The Trump China Doctrine

On 30 October 2019 Secretary Of State Mike Pompeo laid out the full agenda of concerns the U.S. has with Communist China

The CCP and PRC—the Chinese Communist Party and the People’s Republic of China—are not to be regarded as one and the same as the freedom loving people of China and people of Chinese origin living in communities throughout the world.

We’ve seen governments with ideologies like this before. The CCP is a Marxist-Lenninist regime that has been practicing for too long a win-lose approach in engaging the West. More often than not the relationships have been lopsided in China’s favor. The reach and the methods China brought when it was invited to joint the international community have created grave problems that can no longer go unheeded.

“Collectively, all of us, need to confront these challenges from the PRC.”


2019 Hudson Institute Herman Kahn Award Presentation Remarks. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on the Communist China Challenge.

The Enemy Gets to Vote, Right?

Pompeo characterized the State Department’s new approach to Communist China as ‘a departure.’ In fact, the change in U.S. diplomacy is so comprehensive that it warrants being seen as the new ‘Trump China Doctrine.’ According to this ‘departure’ by the US government—and many of its most powerful citizens—it is no longer realistic to ignore the fundamental differences between the two systems and the way that difference impacts national [and international] security.

Americans were slow to recognize the risk in China. Henry Kissinger, seated at the head table for this gala, and the former Secretary of State that opened U.S. relations with China back in 1972, sized up this ‘departure’ three weeks later. Speaking with Bloomberg reporters he described it as putting the U.S. ‘on the foothills of a Cold War with China.’

Because they wanted friendship, China has been accommodated and encouraged for decades even at the expense of American values, Western democracy, security and good common sense. In order to normalize relations with China, ties with Taiwan, Vietnam, Japan, South Korea, the Philippines and influence over the South China Sea, and the Strait of Taiwan, were at times downplayed.

“Now we know that China threatens America’s national security by developing asymmetric weapons that threatens our strategic assets too.”

In other words, China has built up military capabilities that far exceed what they would need for self-defence.

Talk of human rights issues and ideological differences were also downplayed, including: The Tiananmen Square massacre, trampling of the most basic human rights of its own citizens, Hong Kong, and the gross human rights violations of ethnic minorities in Xinjiang. The CCP represents an entirely different model of governance from our own in which a Leninist Party rules, and everyone must think and act according to the will of Communist elites.

“The Chinese Communist Party is a Marxist-Leninist Party focused on struggle and international domination.”

Beijing is actively building its own international space, participating in international organizations only to validate its authoritarian system and spread its reach. China’s membership in the World Trade Organization, for example, was premised on their commitment to adopt market reforms and abide by the rules of the organization. Yet all too often, China never follows through. Early in the campaign, in a speech in Pennsylvania, candidate Trump called China’s WTO membership “the greatest job theft in history.”

China has engaged in unfair predatory economic practices and is utilizing state assets to build an economic footprint all around the world.

[This opens up the question whether the massive offshore flows of capital from China amount to a strategy for destabilizing key democracies around the world. Is China looking to use the gigantic International trade surpluses to trigger runaway land price inflation in key cities among its chief rivals/competitors? Are communist tycoons from China ‘acting according to the will of Communist elites’?].

Beijing’s intransigence relies on a permanent class of China lobbyists whose primary job is to sell access to Chinese leaders and connect business partners. Beijing controlled and limited access to our diplomates, journalists, and academics when traveling in mainland China. There are real differences between how American diplomats are treated and the access they have, and how we treat Chinese diplomats. This absence of reciprocity is deeply inconsistent with American values.

“These bad outcomes were all too predictable… a secretive regime doesn’t respect fairness, the rule of law, and reciprocity… The Chinese Communist Party is truly hostile to the United States.”

Beijing uses coercion as a preferred tool of statecraft. Closing deals with bribes, often trapping many in debilitating levels of debt [shades of the IMF here].

The U.S. wants China to be successful, to have a successful economy, transparent, competitive and market-driven. An economy that is mutually beneficial for all involved. Yet, China weakens the American manufacturing base with massive intellectual property theft—as related by Fortune 500 CEOs meeting at the State Department as recently as last week. China demands companies self-censor in order to maintain access to their markets. The case with the NBA is still at hand. When companies disagree, they ought to be permitted to air that disagreement.

Silencing dissent is not acceptable.

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