The West Is Winning
Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State
Remarks at the Munich Security Conference
It was thrilling for me, I remember, to watch when freedom won, to watch people dancing on the Berlin Wall, as we all saw people who had been so cruelly separated for decades. It was an incredible celebration of freedom and of sovereignty. The people of East Berlin, and the people of East Germany, knew that the end of the Evil Empire’s occupation was at hand.
And our countries together have maintained our freedoms and our sovereignty for the past 30-plus years now. We should all be incredibly proud of that. We’ve done it through the challenges of radical Islamist terrorism, we’ve done it through a global financial crisis, and we’re doing it now in the face of an increasingly aggressive Chinese Communist Party.
Let’s start with a simple fact: Free nations are simply more successful than any other model that’s been tried in the history of civilization. Our governments respect basic human rights, they foster economic prosperity, and they keep us all secure.
It’s why so many people risk a dangerous journey across the Mediterranean to reach Greece and Italy, but you don’t see the world’s vulnerable people risking their lives to skip illegally en masse to countries like Iran or to Cuba.
It’s why they compete to start businesses in Silicon Valley, but not in Saint Petersburg.
It’s why countries in Asia went from abject poverty in the 1950s and ’60s to become world-leading economies today. You have all seen the map of the differences between South Korea, that light-studded map with North Korea in complete darkness.
The West is winning. Freedom and democracy are winning. And by that, I don’t mean just geographical nations. The West doesn’t define a space or a piece of real estate. It’s any nation – any nation that adopts a model of respect for individual freedom, free enterprise, national sovereignty. They’re part of this idea of the West.
I want to talk for a minute this morning about how sovereignty underpins our greatness collectively.
Look, we patrol our borders to keep our people safe, so that they can continue to worship, to work, and to make our countries great without disruption.
We honor the right of every nation to carry on their affairs as they choose, so long as they don’t try to interfere with our sovereignty or do harm to our friends.
Look, we urge other nations to protect human dignity, because we believe in unalienable rights.
We support independent nations. Our signature – our signature military project together is a defensive alliance.
We respect the rule of law and we honor intellectual property rights.
We don’t interfere in other nations’ elections.
China. China encroaches on the exclusive economic zones of Vietnam, the Philippines, and Indonesia. And on that point, China has had a border or maritime dispute with nearly every nation bordering it.
And let’s talk for a second about the other realm, cybersecurity. Huawei and other Chinese state-backed tech companies are Trojan horses for Chinese intelligence. Russia’s disinformation campaigns try to turn our citizens against one another. Iranian cyberattacks plague Middle East computer networks.
We’ve talked about physical security. We’ve talked about cybersecurity. Economic coercion is at play as well.
Russia demands fealty in Central Asia.
China demands silence on Taiwan and Hong Kong so that deals will keep flowing. It exacts pieces of national infrastructure as payment when countries can’t meet its onerous loan terms.
The United States is out there fighting alongside you for sovereignty and freedom.
We should have confidence in our alliances and our friends.
The free West has a far brighter future than illiberal alternatives.
We’re winning – and we’re doing it together.
Momentum is clearly on our side. We’ve got to do more.
Don’t be fooled. Don’t be fooled by those who say otherwise.