Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday identified China as the world's greatest threat and called on Western nations to unite against Beijing as part of a global effort to eradicate the Communist Party's growing control of the international order.
In one of his most significant foreign policy speeches since taking office, Pompeo railed against the Communist Party's gross human rights abuses, cyber espionage operations, and routine bullying of Western nations. Pompeo said the world must immediately act to ensure that Communist China's vision for world dominance is not realized.
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Pompeo spoke frankly about the dangers Communist ideology poses to the world and sought to reestablish America's democratic principles, saying the country will never bow before Beijing.
"If we don't act now, ultimately, the CCP will erode our freedoms and subvert the rules-based order free societies have built," Pompeo said during his remarks at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in California. "If we bend the knee now, our children's children may be at the mercy of the CCP, whose actions are the primary challenge to the free world. If the free world doesn't change Communist China, Communist China will change us. There can be no return to past practices just because they're comfortable or convenient."
The location of the speech was not a coincidence. Pompeo chose the Nixon Presidential Library due to Nixon's efforts to open up relations with China. While Pompeo praised Nixon's efforts to bring China into the community of nations, he warned that continued deference to Beijing would change the world for the worst. Pompeo's speech marked the fourth time in recent weeks that senior Trump administration officials took China to task on the public stage. White House national security adviser Robert O'Brien delivered a similar speech last month, as did Attorney General William Barr. The goal of these speeches has been to wake up the American people and Western nations to the threat posed by Communist China.
America's engagement with China has backfired, Pompeo said.
He also said America cannot continue to deal with China as if it is an honest broker. The Communist Party thrives on deceit and has no interest in playing fair with other nations. This has been on full display as China hacks international businesses, stealing their trade secrets and proprietary research. It lied about the coronavirus pandemic, leading to chaos and death across the world. And China eagerly serves as a top ally of America's top enemies, including Iran and Russia.
"China ripped off our prized intellectual property and trade secrets," Pompeo said. "It sucked supply chains away from America, and then added a widget of slave labor. It made the world's key waterways less safe for international commerce."
America can "no longer ignore the fundamental political ideological differences between our countries," Pompeo said. Communist ideology must be battled and not become accepted as normal.
"I reject the notion that we're living in the age of inevitability, that some ‘trap’ is pre-ordained, that CCP supremacy is the future," Pompeo said. "Our approach isn't destined to fail because America isn't in decline."