WATCH: Pompeo: If You Don’t ‘Impose Costs’ On Your Adversaries, You ‘Don’t Have Much To Negotiate’

Appearing on “The 700 Club” with host Pat Robertson in a wide-ranging interview that covered China, Russia, and Iran, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated that Communist China, rather than terrorism, was the chief foreign problem facing America, asserting, “We spent a lot of time countering terrorism these last 20 years; that was appropriate, but we are now facing a superpower, a military of scale, and we need to make sure we have forces and structure in the right places.” He added, “You use your diplomatic tools as the first line of defense, but diplomacy without leaders who are prepared to actually impose costs on their adversaries; they don’t have much to negotiate.”

Asked if Communist China was the biggest threat to the United States, Pompeo answered:

Look, the biggest threat is always inside the United States, if the Republicans default it will happen because we don’t defend our own institutions, but far and away the largest foreign adversary is the Chinese Communist Party. They are atheists; they are adopting policies that look very much like the communism of the Soviet Union and the Marxist-Leninist ideas but with 1.4 billion people and a massive military and a significant economy as well. They present to those of us who are Christian believers and all Americans the most existential threat to the United States that we have seen for decades and decades.  

“Do you think they’re going to make a move on Taiwan?” Robertson asked.

“I pray not,” Pompeo answered. “In large turn, it will depend on how America responds: do we build out alliances with the Japanese and the South Koreans and the Australians, all the countries of the region. Are we prepared to support the Taiwanese people? … President Trump was great; he allowed me to do a whole lot of work where we provided defensive weapons systems to Taiwan and really empower the Taiwanese to take care of themselves. If we do that well, I think Xi Jinping will have to think twice.”

Robertson pressed, “Do we have enough firepower, enough naval force to block them or not?”

“We spent a lot of time and frankly, a lot of taxpayer money, getting ready for just this challenge, to make sure that our military was up to the fight,” Pompeo replied. “We spent a lot of time countering terrorism these last 20 years; that was appropriate, but we are now facing a superpower, a military of scale, and we need to make sure we have forces and structure in the right places … When we came into office the Obama administration had this thing they called their ‘Pivot to Asia.’ If you talk to our Asian friends they have no earthly idea what that was. We actually did; we actually built alliances, put the Pacific Command, now called INDOPACOM, in the lead in terms of resources; we started to build in the right direction. I hope this administration will do what we did. It should be a partisan issue; this shouldn’t be about politics.”

Speaking of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aggressive moves and how to handle them, Pompeo replied, “Peace through strength. When an administration is viewed as weak, it creates real opportunities for these bad guys around the world. They’ll think they can push you around; we demonstrated real resolve and the willingness to take on our adversaries and that creates deterrence. If you’re strong and capable and you demonstrate resolve, then you can stay out of wars. You don’t have to fight because adversaries will recognize you are powerful. You use your diplomatic tools as the first line of defense, but diplomacy without leaders who are prepared to actually impose costs on their adversaries; they don’t have much to negotiate.”

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