Mike Pence is probably feeling dejected right about now.
A scant four weeks ago, America’s mannequin-like vice president was gearing up to deliver a hawkish foreign policy speech to mark the 30th anniversary of Tiananmen Square.
The address, initially planned for June 4, would have found Mike decrying China’s human rights record, in the process paving the way for the US to slap sanctions on Chinese surveillance companies including Hikvision, which would be subject to a Huawei-style ban. Plans for those sanctions initially came to light on May 21.
Obviously, Pence’s speech had the potential to inflame tensions with China at a delicate juncture and some worried it would be the death knell for trade talks. Trump, fearing the address would jeopardize a meeting with Xi at the G20, delayed Pence’s speech.
Read more: Mike Pence Was All Fired Up To Exacerbate The New Cold War — And Then Trump Stopped Him
Mike’s big day was rescheduled for June 24, but as we wrote a week ago, “it probably needs to be pushed back again if Trump really wants to avoid irritating Xi ahead of their prospective meeting.”
Well, with Trump and Xi set to have an “extended discussion” on all manner of key issues at the G20, Pence’s speech has been pushed back again – possibly forever.
According to both Dow Jones and Bloomberg, the address has been postponed “indefinitely” amid “signs of progress” ahead of the Trump-Xi pow wow.
This is good news. Pence’s track record when it comes to foreign policy speeches is either sterling or abysmal, depending on whether you’re enamored with condescending proclamations about what America will and won’t tolerate from other nations, especially China. Pence famously blew up APEC in November and his world tour in February was a comedy of errors.
While this is a positive development for trade talks and for US-China bilateral relations more generally, spare a thought for “poor” Mike Pence. For a fleeting moment, he thought he might get to enshrine the “Pence doctrine” into the history books. Now, he’ll just have to read his speech to “mother” every night and imagine how glorious it might have been.