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Michael Auslin On Spying And National Security

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Countries spy on each other in order to better understand the challenges that exist between them. While the US and China know that they spy on each other, China has infiltrated the US in ways that even the Soviet Union was unable to achieve. In order to manage that challenge, it is critical to first understand the scope of their infiltration. 

This video’s audio is excerpted from Michael Auslin’s talk at the 2018 Hoover Institution Spring Retreat. 

Additional Resources

  • Listen as Michael Auslin argues that despite the best hopes of other analysts, China’s economic convergence with the West won’t be followed by an embrace of Western values and institutions. A more realistic view, he explains, reveals a China that is resolute in its own political model and engaged in a fierce competition with the West that extends beyond the economic arena. Available here.
  • Read “Michael Auslin: US-China Relationship Entering Uncertain Era,” available here.
  • Michael Auslin discusses China's president Xi Jinping in "One Year Ago: Xi becomes Mao," available here.
  • In “Spying, Stealing, and Subordination: Dealing with the New China Rules,” Michael Auslin argues that despite the best hopes of other analysts, China’s economic convergence with the West won’t be followed by an embrace of Western values and institutions. Availablere here.
  • Read “China vs America: The Espionage Story of Our Time” by Michael Auslin, available here.
View Transcript

Spying, it was fun, it was interesting, but it was actually really important.

And I would argue that one of the most important parts of spying during the Cold War was the social, the cultural role that it played in our understanding of our challenge with the Soviet Union.

Now, let’s not be surprised that there is gambling going on in the casino today. 

China is spying on us and we’re spying on China. 

But, the degree to which China is pervasively infiltrating the United States, infiltrating our security services and the government,
infiltrating our businesses, infiltrating our campuses is to a degree that even the Russians couldn’t have managed.

In fact, some experts call this the Golden Age of Chinese Spying. 

They think there may be as many as 25,000 Chinese spies of one sort or another working in the United States. They get their money from the Ministry of State Security. 

But like I said, let’s not be shocked by that. To the extent that we can, we’re doing the same thing in China.

But we have to understand the degree to which China is trying to penetrate our society and successfully doing so.