Trump China specialist explains U.S. foreign policy failures: Clueless about ‘ideology’

FPI / January 25, 2023


U.S. leadership is suffering from a severe case of “poverty of ideology,” failing to understand the dominant role of communist ideology in dealing with China, a former top State Department policymaker said in a recent speech.

“While the United States generally ignores ideology in foreign policy and world affairs, Marxism and its many intellectual variations are surprisingly quite popular among American intelligentsia and on American campuses.”

“This Western poverty of ideology has proven self-defeating when we must deal with an ideologically charged world. It has led to abject failures in our foreign policy. America’s China policy is a case in point,” Miles Yu said.

Yu worked at the State Department as a key China policymaker under Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in the Trump administration. He is also a professor of military history and modern China at the U.S. Naval Academy and a former contributing editor for

Most Americans do not view the world in terms of ideology, Yu said, adding that “we base our worldly judgments on actions and deeds, but seldom on the ideological sources of these actions and deeds,” said Yu, now director of the China Center at the Hudson Institute.

The result, Yu said, is that American leaders in dealing with China tend to focus on Beijing’s bad deeds and human rights abuses but not on the ideological reasons behind the actions.

Americans, he notes, believe in universal goodness that has blinded them to communism’s ideology.

America suffers from a severe case of the “poverty of ideology,” Yu said, arguing that national leaders and leading U.S. intellectuals often fail to understand the fundamental ties between communist ideologies and the Chinese government’s policies and practices.

This changed during the Trump administration when the State Department in January 2021 declared China, under the Chinese Communist Party, is committing genocide against Muslim Uyghurs and other ethnic and religious minorities in western China. …

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