Commentary: Pompeo’s China-bashing campaign doomed to founder

by Xinhua writer Tian Dongdong

BRUSSELS, Nov. 21 (Xinhua) — For far too long, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has without merit bashed China as he scrambled to distract the international community from problems of his country’s own making.

When Pompeo urged the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) alliance to unite against a so-called “China threat” on Wednesday at a news conference at NATO headquarters here, he was met with utter indifference.

His appearance at the NATO gathering came as Washington’s divisions within NATO continue to deepen and the security bloc’s faith in Washington wanes. Pompeo may try desperately to portray China as an imaginary enemy, but others know better. The future of the bloc is under threat, but not by China.

By smearing China in trade, Pompeo has shrugged off the U.S.’s role in abusing tariffs and resorting to protectionism. In the face of increasing cracks within the bloc, the U.S. diplomat claimed that NATO was “in a competition of values” with countries like China.

His attempts to salvage cohesion within NATO by making China a target and sidelining Washington’s conflicts with the alliance have apparently not worked.

After his tirade against China ended, no reporter from either the United States or NATO member states asked him a single question related to China.

Instead, reporters were mainly focused on arms control, NATO divisions and U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland’s testimony on the impeachment inquiry into U.S. President Donald Trump.

Despite the lack of interest in his rhetoric on China by the press, Pompeo still cooked up some China-bashing fare: Arms control dilemma with Russia? Blame China; Why NATO allies should spend more on defense? Blame China; Why is NATO divided on its future orientation? Blame China.

From “China threat” to “China challenge,” from “value differences” to “predatory approach,” there seems to be no end to Pompeo’s anti-China rhetoric. Tasking it upon himself to mention China at nearly every major occasion, his audiences have grown fatigued with his smearing tactics.

In the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates 161 years ago, former U.S. President Abraham Lincoln said it best: “You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”

May the wisdom of a lauded U.S. leader serve as a reminder.

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