S. troops to support Taiwan if it were to be invaded by China.

Ron DeSantis

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis often talks about the need to show strength to deter China, which he calls America's greatest foreign policy threat. When asked about his plan to handle the Ukraine war, he frequently pivots to China.

DeSantis said during the first Republican presidential primary debate that he would not increase aid to Ukraine and that "Europe needs to step up." He received huge backlash in Washington for terming Russia's invasion of Ukraine a "territorial dispute" -- which he later walked back, saying he was misunderstood.

He's promised to be the most "pro-Israel" president. Earlier this year he visited Israel, meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Isaac Herzog.

Nikki Haley

Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley has consistently drawn on her experience when discussing foreign policy issues on the trail. She's proposed pushing Congress to end normal trade relations with China if the flow of fentanyl doesn't decrease and to ban all lobbying from the ruling Chinese Communist Party. She's also criticized both Trump and Biden's record when it came to China.

"A win for Russia is a win for China," she's often said as she's offered full-throated defense of continuing aid to Ukraine.

The Republican candidate has referred to China as the biggest threat to the U.S. and has pledged to support Taiwan if it is invaded by Beijing.

Vivek Ramaswamy

Businessman and commentator Vivek Ramaswamy says he will put American interests first as president, departing from typical Republican party lines to promote a vision with decreased involvement in foreign affairs that he does not believe directly concern the U.S.

While his comments on proposed foreign policy have been a point of contention as his views appeared to shift, Ramaswamy maintains that he would continue financial aid to Israel until the country's leader, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, says it is no longer necessary.

He also says he would end aid to Ukraine, never permitting it to join NATO and force concessions to Russia in order to end the war in Ukraine, and he has pledged to defend Taiwan from a potential invasion from China until the U.S. reaches "semiconductor independence."

Ramaswamy also says he will be a peacetime president, waging only "war on the federal administrative state."

Mike Pence

Former Vice President Mike Pence warns against others in the Republican field embracing an "isolationist" view of America. He often cites the Reagan Doctrine in defending his support for U.S. aid to Ukraine and condemns those he sees walking away from America's role as leader of the free world.

He calls Putin a war criminal and sees China as the biggest threat to the U.S. Pence is also a strong supporter of Israel.

Chris Christie

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has been a vocal ally of Ukraine amid its ongoing war with Russia. Having visited the country in August, one of only two GOP candidates to do so, he has pledged greater U.S. support to the war-ravaged nation if elected president until the conflict is resolved.

He has repeatedly called the conflict a proxy war between the U.S. and China and pointed to links between Russia's Putin and China's Xi. Christie has warned that if the U.S. does not defend Ukraine, then China will invade Taiwan, which the U.S. heavily depends on for semiconductors.

Christie has advocated for the U.S. to provide F-16 fighter jets to the Ukrainian air force and has repeatedly accused Biden of giving the country "just enough not to lose."

Tim Scott

South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott is a member of the Foreign Relations Committee. Although he supports military aid in Ukraine, the Republican feels that "the problem has been in part that President Biden is dragging his feet to the starting line."

On China, he's said the country is "the greatest long term existential threat to our nation." He proposes deregulation to deal with the threat.

Doug Burgum

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum says American unity is needed in order to fight China and Putin and suggests that U.S. infighting only benefits American adversaries.

"China is the No. 1 threat to our country," Burgum said on the GOP presidential primary debate stage in Milwaukee in August.

If elected president, Burgum has said he would institute "deterrents" to China, such as anti-warship missiles on Taiwan.

Burgum says the U.S. is in a "cold war with China" and a "proxy war" with Russia, even saying he's talked to his children about the prospect of World War III.

Asa Hutchinson

Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson says he takes a Reaganesque view on foreign policy, supporting U.S. aid to Ukraine against Russia and promoting cooperation with longstanding allies.

The Republican wants to see Mexican cartels designated as foreign terrorist organizations, but he also calls on the U.S. to cooperate better with Mexico to address issues at the southern border.

ABC News' Gabriella Abdul-Hakim, Libby Cathey, Abby Cruz, Hannah Demissie, Fritz Farrow, Lalee Ibssa, Soo Rin Kim, Nicholas Kerr, Will McDuffie, Kendall Ross and Kelsey Walsh contributed to this report.

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