Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has officially taken his place on the international stage this week, embarking on a four–country trade mission to some of America‘s closest allies.
The official purpose of the trip is to “strengthen economic relationships and continue to demonstrate Florida‘s position as an economic leader,” according to DeSantis‘ office. The Governor has already met with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in Tokyo, and will soon be traveling to South Korea, Israel, and the United Kingdom.
However, the trip has also put DeSantis‘ foreign policy credentials in the spotlight, as he is currently being touted as a possible presidential contender. In recent weeks, DeSantis has offered contradicting opinions on the war in Ukraine, first saying that support for the country was not of “vital“ national interest, before backtracking and calling Russian President Vladimir Putin a war criminal.
DeSantis‘ history in foreign affairs dates back to his time as a congressman in Washington, where he served on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and was often critical of President Barack Obama‘s overseas agenda. Since becoming Governor, he has also urged hard–line policies against communist governments in Cuba and China, including banning TikTok on state government devices and pushing legislation that would make it illegal for Chinese nationals to buy property in Florida.
This week‘s trade mission is a chance for DeSantis to demonstrate his commitment to strengthening diplomatic ties with America‘s allies, while also expressing his support for the US‘s long–standing foreign policy. The Governor will also keynote an event hosted by the Jerusalem Post and the Museum of Tolerance Jerusalem, despite recent tensions between the US and Israel.
Ultimately, this trip will give DeSantis the opportunity to prove that he is a leader capable of managing complex international affairs. With the upcoming presidential election on the horizon, it will be interesting to see how the Governor‘s experience abroad will shape his approach to foreign policy, and how it will play into his potential candidacy.