Thanks in good part to the Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, McCarthyism is alive and well in the US. Pompeo has become one of America’s leading dogmatist, ranting and railing about the China threat (but not the Russia threat, to be clear) and strongly implying, like the former senator from Wisconsin, that anyone who doesn’t recognize what China (specifically, the Chinese Communist Party) is up to—which is that it “wants what we have, and they will do whatever they must do to take it and get it”—is a fellow traveler and communist dupe. Here are a few choice excerpts from his latest, a speech on December 9—note the provocative title, “The Chinese Communist Party on the American Campus”—to students at Georgia Tech University (https://www.state.gov/the-chinese-communist-party-on-the-american-campus).
Americans must know how the Chinese Communist Party is poisoning the well of our higher education institutions for its own ends, and how those actions degrade our freedoms and American national security. If we don’t educate ourselves, if we’re not honest about what’s taking place, we’ll get schooled by Beijing. . . . Look, the Chinese Communist Party knows it can never match our innovation. It has state-owned enterprises; it’s an authoritarian regime; it is a government-centric focus. That’s why it sends 400,000 students a year to the United States of America to study – 400,000 students a year studying in our universities come from one country. It is no accident.
Much of the high-end industrial base inside of China is based on stolen technology, or technology purchased from other nations. It’s not home-grown. . . . There are many American scholars – often doing research funded by American taxpayers – that have been lured into the Chinese Communist Party’s talent recruitment programs. The CCP pays them what is for them a fortune to do research related to their current fields for, or in, China – and then often uses the fruits of their brainpower to build its military strength. A researcher from my home state of Kansas was caught up in this trap, as was the Harvard chemistry department head. Think about that. The Director of National Intelligence, John Ratcliffe, recently described the CCP’s strategy as “rob, replicate and replace.” But I want to add another “r” to the DNI’s list: I want to add “repress.” . . .
But look, the CCP doesn’t just target Chinese nationals. They want to influence American students as well, professors and administrators too. Look, they know that left-leaning college campuses are rife with anti-Americanism, and present easy targets for their anti-American messaging. That’s why they planted Confucius Institutes on our campuses. And under President Trump, our State Department has made very clear these Confucius Institutes are literally up to no good. Many have gone away. Many campuses have seen that and they’ve chosen to close down these institutes. But right here in Georgia, Wesleyan College still has one in Macon. . . .
Now, you would think at freedom-loving places like Georgia Tech and institutions and scholars all across the world, administrators, school faculty would be more up in arms about the Chinese Communist Party’s outright theft and flagrant violation of freedoms that I’ve described, but we see it too seldom. Well, why? Why do schools censor themselves? They often do it out of fear of offending China. . . . Look, we can’t let the CCP weaponize political correctness against American liberties. We have to protect and preserve them. Fraudulent cries of racism or Sinophobia should never drown out a candid exposure of the activities of the Chinese Communist Party. . . .
What more – what more bad decisions will schools make because they are hooked on Chinese Communist Party cash? What professors will they be able to co-opt or to silence? What theft and espionage will they simply overlook? What business deals will get done as a result of that? . . . We cannot allow this tyrannical regime to steal our stuff, to build their military might and brainwash our people, or buy off our institutions to help them cover up these activities. We cannot – we cannot let the CCP crush the academic freedom that has blessed our country and blessed us with great institutions like the place that I am standing today.
Pompeo ended his speech with a plea for help which, just like McCarthy, asked everyone—students, faculty, administrators—to behave like those he accuses: suspecting, investigating, and eliminating a threat without due process (or thought). As I’ve blogged previously (see Post #279), these charges are vastly overblown, but they have been effective, with the closure of many Confucius Institutes, false accusations directed at Chinese nationals and ethnic Chinese researchers, and formation of a bipartisan coalition to defeat the Chinese communist menace.
Pompeo may believe he’s acting in the national interest, though his presidential ambitions may also play a part. Either way, the end of his tenure can’t come soon enough. Say goodbye to a propagandist who has grievously harmed America’s reputation and the State Department’s conduct of foreign affairs.