resident Donald Trump’s “new China strategy,” according to Zack Cooper of the American Enterprise Institute, is, like Russia, a “riddle,” a “mystery,” and an “enigma.”
Cooper may now want to revise his commentary.
He may still dislike Trump’s China policy, but after Thursday neither he nor anyone else can say they don’t know what it is.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, from the podium at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda, California, laid out in no uncertain terms what the administration wanted to do and how it planned to go about accomplishing its ambitious aims.
America, the secretary of state said, has effectively ditched five decades of “engagement” policy and is now embracing a policy now out of favor across the American policy establishment: regime change.
Formally, the State Department still “engages” China, Pompeo said, but “simply to demand fairness and reciprocity.” Gone are the days when American diplomats engaged China to support the Communist Party. Too often in the past, U.S. presidents rescued Chinese communism, three times—Nixon in 1972, Bush in 1989, and Clinton in 1999—in particular.
More importantly, Pompeo said there would be a new form of engagement. “We must also engage and empower the Chinese people—a dynamic, freedom-loving people who are completely distinct from the Chinese Communist Party,” he said. “That begins with in-person diplomacy.”
Analysts say the landmark address is “a cry for war,” as Fred Kaplan, writing on the Slate site told us. Yes, there is nothing that scares China’s insecure leadership as the United States speaking directly to the Chinese people. So to the ears of Xi Jinping, China’s ruler, Pompeo’s words undoubtedly sounded like a war cry.
Many talk about the United States in recent weeks starting a “new Cold War,” but that formulation is Beijing’s narrative and is certainly inapt. There is nothing “new” about the multi-generational, across-continents struggle.