In the early days of the Cold War, during a period of anti-communist hysteria in the United States, a big policy blame game was: “Who lost China?” Nowadays, though, it’s: “Who created China, the Frankenstein monster?” Of course, China was not for the United States or the West to lose or create. But that didn’t stop US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo from delivering a speech that was billed as an epochal change in policy on China, by calling for the “monster” to be slain. Ironically, this most undiplomatic diplomat wasn’t being rude only to the Chinese, but to his own people, the US foreign policy establishment. Let’s recall the occasion or rather the location where he made his speech – the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum, in California. US officials now call Xi ‘general secretary’, not ‘president’ – but why? Pompeo tried to repudiate the foreign policy achievement of the late president’s rapprochement with China and called into doubt everything that followed it over a half-century. He asked rhetorically and we know his answers: “What do the American people have to show now 50 years on from engagement with China? Did the theories of our leaders that proposed a Chinese evolution towards freedom and democracy prove to be true? “The old paradigm of blind engagement with China simply won’t get it done.” Nixon must have rolled in his grave. Nixon and Henry Kissinger weren’t concerned about something as futile as “regime change” in China. They wanted to exploit the antagonism between Moscow and Beijing, and get China’s help to restrain Russian and Vietnamese “aggression”. Here, I am relying on the fourth volume of the Cambridge History of American Foreign Policy , 1945 – 1991. Nixon could claim an immediate success with his China policy and its pressure on the Russians: the first significant nuclear arms treaty called SALT 1, which limited the deployment of anti-ballistic missiles (ABM), intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) and submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM). It saved both sides enormous resources. The world actually became safer. In 2002, the US unilaterally withdrew from the ABM treaty. Nixon’s China policy was masterful diplomacy, one of the few instances of undisputed post-war US foreign policy success. A poor and isolated China would have been a greater danger to America and the world than a richer and more open one like it is today. Mutual engagement between China and the US remains the only sane option today, something that Pompeo is dangerously trying to undermine.