US Hawks Revive Criticism of China Normalization

Pompeo urges new 'alliance of democracies' against China

Presidents Nixon and Carter defined their policies in the 1970s with an effort to improve US ties with China, which gave way to decades of lucrative economic partnerships across the Pacific. As the Trump Administration turns hostile toward China, a new generation of hawks are urging an historical rethink, disavowing any attempts at rapprochement.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is leading the charge both in hostility and against Nixonian policy, saying “the old paradigm of blind engagement with China simply won’t get it done.” Pompeo has made huge anti-China speeches almost daily, counseling international unity against the Chinese.

Pompeo said he believes the world needs to form a “new alliance of democracies” against China, saying the Chinese will only continue their tyranny “if we allow it.” Other analysts, however, say Pompeo is misleading to claim that “blind engagement” was ever US policy.

Rather, US rapprochement with China was a pragmatic decision of the Cold War, and almost no one ever expected it to lead to Chinese liberalization. Picking fights with China now risks worsening US-China ties, and views hostility as an end unto itself.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of