The U.S. should give Taiwan “every tool” it needs to block a Chinese takeover, according to former Secretary of State and potential 2024 GOP presidential candidate Mike Pompeo, who says an “absence of resolve” in President Biden’s foreign policy has invited aggression from adversaries around the world.
Hostile regimes — from Russia and China to Iran, North Korea and Venezuela — sense weakness and are eager to capitalize, Mr. Pompeo said over the weekend, suggesting the art of great-power deterrence that has long undergirded America’s global posture has all but fallen by the wayside over the past two years.
“Deterrence depends on both capabilities and intention, and the administration has not shown the intention to protect the things that matter,” Mr. Pompeo told The Washington Times in a wide-ranging interview during a visit to South Korea, where he appeared at an event promoting deeper U.S. engagement in the Pacific.
While he sidestepped the question of whether he’ll run for president — saying “only the Lord knows” — Mr. Pompeo said he’ll do everything he can to ensure a Republican victory in the congressional midterms.
He also openly expressed concern that U.S. national security agencies including the FBI are under assault from a “political mindset” that threatens to undermine the core mission of protecting Americans.
When asked about the FBI’s raid of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, Mr. Pompeo said it’s imperative to “strip out the politics” from the agency’s day-to-day operations.
SEE ALSO: Pompeo: Raid on Trump’s home reveals ‘dangerous’ partisan motives in national security agencies
He warned of dangerous consequences “when you start prosecuting your enemies” in domestic politics.
More broadly, he suggested Mr. Biden’s foreign policy missteps should factor into Republican efforts to retake Congress and the White House, with this week’s first anniversary of the Taliban’s surge back to power in Afghanistan looming as one of the more disturbing examples.
Xi sees weakness
The administration’s disastrous handling of the U.S. troop pullout set in motion a trend of adversaries pushing the envelope in increasingly aggressive ways, said Mr. Pompeo, who asserted that China, especially, has grown emboldened to advance its interests vis-a-vis Taiwan with confidence that Washington will seek to avoid confrontation.
Mr. Pompeo said he personally supported reducing U.S. forces in Afghanistan, but only under a “certain set of conditions.”
“Every world leader” witnessed the “debacle” of the U.S. withdrawal last year and “saw an America that wasn’t prepared to do the basic blocking and tackling, something that it was fully capable of doing to protect its people and its interests,” he said.
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“When they see that — that absence of resolve — I think it increases the likelihood that Xi Jinping will make an aggressive attempt to do what he has long wanted to do, which is to bring Taiwan back inside of the Chinese orbit,” he said, adding that “there is little doubt in my mind that Xi Jinping senses weakness from an American administration.”
His comments coincide with hand-wringing in Washington over the Biden administration’s response to rising Chinese military provocations toward Taiwan following House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the island democracy.