US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo scolded Europeans for not ditching China in favor of the US as a trading partner, claiming that any reliance on Beijing constitutes “abandoning who we are” and prizing “tyranny” over “freedom.”

The diplomat denied he was forcing Europe to choose between the US and China as allies, insisting in remarks made at the Copenhagen Democracy Summit on Friday that it was, in fact, the Chinese Communist Party imposing such a choice on them. At the same time, he denied the choice was really between the US and China at all, but “between freedom and tyranny.”

China, Pompeo insisted, was trying to convince the West to “throw away the progress we in the free world have made with NATO and other institutions…and adopt a new set of rules and norms to accommodate…Beijing.” This, he declared, was frankly unacceptable.

There’s also no way to straddle these alternatives without abandoning who we are,” Pompeo proclaimed. “Democracies that are dependent upon authoritarians are not worthy of their name.”

Speaking of authoritarians, the American hailed the progress the US was making in pressuring its allies to shut China out of their economies, referring to the UK’s reversing course on including Huawei in its 5G networks and Sweden’s decision to shutter all Confucius Institutes, among other “victories.

Pompeo accused China of “flagrantly attacking European sovereignty by buying up ports and critical infrastructure,” ordering allies to remove the “golden blinders of economic ties” – as if any country can afford to forsake beneficial economic relationships amid an unprecedented global depression – and recognize that Beijing was “saddling developing nations with debt and dependency.”

While I do not believe for a moment that democracy is fragile, it does require careful stewardship and constant vigilance,” Pompeo affirmed, stating, without a trace of irony, “We’re winning.”

The Trump administration is scrambling to right the ship of state as massive protests over police brutality and near-record unemployment triggered by the coronavirus economic shutdown challenge its legitimacy at home. The administration’s vocal support for the demonstrators against Chinese rule in Hong Kong has been denounced as hypocritical in the face of the heavy-handed response to American protests, and China has vowed retaliation after President Donald Trump signed a law opening the door to sanctions over Beijing’s alleged oppression of Uighur Muslims.

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