On Thursday last week, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered a barnstorming speech at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda, California, titled “Communist China and the Free World’s Future.”
The speech set out in no uncertain terms the insoluble ideological divide between a totalitarian, communist China and the democratic, free-market values of the US. It was also a full-throated call to arms for all nations of the free world to rally behind the US and defeat China.
Pompeo elaborated on a clear distinction between China and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), in an attempt to recalibrate the way the world views China, by quashing the CCP’s propaganda line that the party equals China, therefore any criticism of the CCP and its policies is an attack on China and its people.
“If the free world doesn’t change communist China, communist China will surely change us,” he said.
Although left unstated, the goal in Washington now appears to be regime change: a combination of former US president Ronald Reagan’s hardline approach toward the Soviet Union and the policy of “Peaceful Evolution” advocated by an earlier holder of Pompeo’s office, John Foster Dulles, who was US secretary of state from 1953 to 1959. Dulles advocated the political transformation of China’s communist system through peaceful means.
Pompeo’s remarks followed three high-profile speeches on China by US National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, FBI Director Christopher Wray and US Attorney General William Barr.
On July 7, Wray described China as the US’ “greatest threat” and revealed the astonishing statistic that Chinese espionage in the US is today so prevalent that the FBI opens a new China-related counterespionage case every 10 hours.
O’Brien on June 23 focused on statecraft and political ideology, and termed the US’ four decades of accommodation and appeasement toward China as the “greatest failure of American foreign policy since the 1930s,” in a thinly veiled reference to Nazi Germany.
O’Brien said that successive US administrations had failed to understand the nature of the Marxist- Leninist system that underpins the CCP. In other words, the differences between the US and China go far beyond economic competition, but are instead a Cold War-style clash of fundamental ideologies.
Barr on July 16 blasted US tech giants, including Google, Microsoft, Apple and Cisco, for “collaborating” with the CCP.
Internal Cisco documents leaked in May 2008 showed that during the early 2000s, the company marketed its routers to China specifically as a tool to help the CCP construct its vast censorship apparatus, known as the Great Firewall of China, to the rest of the world. In 2018, Google employees revolted over a planned censored version of the company’s search engine that was being developed for China.
The four high-profile speeches were clearly an orchestrated move designed to send a clear and unequivocal message to the CCP: It will no longer be “business as usual,” the US has a bipartisan, long-term strategy and it intends to push back hard.
To ensure that the speeches would not be dismissed in Beijing as mere hot air, on Wednesday last week, the day before Pompeo’s speech, Washington ordered Beijing to close its consulate in Houston, Texas, within 72 hours. In doing so, it shut down a key hub of China’s espionage operations in the US.
Pompeo mentioned Taiwan three times during his speech, including saying: “We marginalized our friends in Taiwan, which later blossomed into a vigorous democracy.”
In the spirit of the speech, with the world so manifestly altered since Taiwan was marginalized in 1971, perhaps it is now time for Washington to re-evaluate its “offshoring” of US foreign policy to Beijing and ditch its “one China” policy.
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