"Ah, how the seeds of cockiness blossom when soiled in ignorance." - Steve Alten, The Loch.
Pompeo: Trump Administration 'Not Finished Yet' on China
The Secretary of State used some of his strongest rhetoric to date to describe the Chinese government in a Tuesday speech to the Ronald Reagan Institute detailing the administration’s China policies. (Excerpt) (Source: Department of State)
Posted November 12, 2020
(Excerpt - Full speech below)
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The Promise of America
SECRETARY POMPEO: Well, good morning, everyone. And thanks, Roger. Thanks to you also, Ben, and all the Reagan Foundation trustees, and the institute staff for making this event possible. It’s really special to be here today.
I’m honored that you asked me to inaugurate this Center for Freedom and Democracy.
See if I can’t solve this feedback problem myself.
As we were getting ready for this, as my team was helping me get ready, I was reminded of a line from Emerson – I don’t quote poetry often; I should do so more – (laughter) – that President Reagan quoted during his famous speech at Westminster, in 1982. He said that an institution is lengthened by the shadow of one man.
And there is no man who did more than Reagan to restore America’s confidence and advance human freedom in the post-World War II era.
And so there’s no better first event for the Sutton Family Auditorium than continuing that work by launching this new institution, 40 years after America sent our 40th President to the White House.
The people watching online and those in this room are students of President Reagan.
As a kid growing up in California, I got to see him in action as the governor. It was a very different California then. (Laughter.)
But it was Ronald Reagan as governor who believed in the promise of America and of our people.
He understood that no other nation, under God, was conceived in liberty quite like the one that we are.
His deep, innate understanding of America as an exceptional place in the world gave him the strength to face down the Soviet scourge.
He was confident. He was confident that every threat that he faced – and I must say I am, too. We have many threats today that remain.
But I am equally confident that America will overcome any challenge, from Communist China to the terrorist regime in Tehran.
Because that’s what free people do. We come together; we solve problems; we win, they lose; and we execute our foreign policy confident that we are that shining city on a hill.
And that’s what I want to spend a few minutes talking about today.
Look, I know you all believe in the promise of America’s freedom. President Trump believes in it.
I do too.
Our nation’s story isn’t about dehumanizing critical theories. It’s not about oppressors and oppressed.
It’s not about materialism, or even that might makes right.
It’s about the reality that all men and women are made in the image of God, with certain inherent, God-given rights just by virtue of our humanity. These truths in the Declaration really are indeed self-evident.
Never before, in all of recorded history, was a nation founded on the premise that government’s role is to protect those very rights, to secure them. And it’s what makes us so special. It’s what makes us so good, and it’s what I get to see every day as I work with my team or travel around the world.
It’s what always made our life so attractive to the strivers and those who are seeking a better world.
I must say, as I travel, you don’t see individual families trying to migrate to Iran, or to Russia, or to Venezuela. Those countries offer abuse, not the opportunities that free nations can afford peoples.
I’ve talked about American exceptionalism. I did so in Brussels; I did it in Cairo; I did it in Jakarta, and every opportunity that I’ve had in my public life. Sometimes it was met with a resounding thud as well. I’ve walked out of quiet ward rooms.
But President Reagan talked about America’s founding promise. He did it in the same way and did it every chance he got, too.
And at Westminster, he reminded the audience what kind of people they were: free people, worthy of freedom, and determined to not only remain so but to help others gain their freedoms as well.
He, President Reagan, put his belief in freedom and the American promise at the very center of how he thought about foreign policy. And so is the Trump administration.
It was a half-dozen years after his Westminster Address, President Reagan returned to England and at Guildhall described how he had executed the vision he had outlined in 1982. He said his foreign policy had been one of “strength and candor.”
And those principles have guided President Trump’s foreign policy, too. Take a look at the things that we have done so far.
In the Middle East, American strength has replaced leading from behind. We destroyed the caliphate, the ISIS caliphate. We killed Baghdadi and Soleimani, and we have restored substantial deterrence.
The effort against the Islamic Republic of Iran to put maximum pressure has denied Tehran and its terrorist proxies tens of billions of dollars.
American diplomatic strength has made our relationships with our Gulf partners the closest that they have ever been.
And by just simply recognizing Jerusalem – candidly recognizing Jerusalem – as the capital of Israel and acknowledging that the Golan Heights are part of Israel, we’ve helped secured our ally, the Jewish state, as central to the region’s future.
And it’s – much to the chagrin of some here in town – has delivered peace and forged new ties of prosperity and security through the Abraham Accords. But we’re not finished yet.
Those pillars of strength and candor are also the foundation for America’s policy towards the world’s number-one threat to freedom today: the Chinese Communist Party.
I’ve spoken about this at great length, and I have borrowed from President Reagan with great frequency in how we think about this challenge. For 40 years-plus, we steered a course correction. We changed. Been handled with kid gloves and we had ignored all the contrary evidence that showed that the regime in Beijing really is troublesome. We showed what it is. It is authoritarian; it is brutish and is antithetical to human dignity and freedom.
And we’ve stated clearly and consistently that the United States-China relations will not be dictated by exceptions carved out by the party, but by the simple and powerful standards expected of any nation with aspirations to play a role on the global stage.
That means what we’ve told our counterparts in China – accountability, transparency, reciprocity from Beijing. This is exactly what President Reagan demanded from Moscow.
And it also means no more illegal claims in the South China Sea, no more coercion and co-optation of American businesses, no more consulates used as dens of spies, no more stealing of intellectual property, and no more ignoring fundamental human rights violations. And the party’s atrocities in Xinjiang, Tibet, and elsewhere will not be tolerated.
This challenge requires not only diplomatic effort but military strength to keep the peace. So this administration has made historic investments to enhance our armed forces and to focus their efforts and bolster our primacy in the region.
I’ve been the Secretary of State now for coming on 30 months, traveled the world talking to our friends and partners about the CCP’s nature and its intentions. I’ve told them that the West is winning. I’ve reminded them that we will prevail.
The good news is that the free world and sovereign nations are beginning to wake up. They are now rallying to this cause. I’ll often hear, we don’t want to pick between the United States and China. I remind them that that’s not the fight. The fight is between authoritarianism, barbarism on one side and freedom on the other.
And so we’ve begun to strengthen the institutions that can achieve this objective. From the Quad, to ASEAN, to NATO, we’ve woken them up to the threat posed by this Marxist-Leninist monster.
The new and lasting consensus on the Chinese Communist Party is an historic result of America’s strength and candor, precisely the traits that President Reagan spoke of.
The fact, the urgency of this matter is now accepted all across the political spectrum, and it shows that the Trump administration has succeeded in making this important shift for American national security and indeed for the freedoms of all humanity.
It’s an accomplishment that will steer a generation of American foreign policymakers.
We should all approach this challenge – and indeed every challenge – confident in our nation’s purpose, sure of our values, and determined to protect our way of life because we believe so deeply in America’s promise.
And just like President Reagan, we have every reason to be optimistic. America itself is a continent-wide reminder that freedom is the superior alternative to tyranny.
If our policies aren’t grounded in a love of America – in the knowledge that, though we’re flawed like every other country, that we are, indeed, an exceptional nation; our founding principles are unique and our future promise is also special – then if we get that wrong, our nation will suffer.
But if we get it right, our friends and allies will see America leading, and we will all emerge stronger, freer, and more confident. And we will face the China challenge.
President Reagan knew this. Appeasement and blind engagement makes us weak. Beijing, Tehran, and other tyrannical regimes take advantage of weakness.
And we cannot ever afford to return to the days when America sacrificed its natural leadership to morally pliant multilateral institutions that, in fact, erode American sovereignty. These institutions are run by the same kind of “little intellectual elite in a far-distant capital” that Reagan warned us about in his speech that he called “A Time for Choosing.”
We can’t sustain an empty dialogue with regimes that have no intention to forge peace, or to respect the free and open order that we worked so diligently – so diligently to build.
President Reagan’s life and his consistent moral clarity offer us incredibly valuable lessons. It was in 1952, near the start of the Cold War, that Ronald Reagan, an actor, went to Fulton, Missouri – middle America, not far from my home in Kansas. He went to where Churchill gave his Iron Curtain speech just a few years earlier.
There he said, quote, “America…is an idea that has been deep in the souls of man ever since man started his long trail from the swamps. It is nothing but the inherent love of freedom in each one of us.”
That idea, that idea of the inherent love of freedom, led millions in Eastern Europe to tear down the Berlin Wall 31 years ago yesterday, and the Iron Curtain in the months that followed fell too.
And we see – we see in this desire for peace all across the world today. We see it in the people of Hong Kong waving American flags. We see it in the people of Venezuela, tired of Nicolas Maduro’s destructive regime. We see it in Nicaragua, we see Iranians and Belarusians all longing for this very human condition. It’s within each of us.
America had debates about how to confront the Soviet threat.
And we’ve debated and will continue to debate how to approach the China challenge. I think that’s good; I think that’s healthy in a democracy.
But our true north, on which we must always return – our true north – a more perfect union, and greater human freedom in the world, must remain.
This place, this special place, the Reagan Institute will play a key part in that.
Today you are reaffirming America’s belief in the great things at the heart of an amazing nation.
And I’m glad, too, that you’re focusing your work on that Westminster Address, where President Reagan spoke about fostering “the infrastructure of democracy” and leaving Soviet communism on the “ash-heap of history.”
Those remarks, they were early on in his presidency. It was bold. And what he says is true.
It was grounded in America’s first principles, but it was forward-looking and optimistic because Reagan knew those principles were right.
This Center will continue to march on. It will continue that march of freedom and democracy for the next generation.
And you’ll keep lengthening the shadow of a man who reminded Americans that we are in fact good, that we are in fact special, and that the world needs us to live up to our nation’s providential promise.
It is an amazing honor to be here as you’re getting started in this new place.
I look forward to following your work and taking some questions today.
May God bless the United States of America. Thank you all. (Applause.)