Cal Thomas / February 7, 2023

Trial Balloons

Mike Pompeo believes the only approach to China must be a strong one.

KEY LARGO, Florida — Say the words “espionage” and “communism” to a younger generation and they might think you’re talking about spy novels and Cold War history.

Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo thinks both words describe contemporary threats. During a visit to a town made famous by the 1948 film starring Humphrey Bogart, Edward G. Robinson, Lionel Barrymore and Lauren Bacall, Pompeo told me he believes the balloon incident is a test by Chinese leader Xi Jinping, who he believes will say to himself, “My gosh, if they’re not going to stop a balloon over their country, they are certainly not going to stop me from invading Taiwan.”

The balloon was shot down Saturday off the South Carolina coast, a day after our meeting.

Pompeo believes data from the balloon, which flew over U.S. missile silos in Montana, was likely transmitted back to China. Speculating about bringing it down, assuming it came down in one piece, he said, “We will know how they transmitted it and what band of energy they were using to transmit it.

Pompeo believes the only approach to China must be a strong one. He relates a story when he was secretary of state about calling in the Chinese ambassador and telling him to shut down his consulate in Houston within 72 hours because, he said, the Chinese were conducting espionage activities from the building. After the ambassador denied the allegation, Pompeo said he returned to his office and soon heard a TV report that said, "The Houston Police Department sees smoke at the Chinese consulate. The fire department is responding to flames.”

Pompeo is critical of what he calls “the (Henry) Kissinger model” of engagement with China. “That doesn’t work for us. They stole millions of jobs and intellectual property. We didn’t remotely begin to fix this (with that policy).”

I asked him about the many products made in China, including solar panels. Does he think some of them might contain spying equipment? “There is no such thing as a private Chinese company,” he tells me. “The supplier of Chinese solar panels is an extension of the Communist Party. That means there is always some risk they will use some component to do something more.”

About a possible run for president, he says he will decide within “a couple of months.” While saying if he does run, “I won’t spend a lot of time criticizing my adversaries,” what is to be made of this comment: “I hope during this election cycle the American people are prepared for serious people to talk to them about hard things that are rational. This race ought not to be about tweets, not about celebrity. We know how to make this country great.”

Who could he be talking about except the tweeter and celebrity in chief Donald Trump?

Does he think President Biden is fit for a second term? “I think we can all see that (he) isn’t capable of standing in front of a group and consistently and thoughtfully taking in information and responding in a rational way.”

I asked him about his greatest hope and fear for the future and mentioned the record national debt, uncontrolled migration and the loss of a shared moral sense. “My greatest fear is that we will not raise the next generation to believe in (the opposite of the things) you have described, the idea that America is exceptional. We won’t put crap in our schools. We won’t teach children this is a racist nation, an oppressor class, that almost everything we’ve done in the world is evil and we need to create reparations.”

He says his greatest hope is parents saying, “Enough. I hope more parents say ‘no, you’re not going to teach that to my kids.’ Humanity is dependent upon a United States that is filled with people who are disciplined and faithful. I’m counting on our religious leaders to again be important institutions in our country.”

Sounds like a trial balloon for a presidential run.

©2023 Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Start a conversation using these share links:

Who We Are

The Patriot Post is a highly acclaimed weekday digest of news analysis, policy and opinion written from the heartland — as opposed to the MSM’s ubiquitous Beltway echo chambers — for grassroots leaders nationwide. More

What We Offer

On the Web

We provide solid conservative perspective on the most important issues, including analysis, opinion columns, headline summaries, memes, cartoons and much more.

Via Email

Choose our full-length Digest or our quick-reading Snapshot for a summary of important news. We also offer Cartoons & Memes on Monday and Alexander’s column on Wednesday.

Our Mission

The Patriot Post is steadfast in our mission to extend the endowment of Liberty to the next generation by advocating for individual rights and responsibilities, supporting the restoration of constitutional limits on government and the judiciary, and promoting free enterprise, national defense and traditional American values. We are a rock-solid conservative touchstone for the expanding ranks of grassroots Americans Patriots from all walks of life. Our mission and operation budgets are not financed by any political or special interest groups, and to protect our editorial integrity, we accept no advertising. We are sustained solely by you. Please support The Patriot Fund today!

The Patriot Post and Patriot Foundation Trust, in keeping with our Military Mission of Service, are proud sponsors of the National Medal of Honor Heritage Center, the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, Folds of Honor, Honoring the Sacrifice, Warrior Freedom Service Dogs, Officer Christian Fellowship, the Air University Foundation, the Naval War College Foundation, and the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation.


“Our cause is noble; it is the cause of mankind!” —George Washington

The Patriot Post is protected speech, as enumerated in the First Amendment and enforced by the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, in accordance with the endowed and unalienable Rights of All Mankind.

Copyright © 2023 The Patriot Post. All Rights Reserved.

The Patriot Post does not support Internet Explorer. We recommend installing the latest version of Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome.