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FIRST ON FOX: Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley on Wednesday is expected to say that “Western weakness” pushed Russia to invade Ukraine, while warning of a looming threat from communist China, and calling for a “fundamental shift” in how the West approaches its adversaries.
Haley, in a speech at Policy Exchange in London, will praise the Anglo-American alliance as “the cornerstone of freedom” in the 20th Century and the “foundation for progress” in the 21st as she calls for a muscular response to threats from Russia and China, according to prepared remarks obtained by Fox News Digital.
In the address, she will stress that the blame for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine “rests squarely on [Russian President Vladimir] Putin” but adds that “the West bears responsibility for a total failure of deterrence” that she says was years in the making.
“It was not NATO expansion or Western warmongering that pushed Russia to invade. It was Western weakness that convinced Putin he could get away with attempting to swallow Ukraine. He saw America as too internally divided and distracted, and Europe as too bureaucratic and soft to stop him,” she will say. “And sadly, I have to say he wasn’t wrong.”
Haley cites a failure by the West to respond to the Russian occupation of Crimea and its aggression in Syria, as well as the Russian use of chemical weapons in the U.K. to target dissidents. Most recently she says that Putin was encouraged by what she described as “America’s surrender” in Afghanistan last year.
“It pains me to say it, but if there had been no Afghanistan disaster, there would likely have been no Ukraine invasion,” she says. “Putin saw our lack of resolve in Kabul and assumed nothing meaningful would happen once his tanks rolled into Kyiv.”
She also cites a number of moves by President Biden, in addition to the withdrawal from Afghanistan, that she blames for encouraging Moscow.
“When President Biden came into office last year, he brought with him largely the same advisers who had produced the weak response to Russia in 2014. In his first year in office, he downgraded relations with Poland, gave a green light to Nord Stream 2, slowed down military aid to Ukraine, and eagerly met with Putin in Geneva while never going to Kyiv. Russia rightly interpreted these actions as an invitation to evil,” Haley will say.
While the former South Carolina governor praised the firm, united response since the invasion, she says the invasion provides a “moment of moral clarity” that should extend beyond the threat from Moscow — namely China.
“Of this, there can be no doubt. There can also be no doubt that China is the biggest national security threat the world faces,” she will say.
“Communist China has not yet invaded its neighbors as recklessly as Russia has. But it is rapidly preparing for that day. Its actions in Hong Kong, the South China Sea, and Taiwan, are the clearest possible signals of its future intentions,” she will say. “China’s vast economic power makes it far more formidable than Russia. When it comes to loss of life, military mobilization, and economic pain, the war in Ukraine pales in comparison to a potential war in East Asia. Deterring that war should be the overriding goal of the entire free world. And we must start now.”
Going forward, Haley warns that it is a “critical mistake to view the Russian and Chinese threats separately.”
“Of course they are different countries with different approaches and different strengths. But strategically they are one and the same,” she will say. “They are united by their fanatical opposition to Western interests and values. And they are increasingly expansionist in their territorial aims.”
Her speech will also warn of a potential danger from Iran, tying the Islamic theocratic regime to the fortunes of Russia and China.
“While far weaker than China and Russia, the Iranian regime has its own ambitions for regional domination and the destruction of free nations,” the speech will say. “Its belligerence propels Russia’s ambitions, and its oil promotes China’s strength. Both Russia and China are holding hands with Iran to advance their own global agendas. “
Haley has long called for tough stances against Iran, Russia and China, positions she was known for during her time at the United Nations. Since leaving her position in 2019, she has called for the U.S. to take a hard line against both countries, and has frequently criticized the U.N.’s soft stance toward Beijing.
In the wake of the Ukraine invasion, Haley says there needs to be “a fundamental shift in how the West approaches our enemies” that rejects the idea that economic cooperation with adversaries fosters peace and avoids conflict and sees that doing business with regimes only strengthens them.
She urges the West to break free of its “addiction” to Russian energy and secure supply chains free of Chinese influence. She also urges the West not to allow Russia to “come away with any shred of territorial victory” in Ukraine, else it inspires both the Russians and the Chinese.
“If it does, then Russia, China, and the world’s other tyrannies will only seek more,” she says in the address.
Haley, who has been eyed as a possible 2024 presidential candidate, then criticizes a “self-loathing” that she says has taken root in both the U.K. and U.S.: “An entire generation is being raised to believe that freedom is a tool of oppression.”
“In this moment of clarity, we must restore our moral courage. We need the confidence that our cause is just and our principles are true,” she will say, adding that the forces of freedom and democracy will leave “Chinese Communism, Russian imperialism and Iranian terrorism on the ash heap of history.”
Adam Shaw is a politics reporter for Fox News Digital, with a focus on immigration. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter: @AdamShawNY