The Trump administration’s appalling treatment of Huawei shows that the United States will risk anything, even a nuclear conflagration with China, to maintain its tenuous grip on global power.
Huawei is China’s behemoth technology company that has recently come under fire by the Trump administration for violating sanctions against Iran and for providing network equipment that (allegedly) poses security risks for its customers.
Both charges are baseless, but they’re being used as the pretext for launching a full-blown war on China’s telecom-equipment giant.
Huawei’s troubles stem from the fact that the company has taken the lead in fifth generation wireless technology (5-G) and left the US behind eating their dust. The situation creates an insurmountable problem for the US which wants to preserve its role as global superpower into the next century.
That dream will not be realized if China dominates communications technology and continues to be the industry leader in next-generation mobile infrastructure.
That’s why Trump has taken off the gloves and is preparing to do whatever it takes to sabotage Huawei and prevent its cutting edge infrastructure technology from being installed around the world.
It’s worth noting that the administration has abandoned any pretense that it is seeking a market-based solution for dealing with Huawei. Uncle Sam is not looking for ways to beat the Chinese colossus fair and square.
If that was the case, the Trump team would provide a funding stream that would generate the innovations that would help US companies become more competitive in the future.
So far, that hasn’t happened. Instead, Trump has taken the low road and imposed unilateral sanctions on Huawei for trading with Iran. The US is also aggressively harassing Huawei’s customers and threatening them with stiff penalties if they integrate the Chinese company’s products into their own systems.
Lastly, Washington is warning of military action if China does not comply with US diktats and accept its role as the world’s biggest producer of cheap goods for grossly-indebted American consumers. The US wants China to ignore its historic destiny and meekly become a cog in Washington’s geriatric “rules-based” order.
But China has no intention of becoming Washington’s lackey. China’s leaders are determined to defend the country’s sovereignty, implement its own economic model, and seize the opportunity to become the world’s biggest and most prosperous economic powerhouse.
According to author Thomas Hon Wing Polin: (Huawei) is far ahead of everyone else in the development of 5G. Any nation that doesn’t want to be left behind rolling out the game-changing, next-generation communications technology has little choice but to do business with Huawei.” (“Empire Unravelling: Will Huawei Become Washington’s Suez? Counterpunch)
Most of the experts in the field agree with Polin. Regardless of how much money and brainpower the US throws at 5-G, China will remain leaps and bounds ahead. This is from an article at CNBC:
“In an interview with CNBC, Paul Scanlan, chief technology officer of Huawei’s networking business, explained that the technical standards and actual implementation of 5G have taken about 10 years to create.
“So the U.S. will do what the U.S. does … that’s a very very long game and that has its own sort of complexity built into (it) and Huawei has been addressing and looking at those things ourselves,” Scanlan said.
When asked if the U.S. could create a new alternative to Huawei quickly, Scanlan said: “It would be a challenge.” (CNBC)
What this means is that Huawei is likely to dominate the 5-G space for the foreseeable future which is why the administration has been spreading malicious rumors that Huawei can’t be trusted because its infrastructure equipment may enable surveillance by the Chinese government.
Aside from the fact that the US has been vacuuming up virtually all the electronic communications of its allies for years, there’s no proof to back up similar claims against Huawei.
Besides China isn’t interested in espionage, they have bigger fish to fry.
They want to rebuild the world using the markets and the existing system to expand their reach and increase their power-base.
They want to use state of the art technology and high-speed rail to connect the four corners of the earth putting Beijing at the center of the world’s biggest free trade zone.
They want to be a force to be reckoned with, a bustling behemoth whose infrastructure and influence stretches across continents and whose interests must be considered when shaping the global agenda.
China’s aspirations even exceed its gigantic global development strategy, the Belt and Road Initiative, which is the largest infrastructure and investment project in history, covering more than 70 countries, including 65% of the world’s population and 40% of the global GDP.”
Regrettably, the US now sees China as its mortal enemy and is determined to undermine their business relations, stifle their economic integration program, and rein terror down on Huawei for creating better products and playing by the rules.
Here’s how author Diana Johnstone summed it up in a recent article. She said:
“As long as Western dominance was ensured, international trade was celebrated as the necessary basis for a peaceful world. But the moment a non-Western trader is doing too well, its exports are ominously denounced as means to exert malign influence over its customers.” (“The West displays its Insecurity Complex”, Diana Johnstone, Consortium News)
How true. Washington is a tireless cheerleader for the free market until American companies fall behind their foreign competitors. Then all the gushing praise for the market is shoved overboard while Uncle Sam goes on the warpath.
That same rule applies here in spades. Trump even admitted as much in a statement he delivered in the Oval Office a few months ago. He said: “We cannot allow any other country to out compete the United States in this powerful industry of the future.”
“Out compete”? In other words, competition should only be permitted when it coincides with the political objectives of the state?? This is the worst type of hypocrisy and yet, sadly, it has become the guiding doctrine for the USG’s war on China.
Sec-Def Mark Esper Goes Ballistic
The 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, which was signed into law in December 2019, announced a dramatic shift in the Defense Department’s focus, from the war on terror to a “great power competition” between the US and its main rivals Russia and China. The NDAA also proposes banning government agencies from using Huawei’s products.
That ban is now in place.
Underscoring these developments, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper gave the most flagrantly belligerent speech in recent memory at the Munich Security Conference last weekend. His presentation was aimed at China leaving no doubt that the US has abandoned its earlier approach of ‘peaceful negotiations with a valued ally’.
The new strategy replaces diplomacy with coercion, and dialogue with brute force. Esper and his chums in the foreign policy establishment are planning another maximum pressure campaign that will increase the threats and provocations, including (very likely) the use of military force aimed at isolating Huawei and quashing China’s inexorable rise.
Here’s a short excerpt from Esper’s incendiary presentation:
“I’d like to speak to you today about the number one priority of the United States Department of Defense: implementing the National Defense Strategy. The NDS states that we are now in an era of Great Power Competition, with our principal challengers being China, then Russia, and that we must move away from low intensity conflict and prepare once again for high-intensity warfare….
… the Chinese Communist Party is heading even faster and further in the wrong direction…The PRC’s growing economic, military, and diplomatic power often manifests itself in ways that are threatening, coercive, and counter to the rules-based international order. …
the PRC seeks to undermine and subvert this system, the same one that allowed them to rise and become what they are today…..Party leadership continues its rampant technology theft, while resolving to eventually end its reliance on foreign innovation altogether, independently develop its own systems, and then dominate critical sectors and markets…. Huawei and 5G are today’s poster child for this nefarious activity.
History has proven time and again, though, that authoritarianism breeds corruption, promotes conformity, smothers free thinking, and suppresses freedom….But Beijing’s bad behavior will only take them so far….The Chinese government needs to change its policies and behaviors. (or else)
This is an important speech that accurately reflects current US policy towards China, so let’s summarize:
- China is a thief (“Party leadership continues its rampant technology theft”)
- “Huawei and 5G are today’s poster child for.. nefarious activity”
- China is a corrupt, authoritarian government that hates freedom. (“History has proven time and again, though, that authoritarianism breeds corruption, promotes conformity, smothers free thinking, and suppresses freedom.”)
- China is a threat to the western “rules-based” system. (“The PCR seeks to undermine and subvert this system.”)
- China “is heading …in the wrong direction.”
- The Pentagon’s “number one priority” is to “move away from low intensity conflict and prepare once again for high-intensity warfare.”
- The United States is preparing for a war with China (“The Chinese government needs to change its policies and behaviors” or else.)
These seven talking points show that Washington has entered a new phase in its perilous face-off with China. The US foreign policy establishment could calmly accept the emergence of other centers of power and ease the transition to a multipolar world or they can use all the tools at their disposal to stave off the rising tide and, perhaps, preserve the existing order for a decade-or-so longer.
But the latter option is fraught with risk and could involve an unforeseen incitement that leads to a nuclear confrontation. In any event, judging by Esper’s speech, the decision has already been made and, once again, Washington has chosen war over peace.
Check out this 2 minute video with Secretary of Defense Mark Esper who levels the same accusations against China that he did in Munich.
Check out this 9 minute video from the conservative Economist magazine. The author draws the same conclusion that we have here, that the administration’s feigned concern over spying is a fraud used to conceal the real motive which is, “the desire to slow China’s explosive growth to preserve US dominant role in the world for as long as possible.”
By Mike Whitney
First published by The Economist
The 21st Century