Letter From Under Secretary Keith Krach to the Governing Boards of American Universities

What a surprise. Here we have Keith Krach, one of Trump’s .01% political appointees, lackeys, and cheerleaders grinding an anti-China ax. I’m going to go out on a limb here and predict that this 18 August 2020 letter will end up being so much pissing in the wind. I’m thinking trash folder, recycle bin, or paper shredder.

Here is my reaction to some excerpts in point/counterpoint fashion. As with most of the bullshit that the current administration ceaselessly churns out, there’s so much fodder in this letter that it’s hard to know where to begin.

Point #1: During this unprecedented period in modern history, American universities and colleges are on the frontlines of addressing many of the challenges presented by the pandemic. At the same time, these great institutions are at the forefront of an equally serious challenge brought on by the authoritarian influence of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

Counterpoint #1: Why is the US #1 in number of COVID-19 infections and death? The jaw-dropping failure of Krach’s boss and his incompetent and cruel administration to contain it. I worry more about the “authoritarian influence”, statements, and actions of this shitstorm and clusterfuck of an administration.

Point #2: At the U.S. Department of State, one of our primary missions is to monitor and advocate for freedom, including academic freedom, around the world. American institutions of higher learning are the envy of the world and have always been an invaluable partner in that mission.

Counterpoint #2: If you believe that, then I have swampland in Florida to sell you. What you need is more freedom, an overused and abused word, at home. The administration Krach represents has done everything in its power in thought, word, and deed to discourage international students from selecting the US as an overseas study destination. I call bullshit.

Point #3: In that same spirit of partnership, I am writing to you about a real and urgent threat that has broad implications for ensuring academic freedom, honoring human dignity, protecting university endowments, and safeguarding intellectual property.

Counterpoint #3: The greatest threat to the US is the US. Stop looking beyond the borders of the US and look in the mirror. The enemy is you!

Point #4: What I have come to learn through running economic diplomacy for the State Department is that nowhere are the CCP’s human rights abuses more pronounced than in the mass internment camps of the Xinjiang region and the indentured servitude of its population shipped all over China. These facilities are designed to eradicate the ethnicity and religious beliefs of Uyghurs and other Muslims and are responsible for human rights abuses of epic proportions with reported torture, sexual abuse, sterilization, forced abortions, and ingestion of unidentified drugs.

Counterpoint #4: Gotta love it when anyone from this or any other administration talks about “honoring human dignity” and feigns concern for those who are exploited, sexually abused, etc. This is an administration that has no qualms about putting people at the US-Mexican border in cages or, in the case of the president, giving a nod and a wink to concentration camps for Uyghurs, or sending anonymous storm troopers into US cities to crack some skulls in a lame attempt to make him look like a “law and order” president. Then there’s Trump to Ghislaine Maxwell, Jeffrey Epstein’s partner in sexual abuse crimes: I wish her well.

Point #5: I urge you to divest from companies that are on the Entity List or that contribute to human rights violations. I also ask that you strongly consider publicly disclosing to your campus communities immediately all PRC companies that your endowment funds are invested in, especially the PRC companies in emerging markets index funds.

Consequently, the boards of U.S. university endowments would be prudent to divest from PRC firms’ stocks in the likely outcome that enhanced listing standards lead to a wholesale delisting of PRC firms from U.S. exchanges by the end of next year. Holding these stocks also runs the high risks associated with PRC companies having to restate financials.

Counterpoint #5: Trump administration hacks like Krach have no right to tell the nation’s colleges and universities how to handle their endowments. I bet Krach and his boss are OK with tobacco companies and those that are involved in the destruction of the environment in pursuit of fossil fuels.

Point #6: The good news is that our strongest ally in promoting academic freedom over authoritarianism is your most important constituent—students. Reports suggest that College Republicans and College Democrats, like elected officials at the national level, are united in their recognition of the threat posed by the CCP.

Counterpoint #6: The greatest threat to US higher education and the larger society is the current administration not China or any other foreign country. Krach’s point that “The CCP would love nothing more than to silence business leaders, conservatives, environmentalists, feminists, labor advocates, LGBTQ activists, people of faith, and anyone else who speaks up about their beliefs” is pure MAGA fantasy. The greatest authoritarian threat to the US is in Washington, D.C. Who are they trying to silence? Krach is living proof that you have to be utterly shameless to work for Donald Trump.

Point #7: As we push back against efforts to infiltrate and divide us, it is imperative that we distinguish between the CCP’s totalitarian regime and the Chinese people, whom we must steadfastly defend from abhorrent acts of xenophobia, racism, and hatred, including those from the PRC government. We must act to give voice to the long-oppressed among PRC ethnic minority groups including Uyghur, Kazakh, and Tibetans. We must condemn in the most unequivocal terms any and all anti-Asian sentiment wherever and whenever it arises.

Counterpoint #7: The greatest efforts to “divide us” have come from the Trump administration. “Anti-Asian sentiment”? What about the example of the malignant narcissist-in-chief who is crickets when it comes to that topic? What about the “Kung Flu” or the “China Flu”? What about the “abhorrent acts of xenophobia, racism, and hatred” that originate with Trump and Co.? Hypocrites.

It will be a great day when people like Betsy DeVos, Keith Krach, Steve Mnuchin, Wilbur L. Ross, Jr. et al. go back to just being rich businesspeople and stop playing public servant. Enjoy it while it lasts, Keith. The charade is about to end. Your time is running out.

The day of reckoning, which can’t come too soon for anyone who cares about what’s happening in and to the US and its citizens and foreign visitors, is 3 November, when the faux president and malignant narcissist-in-chief will be held to account and sent packing, along with his high-level enablers, sycophants, and his family from hell. The orange nightmare will be over, God willing. Learn. Their. Names. Remember their actions. And never, ever trust them again.

Postscript: Here’s Keith’s email address, in case you want to tell him what you really think: krachkj@state.gov. Ditto for Betsy, Steve, and Wilbur, if the spirit moves you: betsy.devos@ed.gov, steven.mnuchin@treasury.gov, & WLRoss@doc.gov.

Shalom (שלום), MAA

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