Senator Tom Cotton has proposed banning Chinese students from studying STEM fields in the United States, because he fears this will help China economically and technologically, and that a wealthier and more powerful China poses a threat to the national security of the United States.
I share Senator Cotton's view that economic growth in China currently represents a threat to US national security, because it results in more money in the hands of the communist party.
Yet, Senator Cotton's proposal would have the opposite effect: it would keep the best and the brightest minds in STEM in China, where any work they do will benefit the communist party, both economically and technologically. It would strengthen their domestic universities, shield these students from the full influence of our capitalist culture and ethos, and amount to a tremendous gift to Xi Jinping. Talent that would have otherwise fled to the free world, will stay and build the most terrifying authoritarian superpower the world has ever seen.
I offer an alternative proposal: Allow students from anywhere to continue coming to the United States to study whatever they want to study. When they graduate, along with their diploma, they should be handed a green card. Many (or most) will choose to stay, because our lifestyle is preferable, our wages and living standards higher, and our relative freedom is exhilarating. Those who have bought into the toxic brand of nationalism sold by the dictatorial regime won't stay. That's fine--they'll be less productive, less likely to innovate, and will take the mediocrity that is a feature of personalities attracted to authoritarianism right into a key position within a Communist Party asset.
The United States benefits tremendously from its immigrant population, and we should be excited when people demonstrate the tremendous ambition that it takes to move across continents to come and be part of our free economy.
Senator Cotton is wrong because his proposal is cruel, runs contrary to the basic values to which we as Americans aspire, and because his proposal would amount to a tremendous gift of human capital to the Communist Party of China. If that is how the GOP intends to "Make America Great", I want no part of it.