Pressure China with student visas
William McGurn, writing in the Wall Street Journal, has floated an interesting idea on how to pressure China into helping curtail North Korea's nuclear and missile program.
Mr. McGurn notes that the Chinese leadership has an unquenchable appetite for sending Chinese children top-tiered American universities like the Ivy League, Stanford, and MIT. Today, some 328,547 Chinese students are attending our colleges and universities. This is yet another vulnerability China has relative to the U.S. And it doesn't stop there. Many of the Chinese elite are actually sending their children to high-quality American K-12 schools. Think of that.
McGurn's suggestion is simply to trade the granting of visas to Chinese students for more cooperation from China in reining in Pyongyang.
Put it this way: if China's ruling elite were forced to chose between supporting North Korea and their children's access to American universities, is it all that hard to see where they might come down? This is especially true if we continue to allow ordinary Chinese citizens with no family connections to the party or government to come here to study.
Such a tactic is not cost-free. American colleges and universities will scream bloody murder. The higher education establishment will be sure to wave the flags of academic freedom and international kumbaya. And it's not that such concerns are unwarranted. But in the context of today, where American cities could soon face the real risk of a nuclear or electromagnetic pulse attack from a crazed North Korean regime, they pale in comparison.
I tend to believe that the howl from the higher education community would be driven more by a desire to protect a lucrative revenue source than by anything else. As for the thought of U.S. national security, that's probably a detriment rather than an imperative in the thinking in elite university circles, which are terminally affected by the disease of multiculturalism
Using student visas as a pressure point on China is not a silver bullet. But it is yet another arrow in our quiver. The big club we have, of course, is trade. China rose as an economic power due to access to U.S. markets, technology transfers (both legal and illegal), and a massive influx of Western capital. Even today, the very stability of Chinese society itself is dependent on China's being allowed to export, even to the point of dumping, into American markets while at the same time putting up barriers to our exports to the Chinese. It is a disgrace that the American establishment has allowed this situation to continue for as long as it has, and it is one of the prime reasons Donald Trump was elected to the presidency.
The beauty of using trade and things like access to our universities as pressure points on China is that it is far less risky than an open military confrontation with North Korea. That would probably devastate Seoul and who knows what else.
It is way past the time to play hardball with the Chinese for their blatant mercantilism and dragging their feet on North Korea. That is part of what putting America first means. It's time to do it.