US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Austria and Poland. In his five-day tour, Pompeo tasted the authentic Pilsner beer and walked around the scenic Lake Bled. However, what Pompeo used to repay the gracious hospitality of the host country was an anti-China farce directed and performed by himself. Pompeo had already prepared an elaborate design for the scenario. But when on stage, he was greeted with boos and hisses.
Resurgence of Cold War
Before Pompeo set off for the trip, the New York Times and other media sources foretold that this visit would be an "anti-China and anti-Russia tour". Among the countries Pompeo visited, the Czech Republic, Slovenia and Poland were members of the Socialist Camp, while Austria was at the Cold War forefront. In order to tempt these countries to join the anti-China coterie, Pompeo vainly attempted to revive the ghost of the Cold War and launch the so-called New Cold War.
From the Iron Curtain to the Berlin Wall, from the Prague Spring to the Velvet Revolution, and even back to the Polish-Soviet War 100 years ago, Pompeo racked his brains to recall these historical materials and put them into his speeches, just to re-ignite these countries’ hostility to communism. And his bluff goes like this: China is more Marxist-Leninist than the Soviet Union, and its threat is far greater. But Pompeo forgot: these countries are the biggest victims of the Cold War, and the vast majority of the people would absolutely reject a new cold war. History should be remembered and reflected, but not used to launch a new geopolitical competition.
In almost every speech during the visit, Pompeo recalled himself patrolling along the Iron Curtain. The lieutenant of US Army who used to be stationed on the border between East and West Germany is now in charge of the Truman Building, but his understanding of the world is still trapped in the narrow tank cabin of old time. In the face of this chaotic juxtaposing of time and space, one can't help but say, "Mr. Secretary, times have changed."
Peddling tricks of the 'clean network’
The US has launched the so-called "clean network" program in an attempt to realize the de-Sinicization of the Internet and create an America-first global network. Soon after the plan was announced, Pompeo personally became a peddler. Wherever he visited, he would talk about 5G, try his best to exaggerate the threat of Chinese enterprises and promote the plan of cleaning the Internet. Judging from this European trip, two tricks are apparent in the "Pompeo Scheme":
I.Overstate sales volume. During his visit, Pompeo spoke highly of the Czech Republic's Prague 5G Security Conference, claimed that Austria had recognized the threat of China and US had signed a joint statement with Slovenia. All that Pompeo wants is nothing but to create an illusion that all these three countries are in allegiance with the US and are boycotting China, covering up the truth that all these countries have emphasized that they will not exclude specific countries or enterprises in their 5G construction.
II.Selling through media. Pompeo frequently appeared on interviews during his visit, scaring local people through the camera. "The Chinese government is stealing your private information!" But the press did not always buy his story. "We lied, we cheated, we stole." The host of the Slovenian POP TV quoted the Pompeo-style rhesis to ask him: "The US had global surveillance program. You have NSA tapping Angela Merkel’s phone. Why is China’s play so different that you need Slovenia onboard?" Pompeo became embarrassed and was forced to say: "You’d be better off not using it in your interviews. I said it in jest."
Super spreader of anti-China virus
Pompeo is well known for his "anti-China stand". He spreads the anti-China "political virus" wherever he goes. In the Czech Senate, Pompeo wantonly spread rumors on such issues as Hong Kong, South China Sea, Xinjiang, Tibet and Taiwan. The Czech Senate President Vystrcil’s plan to visit Taiwan met with unanimous opposition from the Czech president, prime minister and foreign minister, while Pompeo openly applauded the right-wing anti-China politicians. In Slovenia, Pompeo talked about China's "economic manipulation" and "debt trap". When he arrived in Vienna, Pompeo repeated the same old tune, slandering China's absence from the nonexistent "China-US-Russia nuclear talks."
To Pompeo's surprise, he planned to piece together an anti-China encirclement, but ended up being encircled. His political lies did not sell well, and US diplomacy became the target of public criticism. Pompeo talked about freedom and democracy in the Czech Senate, but a senator asked on the spot: "In recent years, we witnessed US withdrawal from the Human Rights Council and World Health Organization. Will the withdrawal of the US not endanger the cooperation of democratic countries and weaken democratic society?"
Austrian President Van der Bellen admitted that he was disappointed by US withdrawal from the Paris Agreement. During Pompeo's visit, 24 EU countries, including the Czech Republic, Slovenia and Austria, jointly protested to the US Department of State and criticized that the US sanctions on the Russia-Europe Nord Stream 2 natural gas cooperation project violated international law. The United States' motion to extend the arms embargo against Iran was also completely defeated in the Security Council, and all the European allies in council abstained.
The host of the ORF TV of Austria asked Pompeo: "Is the Trump administration lacking leadership? Should it be held responsible for the losses caused by the COVID-19 epidemic in the US?"
Pompeo unashamedly replied that the Trump administration had done a good job, and the responsibility lies with China. It is this arrogant attitude that makes Pompeo lift a stone and smash his own foot. No wonder the POLITICO website called the visit Pompeo's Bohemian Rhapsody and a "summer fell-good tour".
The new Europe and the new Cold War
A Czech proverb goes like this "when they are trying to trap a bird, they sing to him nicely." (když ptáčka lapají, pěkně mu zpívají.) Pompeo did brought some benefits to the four countries during his visit. But anyone with a discerning eye can see the Secretary is more keen to win over other countries to scold China than achieving bilateral practical cooperation.
At present, the differences between the United States and Germany, France and other "old European" countries are deepening in terms of global anti-epidemic cooperation, Iran nuclear agreement, energy cooperation and other issues. Pompeo and some other US politicians pinned their hopes of forming an anti-China alliance on the new Europe and attempted to tie these Central and Eastern European countries to the chariot of confrontation.
People like Pompeo will not stop here, and more absurd anti-China dramas will be staged in the future. In the face of their tricks and inducements, all countries are forced to choose to stand on the right side of history. As Julius Fucik, a Czech national hero exclaimed in the Notes from the Gallows when faced with the threat of fascism: "People, be careful!"
The author is an expert on international affairs. The opinions expressed here are those of the writer and do not represent the views of China Daily and China Daily website.