China is enemy number one: Mike Pompeo gives a speech

Foreign Affairs

The Secretary of State’s address unapologetically cements the current administration’s view that the U.S. is locked in a “new Cold War” with the rival superpower.

mike pompous speech
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library, in Yorba Linda, July 23, 2020. Reuters.

Cold War rhetoric was abundant in Mike Pompeo’s speech this afternoon on the state of U.S.-China ties. Pompeo’s declaration that all communists are liars and that nations must “pick a side” between “freedom and tyranny” is certain to speed up the downfall of U.S.-China relations.

This speech is the culmination of a recent spike in aggressive action from the U.S. Department of State. On Tuesday, Secretary Pompeo closed China’s Houston consulate over accusations of “aiding economic espionage and the attempted theft of scientific research,” China launched a counterattack — it seems — by arranging a consulate closure of its own in Chengdu and lambasting Pompeo on state media (link in Chinese).

Pompeo’s crusade continues unperturbed. He has been trying to recruit the U.K. as a partner in a global anti-China alliance. The federal government has also placed a Chinese cancer researcher under arrest for allegedly lying about her ties to the Chinese government in order to get a visa. The Trump administration is even considering a blanket ban on all 92 million members of the Chinese Communist Party.

Meanwhile, American companies are seeking to capitalize on growing Sinophobia in Washington as they lobby the government to place a ban on China’s railway company CRRC for its ties to the People’s Liberation Army.

These events are predictable results of what many agree to be a downward spiral in China-U.S. relations. Rick Gladstone wrote in the New York Times that tensions between the two nations “have reached the most acute levels since the countries normalized diplomatic relations more than four decades ago.”