National Security

Britain to Ignore Trump On Huawei

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

None of us can say if Chinese-owned telecommunications giant Huawei is as much of a threat to national security as the Trump regime has claimed, but I think we now have one less reason to believe it is.

Trump and his cabinet have pressured the United Kingdom to ban Huawei from the next generation of data networks because the company is supposedly a threat to national security and the close alliance between the United States and Britain, but the Johnson administration has reportedly decided to give Huawei access to the networks.

From Bloomberg:

Boris Johnson is preparing to defy President Trump’s demand to ban Huawei Technologies Co. from the U.K.’s fifth-generation telecommunications networks, in a decision that risks an angry backlash from within his own ruling Conservative Party.

The prime minister’s team will make the decision on Tuesday after a meeting of the National Security Council, Digital Minister Matt Warman told members of Parliament on Monday. [...]

The Huawei decision is perilous for Johnson. If he sides with President Trump and bans the company, he risks failing to equip the U.K. with the technology Huawei is well placed to provide and betraying his pledge to voters to spread ultra-fast internet services across the country. If he allows Huawei to go ahead, he faces the potential loss of U.S. intelligence cooperation and an angry backlash from the White House at a time when he’s seeking a trade deal with Britain’s closest ally.

The possibility that a decision concerning Huawei could disrupt international trade is the reason we're even talking about this; the reason why Trump has pushed Britain to ban Huawei.

The Trump regime imposed their own ban on Huawei during the height of trade talks with China last spring, but the regime worked backward from their decision to find a justification for it. And that had serious consequences for American-owned companies that did (and still do) business with Huawei. The Chinese company is actually still operating inside the United States today because, as you may recall, the White House has repeatedly delayed the ban on Huawei so it would not adversely affect American businesses particularly in rural areas.

Boris Johnson allowing Huawei to enter the British market isn't conclusive proof that the Trump regime's claims are bogus, and it's not proof that Huawei does not pose a threat to national security, but I would say it's proof that Trump and the United States in general has very little credibility left.

In the past, it probably wouldn't have even been a question if the United States and Britain would go their separate ways on a matter concerning national security, but now?

I have no proof of it, but British intelligence may have told Johnson that Trump only went to war with Huawei to use it as leverage in his trade war. You don't have to read tea leafs to conclude that he did.

We could suppose that Huawei actually is a significant threat to national security and observe that Trump has made it more difficult to keep a lid on the company's capabilities by muddying the waters and tying it to his trade war.

  • muselet

    I wonder what form that “angry backlash from within his own ruling Conservative Party” might take. Unless the “numerous” Tories raising the issue are willing to get into a protracted leadership battle with Boris Johnson (does anyone think that’s likely?), they’ve got nothing.

    Culture Secretary Nicky Morgan, whose department is responsible for telecommunications, told Bloomberg earlier this month that Huawei will be kept out of “critical national infrastructure,” while leaving open the prospect the company can be involved in less sensitive areas. That chimes with the message on Monday from Johnson, who discussed the matter with Trump on Friday.

    First, best of luck keeping “critical national infrastructure” segregated from “less sensitive areas” of the communications network. Second, it sounds like Johnson may have his ducks in a row with regard to Donald Trump.

    Which of course means Huawei equipment is probably less of a security threat than the Trump administration has been claiming.


    Well, if nothing else, the development of highly-secure, on-the-fly encryption will advance quickly as a result of all this. Is that a bright side (I can’t tell any more)?


    • Tony Lavely

      “Is that a bright side (I can’t tell any more)?”
      Depends I think on the success of those actors demanding backdoors in encryption schemes.