Pompeo’s China view shows fossilized mind-set

By Zhang Wenzong Source:Global Times Published: 2019/6/10 21:43:40

Photo: IC

Since US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo assumed office, he has frequently expressed his views about China in the public domain, be it during official visits, at congressional hearings or in interviews. Influenced by his ideology or maybe also by the US domestic milieu, which is full of skepticism against China, Pompeo spares no effort in portraying himself as an anti-China hawk. But his recent remarks about China are full of distorted logic, deep prejudice and a fossilized mindset. 

It is not an exaggeration to say that Pompeo is the one who has exerted himself the most in tarnishing Chinese tech giant Huawei's image.. But his arguments are always flawed. 

In order to gain a monopoly on 5G, the US is using its national power to crack down on Huawei. But according to Pompeo, "The risk to privacy from [Huawei] technology is very, very real." This is ridiculous. Since US whistleblower Edward Snowden, a subcontractor of the National Security Agency (NSA), leaked the secret that the NSA comprehensively monitored and collected data from citizens worldwide through IT companies including Cisco, IBM, Google, Qualcomm, Apple, Intel, Oracle and Microsoft, the US has lost its moral high ground. 

The country is now using shameful acts to try to cut off Huawei from the global industrial chain. But facts speak louder than words. Even if Washington threatens its allies to choose between Huawei and the US, quite a few Western countries and enterprises are reluctant to yield. 

Pompeo is also quite concerned about human rights in China and expressed concern about the Hong Kong-proposed amendments to the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance. Since the US has articulated that China is its strategic competitor, it is not hard for Chinese people to realize what's behind Pompeo's special attention on China. 

Compared with the US' ruthless strategic squeeze and economic isolation of Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Chinese people will only be grateful of their choice. Over the years, the security situation in China's Xinjiang has significantly improved, as the soaring tourist numbers in the region show. Hong Kong is still shimmering with charm. The city's progress has been underscored by the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. 

Pompeo, with his outdated geopolitical mindset, has accused Beijing of using the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to lay a debt trap, slandered Beijing's stance on the South China Sea, chided China's "military presence in the Arctic Ocean," groundlessly worrying that the Arctic Ocean would become another South China Sea. 

But if the BRI laid a debt trap, how come over 100 countries and international organizations are participating in it proactively? 

Since the so-called South China Sea arbitration was shelved, the overall situation in the South China Sea has improved. China has deployed defense facilities on some islands and reefs, without affecting navigation in the South China Sea. Instead, it is the US fleet that has become an uninvited guest, making waves by challenging China's sovereignty. Some US radicals have continuously suggested blocking the Straits of Malacca on special occasions to undermine the lifeline of China and other countries in the region. They should desist from uttering such remarks. 

The economic value of the Arctic shipping routes has become even more important with concern on global warming rising. China has no military presence in the Arctic, while an anxious US has beefed up its military installations. It is the US itself which is the most eager to militarize the Arctic. 

From Henry Kissinger, Alexander Haig to Condoleezza Rice, there has been no lack of talented strategists among all US secretaries of state since World War II, who always made rational judgments and decisions for the true benefit of the US. But a secretary of state like Pompeo, who makes irresponsible remarks and judges others by his own standards, is rarely seen. In the current US government, Pompeo is not the only one with outdated geopolitical thinking. But even among them, he is one of those whose behavior raises the most eyebrows. Many commentators in both China and the US believe that Pompeo seems to have failed to step out of the boots of CIA director, his former role. He has dealt with other governments and people by exaggerating threats, distorting information, coercion, deception, and concealment, revealing the true traits of the US. This is probably not good news for the US with weakening soft power.

Although the US has highlighted competition with China, forces inside the US that support the continued development of relations with Beijing cannot be underestimated. Many US states value exports to China; universities welcome Chinese students; some US enterprises have long expected to benefit from the BRI. 

Many high-tech companies in Silicon Valley are the beneficiaries of globalization and Huawei's win-win partners. They dare not express their opposition to the US government's crackdown on Huawei. 

Different voices can also be heard among elites about the way Pompeo and the current US government handle relations with China. The right-wing Republicans have continued to create crises on the grounds of national security and have attempted to mobilize the American people. However, if McCarthyism resurfaces, people in the US will be the first to be affected.

Neither did the bashing and suppression of China by those like Pompeo evoke much applause in the international community. Even if there are different opinions about Huawei and BRI, many countries are not intimidated by the US and boldly express their support for Chinese enterprises and policies. It is true that a just cause has many supporters while an unjust one finds few followers.

Like former Trump advisor Steve Bannon, who is a far-right advocate, Pompeo is obsessed with calling for China's fall. They have portrayed China's rise as something horrible. It is despicable to confuse right with wrong and mislead the people. China has not been intimidated by the US. Neither has the world been confused by US politicians' slander and attempts at delusion. On the contrary, China has deepened reforms and expanded opening-up, with the Chinese people full of confidence in the future of the country and themselves. The Chinese believe that a big heart embraces all. 

The author is an associate research fellow at the Institute of American Studies, China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn

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