Last week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sat down for a teleconference Q&A with Hudson Institute senior fellow, Marie-Josee Kravis at the Economic Club of New York; a think tank founded at the start of the 20th century, which broaches issues surrounding “social, economic and political questions.” The organization is currently chaired by the President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and counts several corporate leaders from some of the country’s most important institutions on its board of trustees, such as Mastercard, Goldman Sachs, PayPal, and many others.
On the occasion of the 548th meeting, the top American diplomat was lobbed a number of canned questions regarding the “state of U.S.-China relations” by Kravis. He immediately brought up Henry Kissinger’s secret trip to Beijing in the 1970s when Nixon’s secretary of state set up the eventual ‘opening’ of China, asserting that the last four decades of “dialogue-at-all-costs diplomacy” has failed to achieve “the outcome that I think Dr. Kissinger hoped [for].”
Pompeo, the “official face of Trump administration thuggery” claimed that China has shown a pattern of persistent “unilateral aggression” over the years and “thievery” of intellectual property that has subverted the “good work done by American businesses” and directly blamed the Chinese for the evisceration of the American middle class; an accusation that rings especially hollow coming from a Koch-sponsored politician, but is nothing more than the State Department’s chief mouthpiece executing the narrative dictates of the U.S. National Security Council, which long-ago established a strategic policy to thwart the PRC’s drive to become a self-reliant economic powerhouse and its inexorable encroachment on the West’s designs over Eurasia.
After a few remarks about the recent policy change regarding the South China Sea, Pompeo went on talk about the “fairness and reciprocity and security” that president Trump is ostensibly trying to obtain for “the American people” via the ongoing trade war with China, but instead of tackling the issue directly, framed it as a matter of China’s disrespect for the “rule of law” and international institutions in regards to the “virus [that] broke out in Wuhan” and “what they did with respect to the World Health Organization”, regurgitating long-held narratives of China’s supposed interference in the WHO’s response.
NATO’s shifting role
Once the anti-Xi Jinping stage was set, Kravis turned the conversation to broader Atlanticist perspectives from the point of view of the U.S. State Department’s attempts to bring the EU into stricter alignment with U.S. goals in the region. She asked about the call Pompeo held with recently-installed EU chief diplomat, Borrell, and 27 EU foreign ministers two weeks ago, in which a “distinct bilateral dialogue focused on China” was suggested.
Pompeo argued that the “tide has turned” on the EU’s resistance to take a hardline approach to China, claiming that Europe was now open to it as a result of the “work that we have done to demonstrate to the world the threat that the Chinese Communist Party poses to them.” He provided two examples that were meant to buttress his point, but neither were from the EU itself. One centered around the UK’s decision to exclude China from its implementation of 5G technology, and the other was India’s move to excise 50 Chinese information applications that were operating in that country.
The call with the EU ministers also comes on the heels of big changes at NATO, as Germany assumes the presidency of the EU and the Chairmanship of NATO’s National Reserve Forces Committee, even as Trump plans to slash its troop numbers in the pivotal nation – a plan that has garnered some resistance from both the Pentagon and Congress.
Bipartisan sanctions, unilateral edicts, and COVID
The subject of China’s relationship with Iran and Venezuela was touched on towards the latter part of the interview, in which Pompeo warned about the end of the JCPOA, known colloquially as the Iran Nuclear deal; stating that it “would be tragic” and represent the imminent transformation of Iran into “the world’s largest state sponsor of terror.” He said that he hoped the arms embargo could be extended diplomatically and that the UN Security Council – presently headed by China – could be persuaded to go along with it, but cited Democrats Kerry, Sherman and former president Obama to express the bipartisan will to “unilaterally reimpose (sic) all of those sanctions” in case they didn’t.
The topic of Venezuela’s gasoline sales to Iran was touched on briefly, as was the static situation with North Korea before returning to China and WHO, specifically. Kravis posed the question of which “institution or organization or format, process” would be best to “replace the WHO in terms of sharing of information, sharing of data, sharing of research.” Pompeo touted PEPFAR, President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief, as precedent for a U.S. action in response to the “last time the WHO failed with respect to a pandemic,” and praised Deborah Birx – head of Trump’s COVID-19 task force – whose medical license has been expired for a decade.
The top American diplomat expressed hope that the U.S. would be able to “build a coalition” around this issue, as they had done when a “Chinese candidate” was about to lead the “World Intellectual Property Organization” and had successfully built a “coalition” to insert the State Department’s preferred candidate in the position. The softball Q&A ended on an ironic note when Kravis asked Pompeo about diversity in the State Department. “We don’t have enough Mandarin speakers here.” he conceded.
Feature photo | Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at the National Constitution Center about the Commission on Unalienable Rights, July 16, 2020, in Philadelphia. Brendan Smialowski | AP
Raul Diego is a MintPress News Staff Writer, independent photojournalist, researcher, writer and documentary filmmaker.
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