Pence's Oct. 4 address at Washington's Hudson Institute "really freaked out the Chinese," Cramer said Wednesday on "Squawk Box." "It might as well have been written in 1947 about the Soviets."
Cramer described the tone of the Pence speech as not just hawkish but a "declaration of economic war."
"It was the most important speech of the whole Trump administration. And it wasn't given by the president," said Cramer, the host of "Mad Money."
"It was the speech that President Obama never gave," Cramer said. "It was a recognition that it's a communist country" and not really an ally of the U.S. because it "has none of the protections that democracies afford," he added.
Cramer said the Pence speech had been "roiling" stocks until recently, when concerns about the Federal Reserve's mission to raise interest rates took over the spotlight.
The U.S. and China are currently locked in a trade war that's seen each side imposing tariffs on each other's products.
However, Cramer said the divide between the world's two largest economic superpowers is bigger than trade.
"When you recognize that it's a communist country you're not talking about trying to sell more Prell [shampoo]. It was a wake up call," he said.