Victor Davis Hanson, a vis­iting scholar from the Hoover Insti­tution, gave a lecture in Mossey Library on United States-China rela­tions. Madeline Peltzer | Col­legian

With all the talk about Russia these days, one might forget that there are other coun­tries that pose a threat to the United States — a far greater threat, perhaps.

That’s the point Victor Davis Hanson, a vis­iting scholar from the Hoover Insti­tution, made last Thursday during the Alexander Hamilton Society’s first event of the year. Hanson spoke about the future trends of Chinese-American policy to more than 50 Hillsdale College stu­dents, faculty, and guests in the Her­itage Room in Mossey Library. He made the case that China’s threats to the U.S. economy and national security are far more con­cerning than any­thing Russia has done thus far.

Hanson attributed China’s threat to the American economy to decades of lenient policies under the Reagan, Carter, and George H.W. Bush admin­is­tra­tions. He said that in an effort to improve eco­nomic rela­tions with China, America ignored its record of foul play and espi­onage.

“We thought that the more a country lib­er­alizes its economy, the more affluent it becomes,” he said. “When it’s relieved of a Nean­derthal need to survive one more day, it has the option of becoming a liberal society.”

Instead, Hanson explained, the strategy back­fired. Within 40 years, China had the second largest economy in the world, and its nine-percent growth rate sur­passed the U.S., embold­ening it to see itself as our rival.  

Hanson also dis­cussed the danger of China’s growing mil­itary strength and its appeal to rising nations around the globe.  

“They go to our allies and say, ‘People haven’t appre­ciated you. Make the right choice. Start dealing with us,’” he said.  

And it works. In addition to sym­pathy, China offers a gen­erous overseas program, an indif­ference to human rights, and little spec­i­fi­cation on form of gov­ernment to dis­content coun­tries. It also promises pro­tection under a defense system specif­i­cally designed to deny the U.S. prox­imity to it and its spheres of influence.  

“If you look at their strategic doc­trine, it’s quite bril­liant,” Hanson said.

Even more dis­turbing, he said, are the Chinese nationals who’ve embedded them­selves into the U.S. edu­ca­tional system by tapping into America’s obsession with diversity and anti-Russian sen­timent. Hanson esti­mated that some 300,000 Chinese stu­dents live in the western United States. The majority work in the fields of science, engi­neering, and math, giving them a front-row seat to America’s latest tech­no­logical devel­op­ments and risking our national security.

“It’s one of the most sophis­ti­cated pro­pa­ganda cam­paigns,” he said.

Carly Fisher, a freshman pur­suing a career in foreign policy, said this intrigued her.

“He did a great job of talking about a lot of things I didn’t know about, espe­cially the fact that China is stealing so many U.S. secrets in tech­nology and inno­vation,” she said. “The whole concept of leap-frogging with tech­no­logical advances I found really fas­ci­nating.”

But under the Trump admin­is­tration, the era of laxity with Chinese rela­tions may be over.  Hanson pointed to a shift in America’s eco­nomic attitude toward China for proof.

“We have an admin­is­tration that believes that trade sur­pluses are advan­ta­geous for our country and trade deficits are not,” he said.

This devel­opment has led to a change in pri­or­ities, he said. While cheap Chinese products help keep the inflation rate down, local mom and pop stores con­tribute a cul­tural and social benefit to the com­munity that foreign products can’t replicate.

A similar shift has occurred in America’s national security strategy, par­tic­u­larly in China’s rela­tionship with North Korea. Hanson said the Trump admin­is­tration has informed China that every­thing is “on the table,” and as long as China remains com­plicit in North Korea’s threats, America may encourage Japan and Taiwan to go nuclear.

Senior Nathanael Cheng, sec­retary for AHS, said this sur­prised him most about Hanson’s lecture.

“That’s not some­thing you hear often, espe­cially from the gov­ernment,” he said.  “It’s inter­esting to hear what’s going on behind the scenes.”

The speech con­cluded with a lively question-and-answer session in which stu­dents, faculty, and guests engaged with Hanson.

Cheng expressed grat­itude to Hanson for sharing his expertise with the group.

“China is becoming more and more important, espe­cially in policy-making circles,” Cheng said. “The eco­nomic, defense, and political sides are all very important and as China con­tinues to rise and con­tinues to develop, it’s important that people, broadly speaking, have an awareness of what’s going on in China. It has the ability to affect what’s going one — even in a place like Hillsdale.”

  • China is clearly an ascending world power. But China brings with it its own despi­cable baggage in the form of, and aggressive expansive presence, obnoxious Chinese busi­nessmen, and no respect for human rights.

    China’s new “Silk Road” ini­tiative through the Islamic under­belly of Asia is des­tined to be an expensive lesson in Islamic reality. And the Chinese have been quite slow to adapt to reality.

    In Africa, the Chinese will soon be looked at as the new colo­nialists.

    The US should use its influence to promote human rights in China’s backyard. We should also let China’s neighbors know we will not allow China to shut down inter­na­tional trade routes.

    • Jen­nifer Melfi

      “Obnoxious Chinese busi­nessmen”???? You should maybe try to not make our college look like a bunch of backward narrow-minded morons.

      • Drop the PC BS. I call it like I see it.

        Have you ever done business in China? I have!

        • Jen­nifer Melfi

          I have as well. Like most things, was a mix of good and bad expe­ri­ences, wins and losses, strikes and gutters. On the margins, we ended up achieving what we set out to do. I’m not foolish enough to insult an entire pop­u­lation of busi­ness­people by offhandedly referring to them as “obnoxious”.

          • Reality is a bitch.

            Yes there are nice pit-bulls. Would you leave your three year old daughter with one?

          • Jen­nifer Melfi

            So now you are saying chinese busi­nessmen are like pit­bulls? I think you need to search yourself a little more. Is this really the message you want for the world to see on td he website of a college you appre­ciate?

          • Did your college teach you the meaning of word “analogy”?

            Look it up!

          • Jen­nifer Melfi

            I think it was pretty clear when I used the word “like” in my post above. You see, that is a type of analogy, a simile. You should look it up.

            So just so i get it:
            Real life

            you = person
            Chinese = person

            Your analogy
            You = person
            Chinese = dog

            You are either guilty of racist thinking or you dont under­stand how analogies work.

          • Typical pro­gressive — always go back to basics — racist, racist, racist.

            Pro­gressive use the “racist cannard” like a trump card anytime they have no intel­lec­tually valid point.

            Did you “study” vic­ti­mology? I know it’s the white guy’s fault.

          • Jen­nifer Melfi

            funny you should mention that. I was thinking that you were the one crying victim. The reality is that the Chinese busi­nessman is probably more suc­cessful than most of the Amer­icans in your gen­er­ation. You rally to Trump with your cries echoing in the street “Pro­tec­tionism! Pro­tec­tionism!” and then you try to demonize your oppo­nents rather than beat them. SAD!

          • I never said what race I was you fool.

            I clearly use a pseu­donym (how many Bob Smiths do you think there are — would Leroy Smith work better) to protect myself from pro­gressive fools like you.

          • Jen­nifer Melfi

            no one said any­thing about what race you were — only that you are using race as a way to demonize your oppo­nents when you can’t beat them. #facts

          • You said “You are either guilty of ‘racist’ thinking”.

            In true pro­gressive fashion, you threw out the “racist” card.

            And you also said “The reality is that the Chinese busi­nessman is probably more suc­cessful than most of the Amer­icans in your gen­er­ation.”

            So what gen­er­ation am I in? I do not recall that being part of the con­ver­sation. (Although, because this is a college website, and your use of the term “racist”, I do make an assumption that you are a college student.)

            And as for “success”, what is your def­i­n­ition. Does that mean copying or cre­ating new ideas. The Chinese are excellent at copying American ideas. But, name one modern day, product or service, used around the world, created by the Chinese.

            The original dis­cussion was about “China is a greater threat than Russia”.

            The Chinese ascen­dancy onto the world stage is clearly a fact at this point. I agree with Victor Davis Hanson. My point is, China has its own problems. And these problems will have costs.

          • Jen­nifer Melfi

            well, to be fair, you did say some­thing racist. So it’s unfair to say I played the card when you said that chinese busi­nessmen are obnoxious — no qual­i­fiers.

          • Stating a fact does not make someone a “racist”.

            If I say Asians are over­rep­re­sented in college admis­sions, is that “racist”? I think not. It is a fact.

            If I say over 90% of all mur­dered blacks are mur­dered by other blacks, is that racist? According to FBI sta­tistics it is a fact.

            If I say fat obnoxious (ugly) Amer­icans make Euro­peans uncom­fortable is that “racist”?

            Pro­gres­sives use the word “racist” to slander anyone who dis­agrees with the pro­gressive nar­rative. Just because you don’t like someone’s ideas does not make them a “racist”. In fact it only make YOU a racist .

            The best example of this is the pro­gressive treatment of anyone who crit­i­cises Islam. The word “racist” is rou­tinely used to slander anyone who tells facts about Islam.

            What race is Islam. Should women have their cli­torises cut off, or be wrapped up in black body bags? Am I a “racist” for speaking up to this misogyny? Is it OK to lop off the heads of non-muslims? Is it OK to throw gays off the tops of buildings? Is a woman’s word only worth 1/2 that of a man’s? Do you “know” any­thing about Islam?

            The pro­gressive left is intel­lec­tually bankrupt. Instead of openly dis­cussing important ideas, leftist mobs shout down opposing opinions.

            Long ago when I was in college, we prac­ticed free speech. Today college stu­dents just use the “racist” card to “win”.

            So much for intel­lectual “diversity”.

          • Jen­nifer Melfi

            Yeah, but what you just described above is fun­da­men­tally dif­ferent than the racist thing you said in your original post. which described all chinese busi­nessmen as “obnoxious”. The straw men you throw out above dont deter from the fact that I dont want you to smear the name of my alma mater by writing ignorant blather in the com­ments. Dis­cussion is good. Non­sense like you write is not. Of course it’s a free country. But I wont let you post stupid stuff without pointing it out.

            And for what it is worth I know Islam way more than you do. I have spent 27 months living side by side with Islamic peoples in Iraq and Afghanistan. I can refrain from racist dog whistling and out­right ignorant labeling of people groups while pointing out that some people were very good to work with and others were, of course, ter­rible mur­dering psychos. Of course, I’m not an angry old man either.

          • There are lots of nice people on an air­craft carrier. But the sum total of what the air­craft carrier does is any­thing but nice.

            There are lots of nice muslims. So what! The sum total of what Islam does is bloody horror.

            So you claimed to have lived in Afghanistan. When? What is the indigenous culture of Afghanistan? It clearly is not muslim.

            Long before the life of Mohammad and Islam, the people of greater India (including Afghanistan and Pak­istan) were all Bud­dhist and Hindu. Who do you think created Afghanistan’s Bamiyan Bud­dhist shrines. It sure as hell was not muslims.

            When the muslims arrived they started the largest holo­caust in history. Dif­ferent his­to­rians put the slaughter between 250 – 400 million people. (Here is one link, lots more available on Google or other search engines:

            Do you know why the Taliban destroyed the Bamiyan Bud­dhist shrines? Do you know the meaning of the Islamic word “Jahiliyyah”? Do you know the meaning of Hindu Kush and how it relates to the muslim slaughter of Hindus?

            I am not “an angry old man”. And I don’t try to slander people I do not know.

            But if YOU “dont want you to smear the name of” YOUR “alma mater by writing ignorant blather in the com­ments”, learn how to use an apos­trophe in you’re con­trac­tions.

            Yes, “Dis­cussion is good. Non­sense like you write is not. Of course it’s a free country.

            But I will let you post stupid stuff. Because I believe in free speech.

          • Jen­nifer Melfi

            More racist non­sense mixed with fake news. Please realize that when you post a link that is not a credible source, it basi­cally removes the legs of that argument. There were barely 400 million ppl on earth during the time your source says muslims killed 400m Indian people. You read too much fake news and you end up saying and believing false­hoods

          • You say “fake news”. I say you have your mind shut. I clearly said: “Dif­ferent his­to­rians put the slaughter between 250 – 400 million people. (Here is one link, lots more available on Google or other search engines)”

            I specif­i­cally said “lots more available on Google or other search engines” on purpose. I am aware there is “fake news”. Read more sources on the subject.

            Read the accounts from SikhNet. This sight rep­re­sents one of the “indigenous” cul­tures of India.
            Note their title: Mughal India — The Biggest Holo­caust in World History.

            Are the Sikhs also cre­ating “fake news”.

            As for the 250 – 400 million killed. The muslim sub­ju­gation of India has taken place over a period of over 800 years. Muslims have been in a con­stant state of jihad war. The pop­u­lation has clearly grown over the 800 year span,

            Also try Googling “india muslim unfin­ished business”. In case you are unaware, muslims clearly con­sider the spread of Islam in India “unfin­ished business”. The slaughter con­tinues.

            You claimed to “have spent 27 months living side by side with Islamic peoples in Iraq and Afghanistan”. Be more detailed in your nar­rative.

            Give me dates, places, what did you do.

            Con­sid­ering even a muslim woman wrapped up in some cloth body bag can’t even walk the streets alone, tell me how you managed to get buy.

            Have you read “An American Bride in Kabul by Phyllis Chesler? I have. Is MS Chesler a liar? Tell me how you managed to get by.

          • Jen­nifer Melfi

            Mr. Smith.

            The sihknet site you link to probably does a really good job of explaining their religion and prac­tices related to the practice of said religion. It isn’t author­i­tative on his­torical events. I did google the issue you discuss, and other than some other word­press sites built by indi­viduals (not serious or author­i­tative his­torical groups) there is nothing that approaches the numbers you state. At this point, since no one who would have went to Hillsdale would be so foolish as to con­tinue to post this non­sense, I must con­clude that you are either an angry old person who thought you heard a racist dog-whistle on this site or from the school, or you are one of those Russian troll posters we hear about some­times, who spreads fake news on the internet. In either case, time to go else­where. If you wanted to have a real dis­cussion about whether russia or china is the greatest threat to the United States, that would have been an inter­esting dis­cussion. As it stands, you have tried to pull this dis­cussion into heated non­sense about the levels of atrocity com­mitted by Muslims in a land that is not the USA more than 400 years ago. This is the def­i­n­ition of igno­ratio elenchi — so please find some­where else to post this stuff.

          • “The largest figure from a respected his­torian (not a word­press or par­tisan site has a figure of maybe 80m, and over a longer period of time.”

            So you ignore the sources you don’t like and then shore up your position with ONLY 80 million dead. (No problem there unless you happen to be one of the 80 million.)

            And I am “creepy and aggressive” because you don’t like facts.

            I may be an old man —  but that’s a hell of a lot better than a snowflake and believing fantasy.

          • Jen­nifer Melfi

            Yeah.. not telling you any­thing because you are really creepy and aggressive. You cant stop anyone from posting anyway. You’re not an admin. I looked up this matter in india. The largest figure from a respected his­torian (not a word­press or par­tisan site has a figure of maybe 80m, and over a longer period of time. You are being mislead old man. Please get better infor­mation for yourself. The points you make about about some muslims are undoubtedly true, but open you up to the same attacks by people who point out Westboro Baptist church

  • Jen­nifer Melfi

    Pay no attention to the country that hijacked our elec­tions and owns our president’s debts and secrets. Let’s ignore real problems so we can make the Repub­licans look good.

  • Alexan­derYp­si­lantis

    I have done business in both nations. China has stolen intel­lectual property from my company and more than once. I regret it had to come to tariffs, because as a con­ser­v­ative I’m philo­soph­i­cally opposed to them. But I see no other alter­native-America has used the WTO against China in the past and they laughed at it’s rulings. The WTO has no power to enforce their rulings against China.

    Russia? Their economy is coming back under Putin despite western sanc­tions, but their economy still is smaller than California’s. Russia is no real threat to America-they’ve turned away from using the threat of nuclear engagement to advance their interests, they’d rather engage with the west eco­nom­i­cally.