Former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned Chinese leader Xi Jinping intends to reign the world and that he poses a bigger threat than Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“He wants to own you. … He wants hegemonic intent across the world with his Marxist-Leninist vision and Chinese economic and political dominance in every corner of the world,” Pompeo said during an interview with Sky News on Feb 2.
He called Xi’s intent a “vicious objective” and added, “We have an obligation to the next generation to push back against it.”
When asked by anchor Beth Rigby if he thinks Xi is more dangerous than his close ally, Putin, Pompeo said, “Absolutely. [It’s] Not even close.”
The former U.S. official recalled that when he interacted with Xi, “He [Xi] was focused on his ambitious objective.”
Pompeo said that Xi “believes he’s going to dominate the world. … He believes this is not folderol.”
And Xi has full capacity to fulfill that end, Pompeo noted, as “the globe is dependent on him economically, he has 1.4 billion people.”
“He has an economy that rivals the size of that of the United States of America, a highly capable space and military and cyber program. And that’s the capabilities. And we have now also seen his intention,” he said.
Meanwhile, Pompeo said that even though Putin believes in a greater Russia, “he has no illusions about his capacity to dominate the world.”
“Vladimir Putin has a very capable nuclear program and an economy that is dependent on a single industry. And if we produce energy in America, that industry would be a lot less valuable to him,” he said.
“Those are two fundamentally different risks for our way of life in Europe, in the United States, in Asia, in the Middle East, everywhere,” Pompeo added.
Putin’s Ambition Stays Unchanged
However, Pompeo believed that the Russian leader is a “bad guy.”
He recalled when looking into Putin’s eye, “I didn’t see a soul. I thought [it was] evil. Make no mistake about it, he’s the bad guy.”
Pompeo believed that Putin’s ambition “hasn’t changed,” since he made a move to take Crimea back in 2014.
“We always think about this war as having started on February 24th, now almost exactly a year ago. It actually started in 2014,” he said.
“Then, for four years, Putin doesn’t invade Europe. Doesn’t take another single inch. And then, we leave office and he goes at it again. I believe that’s not a coincidence,” he added.
Pompeo believed that Putin had been deterred by the seriousness of the Trump administration.
“We had put his economy in harm’s way. We built the American military. We had created a situation where NATO members put $40 billion more into NATO,” he contended.
“I think there was just a fundamentally different understanding in the mind of Vladimir Putin. And this deterrence depends on your adversary’s perception of risk,” he added.
Pompeo believed that Putin felt a lot of risk if he made a move against Ukraine “under our watch.”
“I think he thought there was no risk doing it when President [Joe] Biden was,” Pompeo said.
Pompeo did not consent to the opinion that President Joe Biden is leading the West’s response to the invasion of Ukraine and criticized how other nations had handled the crisis.
“The West has been slow, and late, and fearful of escalation, and that’s been a mistake,” he said.
“And so we should do our best to fix that today. We should provide them the things that they need and put Ukraine and the West in a place where Vladimir Putin will see the handwriting on the wall. This is how you restore deterrence,” he added.
Pompeo laid out steps that could lead to “a negotiated diplomatic solution to the war.”
“It would begin with the following. The United States, and most importantly, Europe actually providing the tools that the Ukrainian people need to fight and defend their own sovereignty,” he said.
Pompeo said that the move would “put President Zelenskyy and the Ukrainian people in the position where President Putin would be negotiating from weakness.”
“The ultimate resolution they will have to sort their way through,” he said.