Exclusive — Ryan Zinke: ‘What We’re Looking at Is a Manifest Doctrine of Weakness’

WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 16: Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke talks to journalists outside the White House West Wing before attending a cabinet meeting with President Donald Trump August 16, 2018 in Washington, DC. Zinke said the historic wild fires in the west are caused by mismanaged public lands and "environmental …
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Ryan Zinke, former Trump Department of Interior secretary and Navy SEAL veteran who is running for Montana’s newly-opened second congressional seat, slammed President Joe Biden for his weakness in handling foreign policy amid yet another international crisis, this time involving Russia, Ukraine, and NATO.

“I think in the Biden administration what we’re looking at is a manifest doctrine of weakness,” Zinke told Breitbart News in an exclusive interview on Monday.

“How did we get here? Through weakness and retreat. And when U.S. stumbles, NATO falls,” he said. “President Trump was right, NATO allies had not been putting money towards building a credible military force, and quite frankly, without the U.S., NATO is an idea without capability.”

The former SEAL Team Six commander said the Biden administration showed weakness with its disastrous withdrawal in Afghanistan — where the U.S. led the NATO mission for 20 years.

“In Afghanistan we abandoned our citizens. In fact, we welded the gates shut and knowingly and willingly left U.S. citizens outside the perimeter to fend for themselves against the Taliban,” Zinke said.

“Now in Ukraine we’re unwilling to even put in military flights to remove our personnel,” he said, referring to the Biden administration’s recent warning for American citizens and some employees to evacuate by commercial air.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken gives a press conference in Geneva on January 21, 2022 following a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister. - Washington and Moscow's top diplomats agreed at high-stakes talks to keep working to ease tensions over Ukraine. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP) (Photo by FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images)

Secretary of State Antony Blinken gives a press conference in Geneva on January 21, 2022, following a meeting with Russia’s Foreign Minister. (FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images)

“It’s disgusting,” he said. “How difficult would it be to bring a couple of military planes in and do a [non-combatant evacuation]? If we can’t do that in Ukraine, I don’t think we can do that anywhere. It’s an abandonment.”

Zinke also predicted that China would make a move on Taiwan after the Winter Olympics, which the U.S. refrained from fully boycotting despite its concerns over China’s use of Uyghur slave labor.

“I think what we’re going to see is, post-Olympics, we’re going to see a very aggressive China on Taiwan,” he said.

He said it was a “very real possibility” that China moves in concert with Russia, making it difficult to confront both with economic sanctions.

“I don’t know anyone who would suggest a pathway for effective sanctions when it’s both China and Russia,” he said. “We have become reliant on China for a lot of parts, components, and we can’t pivot out of that in a short amount of time, so I think we’re in real trouble.”

“It began in Afghanistan with that catastrophe and it continues to accelerate because it’s given a green light to our adversaries both economic and military that if they’re going to expand territory now is the time to do it and knock out U.S. and Western influence,” he said.

“Again it goes back to well you don’t show strength and resolve and instead you show weakness and retreat, it has worldwide consequences,” he said.

Zinke, who served in Congress before heading the Department of Interior, said he believed that America is still fixable.

“Elections have consequences. America’s still fixable,” he said. “But this is what happens when you retreat from America’s global leadership, because the power vacuum will be filled and it’s unfortunately being filled with dictators, communists, and terrorists.”


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