American Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had a flying visit to Europe this week during which he wielded hostile jibes against China and Russia using anachronistic Cold War rhetoric.
It is obvious Washington is trying to divide the world into “us and them” with such polarizing policy. But this ungainly American policy is bound to fail because it does not match the realities of today’s world.
Pompeo was in London on Monday and Tuesday, then Copenhagen on Wednesday from where he flew back to California to deliver a “major policy speech” on Thursday. The week’s itinerary was dominated by Pompeo urging the “free world” to stand up to China. Hostility towards Russia did not feature so overtly but his visit to Denmark was motivated by Washington’s objective to block the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline which last week Pompeo denounced as a Russian threat to Europe and the United States.
The belligerent rhetoric from the American diplomat was as frenetic and far-fetched as his global flight path. Listening to his condemnations of “communism” and “tyranny” sounded like a bad trip down memory lane to bygone decades of McCarthyite maniacal red-baiting.
One image from the week seemed to be appropriate – albeit unintentionally. It was when Pompeo was ushered by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson into the back garden at Downing Street. The American’s ample gait could hardly fit into the armchair he was assigned to. There was a similar misfit in Pompeo’s Cold War mission with today’s geopolitical realities.
The week culminated in a speech delivered at the Richard Nixon Library and Museum in California. In that address, Pompeo declared: “Securing our freedoms from the Chinese Communist Party is the mission of our time.”
He called for “an alliance of democracies” to “triumph over this new tyranny”.
Pompeo did not mention Russia in that speech, but he has on numerous other occasions bracketed Moscow along with Beijing as being a perceived enemy of the “free world” – that is, the US-dominated Western order. Make no mistake, Washington views Russia with the same hostility as it does China.
Notably, the significance of Pompeo’s speech is that Washington is giving notice that it is intensifying its ideological assault against China and Russia. This revived Cold War mindset is a prevailing view of the American establishment and is bipartisan. Whether Trump is re-elected or his Democrat rival Joe Biden moves into the White House after the November ballot, one can expect the same adversarial agenda to continue.
The significance of Pompeo’s itinerary this week was several fold. His arrival in London coincided with the British government announcing new measures against China over Hong Kong. That followed the dramatic decision by London last week to cancel partnership deals with Chinese telecom firm Huawei. It was as if Pompeo flew in to stiffen British resolve to join in Washington’s anti-China policy.
It was also an opportunity to broadcast the policy to the rest of Europe.
The anti-China theme was maintained in the next leg of his transatlantic odyssey when Pompeo landed in Copenhagen. Washington has recently courted Denmark and its Greenland territory by accusing China and Russia of aggressive intent in the Arctic region. Denmark recently assented to Russia completing the last section of the Nord Stream 2 project which lies in Danish waters. Last week Pompeo unveiled new sanctions against the project which would target all companies involved in the construction. His talks this week with Danish politicians were held with minimal public disclosure. One may assume, however, that the American envoy’s purpose was to exert increased pressure over Nord Stream 2.
It is lamentable that Washington is seeking a renewed Cold War. This is not a mere metaphor for the previous decades-old stand-off between the US and the Soviet Union. What Washington is all about is creating an actual Cold War with China and Russia.
The irony is that Pompeo and other US politicians pontificate about “hegemony” and “tyranny”, ascribing those terms to China and Russia. The reality is that Washington is the foremost entity which demands hegemony and if it does not command this dominating position over its clients (so-called allies) then they are apt to feel Washington’s tyranny in the form of sanctions and bullying.
China and Russia have both repeatedly appealed for a multipolar world of partnership and co-development. The highly integrated nature of the global economy and communications make such a multipolar view of the world and international relations not only relevant but indeed necessary.
American power, from its capitalist and imperialist exigencies, is incompatible with a mutually interdependent world. It insists on a unilateralist dominance, or hegemony. Of course, this brutish arrangement is belied with Orwellian rhetoric about defending the “free world” and “democracy”.
America’s power is essentially aggressive because in order to maintain its sought-after dominance it inevitably must use confrontation. That is why Washington and its transatlantic allies like Britain’s Winston Churchill created the Cold War following the Second World War. It is why Washington continues to insist on fracturing the world into a “them and us” paradigm. Such an ideology has grave implications for world peace and security. Wars, cold and hot, are the ultimate manifestation.
Mike Pompeo frequently recalls his youthful experience as a US army captain based in Germany “patrolling the Iron Curtain”. This experience, we are told, informs his view of international relations today. But his military youth was 40 years ago. The world has changed.
Evidently Pompeo, as with Washington in general, is still trapped in a frozen mentality of desiring American hegemony. And to achieve that, the United States is trying to shape the world into one of confrontation. But Washington’s lumbering policy no longer fits the world as it objectively is.