Mike Pompeo’s ugly revelation about American academia and China

The old saying is that “he who pays the piper calls the tune.” That is, whoever is paying the largest share controls what’s being said, and nowhere is this more true than in academia. An anecdote in the new book by former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo makes this clear, for he describes MIT’s fealty to Chinese dollars, something that silenced a speech by the then Secretary of State.

Chinese parents like sending their children to American colleges. By the peak year of 2019-2020, before COVID hit, 372,532 Chinese students were studying at U.S. colleges and universities. That number, obviously, dropped a bit with COVID (down to 290,086 in the 2021-2022 academic year), but there’s no reason to believe it won’t bounce back again.

The cool thing about foreign nationals is that they pay cash. There are no discounts and scholarships to disrupt the money flowing to the Chinese students’ chosen colleges. Instead, these students pay the full tuition amount, no matter how ludicrous it is.

However, unlike American dollars, which colleges take for granted (whether from governments, institutions, or individuals), college administrators must be careful to keep the Chinese happy, or the money dries up. (Stanford, coincidentally or not, expelled Steven Mosher in the early 1980s after the Chinese went ballistic when he dared to reveal China’s forced abortions.) Mike Pompeo’s recently published (probable pre-presidential campaign) book, Never Give an Inch: Fighting for the America I Love, reveals that the “keep China happy” policy controlled MIT.

Image: Mike Pompeo. YouTube screen grab.

I haven’t read Pompeo’s book, but Douglas Murray did. In an essay in the New York Post, Murray notes that most media outlets have focused obsessively on any gossipy tidbit that Pompeo dropped about his time in the Trump administration, from Trump himself to John Bolton, to foreign leaders such as Kim Jong-Un.

(That’s a reminder that most of what passes for political news in America’s media is simply the “adult” version of the same mean-girl gossip that dominated our high school years.)

Murray ignores the gossip and focuses on Pompeo’s description of why, despite being America’s Secretary of State, a position of key importance in international politics, he got canceled at MIT.

As a reminder, Murray explains that Pompeo, like Trump himself, recognized China as our greatest geopolitical enemy, both in economic terms and in terms of potential military confrontations. And like Trump, he’d say this out loud:

In a speech in October 2019, he told an audience of business-people (many of whom made money in China) that the Communist Party of China is “a Marxist-Leninist party focused on struggle and international domination.”

At one point, Pompeo wanted to deliver a major speech about China and how it distorted American academia, both by coopting funding and through its policy of requiring all Chinese students to be agents for the CCP. Writes Murray:

The speech was scheduled to take place at MIT, which had previously held an MIT-China Summit in Beijing sponsored by Chinese tech companies including ones that are now under sanctions for providing technology to crush human rights in China.

But shortly before the speech MIT said they couldn’t host the US Secretary of State after all. A strange move, no? Well according to Pompeo he picked up the phone and spoke with the president of MIT, Rafael Reif. And Reif claimed that there was no way that the speech could go ahead because of the risk of offending Chinese students. By MIT’s own data in 2021-22 a full 25% of international students at the university were from China.

In fact what was clear was that the no-platforming of an American Secretary of State on an American campus had nothing to do with a fear of upsetting Chinese students. What Reif and his fellow academic cowards were afraid of was that their money spigot from Beijing would be shut off.

It’s not that academics have no principles. It’s that their principles are driven by greed and anti-American animus. Those things dovetail perfectly when the Chinese are involved. They also dovetail perfectly when Joe Biden’s classified documents landed at the “Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement,” which opened in 2018 and attracted huge amounts of foreign money:

Records indicate that the University of Pennsylvania amassed millions from foreign countries such as China, Saudi Arabia, and more. Following Biden's appointment as an honorary professor, donations from foreign entities exploded from $31 million in 2016 to over $100 million in 2019, the Washington Free Beacon reported.

This included about $61 million in gifts and contracts stemming from China between 2017 and 2019, per the report.

Small wonder that college students emerge as America-hating leftists who dream of a world like China, one with complete government control over guns, speech, and political thought. They’re the dancers, college is the piper, and China is paying the money and calling the tune.

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