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Secretary Pompeo remarks at the Hudson Institute’s Herman Kahn Award Gala

Secretary Pompeo remarks at the Hudson Institute’s Herman Kahn Award Gala


SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you, that’s very
kind. I always prefer if I get the applause after
I speak – (laughter) – because then you know how – then you know how you did. And Rupert, you reference the Senate race
and book publishing. I’m pretty sure those are both felonies
if I talked about them – (laughter) – so I’m not going to mention either tonight. Thank you so much for those kind words, Rupert,
for your generous introduction. Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
it’s great to be with you all tonight. It’s remarkable I’m sitting at the table
with Dr. Kissinger and Hank Greenberg, the Sterns – amazing people who have done amazing
things for America. Thank you all so much for your remarkable
service. I’ve been fortunate to get a chance to know
Dr. Kissinger. He’s in his mid-90s. Secretary Shultz is mid-90s. I’ve got a lot of runway left. (Laughter.) Must be something about Foggy Bottom that
keeps you going. Thanks, too, Ken, and the board of trustees
here for taking such good care of us. I’m humbled by your generosity and the receipt
of this award tonight. My son often reminds me there’s much for
me to be humble for. He – I actually told him about this, and
he got online, he looked up all the previous recipients, and he wondered if the institute
hadn’t might lost its way. (Laughter.) He’s also famous for having sent out a note
to the entire team that takes care of me when I travel saying, “When my dad got off the
plane tonight, he looked like he was half dead. Would somebody put makeup on him?” (Laughter.) It was like 3:00 in the morning in some far-off
place. I thought I’d take you back just a minute
to talk about something that’s very much on my mind. I remember I had hoped to be sworn in on January
20th, 2017 as America’s CIA director right – a few hours after President Trump’s
inauguration. But Senator Wyden had a different idea about
timeline, and so I was held up on that Friday. But I had asked the President to come out
to CIA headquarters on Saturday morning, out to Langley. So when I showed up there that day and the
President showed up there that day, I was still the congressman from the 4th District
of Kansas hoping that I could scrounge 51 votes on Monday. I mention that because I will never forget
what President Trump was focused on. Literally less than 24 hours after he had
been sworn in, he was sitting with me and the senior counterterrorism team at the CIA,
and he told – he said three things. He said: I’m going to give you everything
you need to do; I’m going to give you the authorities you need to conduct this campaign
in a way that will keep Americans safe; I want to make sure that we destroy the caliphate,
and I want to get the guy who’s the leader of ISIS. And – (applause) – and we worked for two
and a half years – the team was fantastic. The work that was done will absolutely make
an important contribution to America’s national security. The President led that effort. He was committed to it. He supported everything that I did and then
my successor, Director Haspel, and the amazing work of the Department of Defense and all
the teams that brought Baghdadi to eternal justice. (Applause.) I hope you all know when you –
when you get a chance to see someone who is in uniform or someone who is an intelligence
officer, you wouldn’t know. There’s actually some of you all sitting
out here tonight. You wouldn’t know. Please thank them. It was amazing work that they did and important. There’s still much work to do. The threat from radical Islamic extremism
certainly is not gone, but the work that was done to lead that shows the excellence, the
uniqueness, and to the point that was mentioned earlier, the exceptionalism that we have here
in the United States of America. I think it’s true that we can think long
about history. Half a century ago your founder charged your
institution to think about the future in unconventional ways. President Trump, when he selected me to be
the Secretary – the director of the CIA was certainly thinking about something unconventional. Who would have predicted that this kid from
Southern California would have this amazing privilege? He also knew – Herman knew – that in the
interest of furthering and protecting this great and noble experience that we call the
United States of America, that there was no higher mission than to getting that right. That’s why I thought I’d focus in the
few minutes today before I take some questions, I thought I’d focus on something that is
central to what the Trump administration is working on that is different from previous
administrations. That’s not political, we have just – we
have taken on the challenge from the People’s Republic of China in a way that the time is
calling for. Look, we have a long-cherished tradition of
friendship with the Chinese people. We continue to do so today. We have a Chinese American community here
in America that we love and treasure. I’ve known them through business and personal
ties; I’ve known many of them. But I must say that the communist government
in China today is not the same as the people of China. They’re reaching for and using methods that
have created challenges for the United States and for the world. And we collectively, all of us, need to confront
these challenges from the PRC head-on, and along each of the many facets. There are many opportunities, to be sure,
but it is no longer realistic to ignore the fundamental differences between our two systems
and the impact, the impact that those two systems have, the differences in those systems
have on American national security. This is a departure, for sure. It might be viewed as unconventional. It’s not what you’ve heard from leaders
for the last two decades plus. Frankly, we’ve been slow to see the risk
of China – the risk that it poses to American national security, because we wanted friendship
with the People’s Republic from the very start. And because we, as Americans, always continue
to hope for that. But frankly, in our efforts to achieve this
goal, we accommodated and encouraged China’s rise for decades, even when – even when
that rise was at the expense of American values, Western democracy, and security, and good
common sense. We downgraded our relationship with our long-time
friend, Taiwan, on the condition that the “Taiwan question” would be resolved peacefully,
to normalize relations with Beijing. We all too often shied away from talking directly
about the human rights issues there and American values when they came into conflict, and we
downplayed ideological differences, even after the Tiananmen Square massacre and other significant
human rights abuses. We encouraged China’s membership in the
World Trade Organization and other international organizations, premised on their commitment
to adopt market reforms and abide by the rules of those organizations. And all too often, China never followed through. We hesitated and did far less than we should
have when China threatened its neighbors like Vietnam, and like the Philippines, and when
they claimed the entire South China Sea. Frankly, we did an awful lot that accommodated
China’s rise in the hope that communist China would become more free, more market-driven,
and ultimately, hopefully more democratic. And we did this for a long time. There’s another reason we adopted these
policies: We didn’t realize how China was evolving. Frankly, the American people didn’t get
the full story. I’ve talked to so many business leaders. U.S. companies that invested heavily in China
were forced to comply with China’s terms. This includes just about any topic that the
Chinese Communist Party deemed controversial. Beijing’s intransigence creates a permanent
class of China lobbyists in the United States. Their primary job is to sell access to Chinese
leaders and connect business partners. And frankly, whenever there was a dispute
or tension in the relationship, many of our scholars blamed the United States for misrepresenting
the nature of the Chinese Communist Party. Meanwhile, Beijing controlled and limited
access to our diplomats, journalists, and academics to the main – when they were traveling
to mainland China. They still do that today. If you saw the difference – if you saw the
difference in how Chinese diplomats are treated and how American diplomats and the access
they have, you too would find the absence of reciprocity deeply inconsistent with American
values. And China’s state-run media and government
spokespeople filled the gaps, routinely maligning American intentions and policy objectives. They still do that today. They distorted how Americans view the People’s
Republic and how they review General Secretary Xi. These bad outcomes were all too predictable. They were predictable byproducts of dealing
with a secretive regime that doesn’t respect fairness, the rule of law, and reciprocity. Today, we’re finally realizing the degree
to which the Chinese Communist Party is truly hostile to the United States and our values,
and its worse deeds and words and how they impact us. And we’re able to do that because of the
leadership of President Trump. The President sounded this issue, this alarm,
since his very first day. I remember one speech he gave back in Pennsylvania
when he called China’s WTO membership “the greatest job theft in history.” A lot of people laughed. I don’t think so many of them are laughing
now that they can see the reality. It’s the case that now we know China weakens
America’s manufacturing base by conducting massive intellectual property theft. I had a group of Fortune 500 CEOs in my office
last week. The stories are staggering. Now we know too that China threatens American
freedoms by demanding our companies self-censor to maintain access to that Chinese market. We’ve all seen the stories recently of the
NBA. The truth is Beijing ought to be free to run
its own PR campaign; they’re a sovereign nation. But if we disagree, our companies ought to
be permitted to have that disagreement. Silencing dissent simply is not acceptable. And now we know – now we know that China
threatens America’s national security by developing asymmetric weapons that threaten
our strategic assets too. The list goes on. And these aren’t just our problems. They’re problems for all nations that share
our values. When we see Beijing use coercion as a preferred
tool of statecraft, it’s not good for those of us who believe in democracy and sovereignty
as the fundamental norms that ought to dominate world commerce and the way nations interact. These ideas, they threaten the free and open
international order by making extrajudicial territorial and maritime claims in places
like the South China Sea and the Taiwan Strait. We know too that Beijing entwines its neighbors
and others in its state-led economic model, often closing deals with bribes, often trapping
many in debilitating debt levels, threatening their own sovereignty. And now we know too and we can see China’s
regime trampling the most basic human rights of its own citizens – the great and noble
Chinese people. We’ve seen this in Hong Kong, where they
need to live up to their promises and commitments, and we’ve seen it in the gross human rights
violation of ethnic minorities in Xinjiang. We know too that the Chinese Communist Party
is offering its people and the world an entirely different model of governance. It’s one in which a Leninist Party rules
and everyone must think and act according to the will of the Communist elites. That’s not a future that I want, I think
it’s not a future that anyone in this room wants, it’s not a future that other democracies
want, and it’s not a future that the people of China – the freedom-loving people of
China everywhere don’t want this model. President Trump’s National Security Strategy
lays this out. It recognizes China as a strategic competitor. That means there’s challenges and there’s
real opportunities, and we hope that we can engage with them in ways that are constructive. But it’s reality. It’s the truth. It’s also the case that we didn’t choose
some of these issues. China forced them upon us. In the coming months, I’m going to give
a series of sets of remarks. I’m going to talk about each of these in
some more detail. I’ll talk about the competing ideologies
and values and the impact that has on America and the world. The Chinese Communist Party is a Marxist-Leninist
Party focused on struggle and international domination. We need only listen to the words of their
leaders. I’ll discuss too how they interfere with
the things we take most for granted here in the United States. The party’s intelligence agencies, the United
Front Work, and its propaganda outlets have embarked on a global campaign to change public
opinion in favor of Beijing. We want to preserve our freedoms – our freedom
of speech and we want to make sure that information flows freely everywhere. And I’ll discuss too the impact on the international
order. Beijing is actively creating its own international
space and it participates in international organizations to validate its authoritarian
system and spread its reach. We in the United States, and I think the good
people who are part of the Hudson Institute, want to preserve the existing free and open
international order that the United States has helped create and continues to lead. And I’ll too – talk too about the economy. China has engaged in unfair predatory economic
practices and it’s utilizing state assets to build its economic footprint all around
the world. We want China to be successful. We want it to have a successful economy. We want a transparent, competitive, market-driven
system that is mutually beneficial for all involved. You can see the first steps towards that in
the Phase 1 deal that we are close to signing. I’m optimistic we’ll get there. It’s a good thing, a place that we can work
together. We want to make sure that we get that right
and we want to make sure that the economic relationships are fair, reciprocal, and balanced
as between us as well. I think this will show that there is common
ground to be had, and the Trump administration will work tirelessly to find it wherever we
can. And I’ll get a chance too to talk about
how our militaries compete and the capabilities that China has built up that far exceed what
they would need for self-defense. There’s lots of discussion, lots of think-tank
discussion, lots of academic discussion about what the relationship will look like between
the United States and China in the years and decades ahead. I’ll be clear about what the United States
wants: We don’t want a confrontation with the People’s Republic of China. In fact, we want just the opposite. We want to see a prosperous China that is
at peace with its own people and with its neighbors. We want to see a thriving China where the
Chinese business community transact business with the rest of the world on a fair set of
reciprocal terms that we all know and understand. And we want to see a liberalized China that
allows the genius of its people to flourish. And we want to see a China that respects basic
human rights of its own people, as guaranteed by its own constitution. But above all, it’s critical that as Americans,
we engage China as it is, not as we wish it were. Herman Kahn used to remind us, he would urge
us to think unconventionally to create persuasive arguments for policy and make those arguments
consistently to the American people. We have to think anew, and unconventionally,
about the People’s Republic of China. I hope you will all join me in that. We will learn together and we will develop
a strong relationship between these two nations. I’m going to now stop and take a few questions
from mister – Ken. Thank you. God bless you all. (Applause.) MR WEINSTEIN: Mr. Secretary, always an honor
and a pleasure to be with – wait, am I – Mr. Secretary, always an honor and a pleasure
to be with you. I guess the World Series isn’t going to
be the big news headline tomorrow morning. Well, what a — SECRETARY POMPEO: Depends if the Nationals
win. (Applause.) MR WEINSTEIN: Let me just throw out a few
questions. That was a truly remarkable speech, clearly
the first of several, as you indicated, on this important theme of the competition between
the United States and China, the future of China, the future of our relations, and the
future also of freedom in China. You said – that was an incredibly rich speech. Let me pick out one theme and ask you about
it first, which is the question – you talked about how freedom-loving people everywhere
reject the Leninist model – including in China – reject the Leninist model of the
Chinese Communist Party, and you drew a distinction between the Chinese people and the Chinese
Communist Party. How do you think about these issues? SECRETARY POMPEO: Well, I always start with
a fundamental proposition that President Trump speaks to very directly: Every nation is sovereign. They get to lead their nation in the way they
want. We respect Chinese sovereignty; they have
the right to lead it. I always – I stare at this and think about
the – I think about this as we’ve seen governments with ideologies like this before. This is not new in terms of how countries
operate in the world. And while I know what America wants, what
we’d like our relationship with China to be, I’m always reminded – and we talk
about this an awful lot of times in counterterrorism. In the counterterrorism world, when do you
get to stop doing this? The answer is the enemy gets to vote, right? We think about that. Our adversaries get a choice on how this will
proceed. And I think we need to try to help China make
good choices, because we – and if we do that well, we’ll create a set of incentives
that will reward those choices. And when I say good, good choices for the
world – this is a billion and a half people that they’re going to be an important, powerful
country in the world. This is a certainty. We don’t reject that, we don’t think that’s
improper. We want them – we want them to be successful
and grow and prosper. But there’s been this notion – there’s
been this notion that the Chinese put forward about win-win, that every transaction can
be win-win. And that’s true when you do a business deal,
when I give you 50 cents and you give me a Snicker bar, you’re happier with the 50
cents, I’m happy with the Snicker. But it’s – right, that’s – right,
it’s basic market underpinnings. It’s not been the case that these have all
been win-win. It’s been the case that we’ve had U.S.
companies go in there and they have been given commercial access. I was pleased they made decisions on banking
and insurance regulations that they’re – that are changed. These are really good signs. I’m encouraged by that. I hope they’ll continue to do that. I hope we’ll continue to open markets for
them as well. The President has said if we can get to where
there are no barriers – right, no – we want this to be fair, and we want there to
be even more trade between the two countries. When you think about that, you have to lay
it against the ideological overlay inside the country, and decide whether that is something
that you can achieve, and more importantly, what are the things that we can do so that
we’re more likely to achieve that outcome? MR WEINSTEIN: So stay tuned for future speeches
on this subject, surely. SECRETARY POMPEO: We – President Trump has
made clear this is a central relationship for the United States for the next 50 or 100
years. We are all still figuring out the right tactics
and strategy to deliver against the objectives that I set out here tonight: a strong, connected
relationship with China. How do you get there? How do you think about this? We’ll learn as we go along. The United States will iterate; it’s what
we do best. We’re creative, we will adapt. But we think it’s absolutely essential that
we do so in a way that reflects what’s really happening, and the risks attendant with that. MR WEINSTEIN: Let me ask you about Hong Kong
quickly. How – what should the United States be doing? SECRETARY POMPEO: It won’t surprise you
I think we’ve got our policy right. (Laughter.) Look, we’re hopeful that – the Chinese
made a commitment that – we hope they’ll live up to that. And at the same time, we’re telling everyone
that we interact with we don’t want violence. We want this – we think there should be
a political solution to the conflict that’s taking place there. We say this to – I say this to my Chinese
counterparts, I say this publicly when we want the protesters to hear this too. We don’t want them to engage in violence
either. We hope they can find a path forward that
is consistent with the idea of “One Country, Two Systems.” That’s the commitment that the Chinese Government
made. We hope they’ll live up to it. MR WEINSTEIN: And lastly, let me ask you about
as you – as you balance your incredible responsibilities as Secretary of State and
you look at the unbelievable turmoil around the world – I mean, we’re living in one
of the most tumultuous periods certainly in recent history or if not in the last – certainly
in the last few decades. How do you as Secretary of State set your
priorities on a strategic level? You’ve got China, North Korea. You’ve got Iran. You’ve got the need for our allies to step
up further, to do more. But we also need to make sure that we keep
them engaged because of this geostrategic competition with China. How do you – at the – how do you balance
these things? SECRETARY POMPEO: Ken, that’s a long list. I feel bad for coming to New York tonight. (Laughter.) I need to get back to work. So a couple things. First of all, the President set out a framework
and continues to set out a framework for how we think about these issues and prioritize
them. It’s also a blessing that we have a country
that is wealthy enough to support a State Department team that’s capable of doing
many things at one time. As for my time and attention, I try to spend
my days pushing along those projects where it looks like I can get a high ROI on my time,
while also making sure that I invest in the things that I know I’ll leave behind, sort
of the institutional things at the State Department so that this team is in a place where we’ve
got the right leaders and the right training and the right human capital inside the U.S.
Department of State, so that when my time is up, the next set of – the next set of
leaders will come along and have a talented, capable workforce that’s ready to engage
and deliver American diplomacy around the world. MR WEINSTEIN: Well, thank you very much, Mr.
Secretary. It’s really been an immense honor. I’ll turn it over to our great board chair
Sarah Stern. (Applause.) MS STERN: Wow. I think he gets a standing O for that. He asked how about the – about the – (applause.) Mr. Secretary, you said it would depend on
the applause afterwards. I think that was an incredible talk. I think we in this room are all now insiders
about what’s about to happen. I can’t wait to listen to the rest of your
talks as they are unrolled. You certainly have paid attention to the views
of our Hudson experts on China, so thank you for that. (Applause.) I think freedom-loving people around the globe,
starting in China but moving on to some of those other places like Venezuela, Iran, other
places that are living under nondemocratic governments, would thank you for that. And I think that people who live in democratic
governments, and particularly Americans, and particularly the people in this room, would
say thank you. (Applause.) So we give Hudson Institute’s award to celebrate
farsighted leaders who have made exceptional contributions to the security, prosperity,
and freedom of the United States and its allies. I cannot imagine anyone better suited than
you to address the complex set of challenges that faces our country today. Last week, on Hudson’s podcast, The Realignment,
you mentioned that in dealing with China it is important to speak without emotion and
with great clarity. As we heard tonight, these two characteristics
do define your approach to China and also to other world affairs. As we’ve also heard tonight, you bring a
powerful intellect informed by an understanding of history and fueled by creativity. In fact, I can think of no greater praise
than to say you sound and act downright Hudsonian. (Laughter and applause.) So it is my great honor to present you with
the Herman Kahn Award. SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you. Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you.

38 comments on “Secretary Pompeo remarks at the Hudson Institute’s Herman Kahn Award Gala

  1. im the best at not winning its how I lived the worst life ever lived. I hit my head into the the wall forehead first knowing its exactly how to hit and get defeated as the battering ram of allah the name that I chose for me the leader of my countries biggest enemy. even now I reveal myself so exact everyone knows how to read me because I fore cast my exact intentions so nyou wont reverse me backto success on accident not noticing I had not revealed anything but the perfect fuck up that's why I jack off with my dick headed straight towards the sky so god can see exactly what ill never let him suck. im going to kill myself in the next couple weeks so eat my corpses ass when I don't let you when im still alive trapped in the hoe to china I dug out when I was five. boom boom boom.

  2. To be honese(wierd but honest), I almost feel flattered that our country being paid so much attention by US ….. "Damn, since when we are that important??…..We feel GOOD"

  3. Pompeo admitted himself to be a liar and a cheat. Is too bad that the CIA taught him to lie and cheat and not diplomacy. If he thinks that this hateful speech is going to bring the Chinese to the negotiating table he is really a moron. China is beating us in every front, to bad mouth them does nothing towards us to do better than them. Pompeo is just another alligator in the swamp and Trump's trade war are sending us right into another depression.

  4. America must wake up now! China has just unleashed a hostile currency war to fight the petro-dollar with its so called "blockchain" central bank backed crypto-currency like a mafia. Unlike Bitcoin, the China one is a highly centralized one. It is devised to be tracked and decoded by China's Central Bank only, so to bypass SWIFT. In order to have a large market to compete with US dollar, China will allow money laundries, tax evasion, criminal transactions to take place outside of China. The CCP anticipates its belt & road countries and African countries having a population of 40 billion to fall under its crypto-currency domain. The size of the blockchain currency market is be up to 2-3 trillion US dollars.

  5. This US administration is God sent, and please take on the battle with Satan’s army – the Communist Party of China. God bless America and American people. Yes, freedom loving people of China will stand with you!

  6. Thank you Secretary Pompeo! More and more Americans are awakened to the Communist China threat, thanks to you and others who tirelessly sounded the alarm all these years! LeBron however ain’t woke, though.

  7. The Ccp can not represent Chinese people. Ccp is evil and imported the communist technic of governing this country. Chinese love US and what USA represents. Just check how many families sent their kids to be educated in USA. Thank you for standing up to Ccp for the world. Kill Ccp cancer for the world

  8. never ever trust the evil ccp regime. it doesn't even follow the constitution and the laws it made. the ccp regime has never stopped brainwashing the chinese people to hate western values. the ccp regime has never abandoned its ultimate goal to push its dictatorship and communist system to the world.

  9. Want to create another middle east disaster in Asia. What he wants is destruction and chaos around the world, so US can become another white knight to save the world.
    Just the opposite of what he said about human rights, he's trying to create internal strife and total destruction of China whereby millions of its people will suffer poverty again?

  10. The US should take actions quick to eliminate ccp. Never believe ccp. Even a trade deal means nothing because the ccp never keep promises.

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