Asked what keeps him awake at night, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo didn’t hesitate.
“Washington DC,” he quipped, before adding more seriously, “China.”
Pompeo’s humor belied his deeper concerns about the Biden administration, who have made it clear they want to make a legacy of undoing any policy with Trump attached to it, particularly when it comes to the US-China relationship.
“I’m very concerned this administration is not going to continue what we started,” Pompeo admitted to The Cats Roundtable, adding the job of reestablishing American prestige under the Trump administration wasn’t finished “by any stretch of the imagination.”
While American adversaries seem emboldened by Biden’s presidency, it was China in particular that concerned Pompeo the most.
“Today the Chinese communist party presents this great threat,” Pompeo said, comparing the current tension between the US and China with the Soviet Union. But the challenge with China, Pompeo told The Cats Roundtable, was of a different scale.
“We need to be serious about this, thoughtful,” Pompeo urged. “And the time is now.”
But if Trump and Pompeo recognized the scale of the problem, and attempted to push back on decades of Beijing’s overreach, Biden has tried to sweep the problem under the rug. This is particularly true in the ties China has to the ongoing crisis on the southern border, with Chinese Fentanyl smuggled into the US from Mexico.
“It’s not just not just a problem for Texas and Arizona and California,” Pompeo told The Cats Roundtable. “It’s a problem for the entire country.”
But Biden’s legacy of undoing Trump policy had stonewalled the attempts to cut the supply chains of drugs that kill tens of thousands of Americans a year.
“We had solved this to a large degree,” Pompeo mourned. “And they came and undid the negotiations I had led with the Mexican government, and now you can see the crisis that follows.”
But perhaps more sinister was the failure of US medical experts to put pressure on China about the origins and scale of the Covid19 pandemic. Pompeo dismissed the faith US medical leaders had shown Beijing, scoffing at the idea the CCP had an incentive to be truthful abonut what happened.
And the obfuscation about the pandemic is a symptom of a much larger system of play, Pompeo told The Cats Roundtable. Bolstered by a rise in Chinese nationalism, the Chinese military has increasingly toed the line with the new Biden White House, whose lack of pushback frustrated the former Secretary of State.
“We can push back, we can confront this,” Pompeo assured The Cats Roundtable, but added, “if not, then we’ll be managing American decline—and that’s just unacceptable to me, and it doesn’t have to be the case.”
But that decline, Pompeo fears, is happening from within the US as well. He told The Cats Roundtable the decay of American values at universities at schools in the US scared him the most, despite his encounters with leaders such as North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un.
“Folks just want to put pressure on people who have a conservative mindset and just deny them a space to speak,” Pompeo said about the liberal academy, adding the assault on America happens first in the institutions where we teach its ideals. The decay of constitutional free-speech and values at home was perhaps more dangerous than any force from without.
“Those are dangerous things in our democracy, in our republic,” Pompeo said. “They pose a staggering risk.”
And when holes appear, there will be those who will exploit the openings. Through massive donations, grant programs, and outright bribes, Pompeo warned China actively pursuing new ways to steal intellectual property and conduct an influence operation “at schools across America.”