By imposing tariffs on certain Chinese imports, President Trump has followed through on a significant campaign promise to address his entirely understandable concerns about Chinese unscrupulous trade practices and in that nation’s theft of U.S. intellectual property, otherwise known as espionage.
China ceaselessly and belligerently hacks U.S. computers, including corporate computers and government computers. China constructed an artificial island in the South China Sea and has threatened military action if our vessels approach too closely.
Even as China rattles its sabers at the United States, it is arguably building up its military forces faster than any other country on earth and, unbelievably, with the assistance of none other than the United States.
As we shall shortly see, those sabers being rattled by the Chines government could likely not have been constructed without the unintended assistance of the United States.
In point of fact, you could say that where China is concerned, the United States has, all too often, acted irrationally against its own best interests in dealing with that totalitarian communist regime and continues to do so.
China’s actions and threats are certainly not befitting a nation that has been granted Most Favored Nation trade status. China is not acting as a trading partner or ally but rather as an adversary.
China was granted Most Favored Nation trade status (MFN) by President George H.W. Bush and then, reneging on a campaign promise, President Clinton continued that practice purportedly because he felt that isolating China would not help to get them to end human rights violations.
A bit of background on this issue is provided by a news report posted by MIT on its online newspaper, The Tech in 1994 is worth reviewing, It even includes a rebuke by Rep. Nancy Pelosi and other members of Congress, back then, who opposed Clinton’s decision to impose minor trade restrictions instead of revoking MFN because of China’s abysmal human rights violations.
With all of the emphasis on tariffs and the possibility of an ensuing trade war with China, another important issue has utterly escaped mention by the media and apparently the attention of the Trump administration, the fact that the United States is educating huge numbers of Chinese students in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) disciplines.
This is hardly a new problem. This self-inflicted wound is one I have addressed in an earlier article, Foreign Student Visas: Educating America’s Adversaries.
According to the June 2017 report issued by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), at 152,002 the number of such Chinese students in the United States is second only to the 173,258 STEM students from India who are being similarly trained in the United States.
That same report noted that Saudi Arabia has 25,125 students enrolled in STEM courses of study while South Korea has 16,474 STEM students who are being educated in the U.S.
I noted in a previous article, we are Eduating ‘Engineers Of Jihad’ At US Univiersities.
On March 7, 2018 Foreign Policy Magazine published a disturbing report, China’s Long Arm Reaches Into American Campuses: Beijing is stepping up efforts to inject party ideology into student life. Some Chinese students are crying foul.
Through its embassies and consulates in the United States, the Chinese government has increasingly sought to instill Chinese patriotism among it students in the U.S. and even influence school officials to promote Chinese interests on college campuses and hence, across the United States altogether.
Indeed, we must not ignore the possibility that some of the totalitarian tactics of Antifa and other activist groups on American college campuses are inspired, aided and/or abetted by outside forces that include Chinese efforts to inject their communist and totalitarian ideology onto American campuses.
We must also consider other problems created by so many foreign students- particularly Chinese students enrolled in STEM curricula on U.S. campuses.
Foreign students who enroll in courses in the United States become eligible for Optional Practical Training, enables them to put their newly acquired education and skills to work in a real-world setting but also carries with it two serious problems.
First of all, these foreign students often replace high-tech American workers.
This is certainly not good news for those hard-working and highly experienced and skilled American middle class workers who face wage suppression or lose their jobs outright.
Wages of foreign workers, unlike the wages earned by American workers don’t contribute to the U.S. economy. Generally foreign workers send as much of their their earnings as possible back to their home countries.
Second, foreign student workers are potentially provided with opportunities to engage in intellectual property theft also known as industrial espionage.
Industrial espionage, when uncovered, generally is not punished nearly as severely as espionage committed against our government or military. Industrial espionage is often seen as a “white collar crime” and permits military technology to be stolen, without dire consequences for the spy, if the theft is carried out before the technology has been designated as pertaining to the military.
China is currently moving rapidly to crank out the most sophisticated military hardware of any nation including a fleet of nuclear submarines and highly sophisticated fighter planes.
Let us also not lose sight that China is a communist country and its president was recently provided with the option of being China’s “President for Life.”
Currently China does not have any apparent enemy nations from which it needs to defend itself, therefore why would China be so determined to become a major military power? Perhaps not as a means of defense but, offense.
Consider in that context, these recent headlines from Popular Mechanics about China’s nuclear navy:
Consider also these recent Popular Science headlines about China’s stealth fighter planes:
The November 1, 2016 CNN news report, China to show off new J-20 stealth fighter, included this excerpt:
Once reliant on imports and reverse engineering of Russian combat aircraft and associated technologies in the early 1990s, the PLAAF has more recently transitioned to a phase where indigenously developed systems are entering service at an extraordinary rate.
The country’s growing air power potential has been underpinned by an ever more capable domestic aerospace industry that is gradually moving China towards self-sufficiency in terms of military aircraft research and development and production.
While it is difficult to quantify, it must be presumed that China’s “ever more capable domestic aerospace industry” consists of engineers and other such professionals who were trained in the United States.
On May 5, 2014 The New Yorker published an important and insightful report, A New Kind of Spy – How China obtains American technological secrets. This report focused on the espionage committed against the United States by a naturalized United States citizen, Greg Chung, who ultimately worked on the U.S. Space Shuttle program as an employee of the Rockwell Corporation and then Boeing, when it acquired Rockwell.
Here is an important excerpt about how Chinese loyalists can be effectively used to spy on the United States by a strategy known as a thousand grains of sand:
When possible, these (Chinese) companies acquired new products by collaborating with Western firms, by purchasing the intellectual property they wanted, or through reverse engineering. When none of those methods was possible, the government resorted to espionage. The Ministry of State Security and the military intelligence service trained spies and sent them to the U.S. and Europe. They also recruited Chinese-born scientists, engineers, and other professionals who happened to be living abroad, especially those with security clearances or access to trade secrets.
Sometimes these scientists were asked to procure specific information, but often the government employed a “thousand grains of sand” approach: they waited for disparate details to accumulate, more or less at random, until a picture emerged.
Wikipedia has posted a List of Chinese spy cases in the United States.
With all of the rancorous debates about immigration, our leaders on all levels of government have lost sight of what should be obvious- our borders and our immigration laws are vital for national security and public safety.
America’s adversaries, whether they are members of transnational gangs, international terrorist organizations or spies and saboteurs operating at the behest of their foreign governments first need to enter the United States and then, in the parlance of the 9/11 Commission, embed themselves in communities across the United States to enable them to carry out their nefarious and often deadly goals.
Chinese STEM students are being welcomed with open arms into America and onto American college campuses with little thought apparently being given to the long-term consequences of our generosity or, perhaps, stupidity, for the long-term best interests of our nation, including its very survival, are concerned.
RELATED ARTICLE: How to Meet the Strategic Challenge Posed by China – Imprimis
EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in FrontPage Magazine.