National Security

The Trump Regime is Still Bluffing Over Huawei

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

The Trump regime spent most of the last year threatening to withhold classified intelligence from our closest allies in the world if they don't ban Chinese-owned telecommunications giant Huawei from their next generation networks, but members of the European Union and the United Kingdom decided to grant access to Huawei with restrictions for sensitive installations like nuclear power plants.

While Britain's decision was met with an angry phone call from Trump, the regime did not follow through on their threats to withhold intelligence from any of our partners in the so-called "Five Eyes" network that we share with our five closest allies.

Now, the Canadian government has not made a decision yet, but the Trump regime is still making the same threats to Canada that they made to our allies in Europe.

Robert Blair, Trump’s special representative for international telecoms policy, discussed the “importance of a secure and reliable next-generation telecommunications infrastructure” and the defense partnership between the United States and Canada, the U.S. embassy said in a statement.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, two U.S. sources said Blair planned to underscore that a decision by Canada to include Huawei could jeopardize its access to U.S. intelligence. [...]

Ottawa sources directly familiar with the government’s deliberations say a decision is still many months away.

While the Trump regime continues to make impotent threats to our allies, it appears they do not actually believe Huawei is as critical of a threat as they say in public because the Chinese company has just been granted yet another extension to continue operating in the United States.

The Commerce Department has given the green light to American companies that do business with Huawei until at least May.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Trump administration said on Tuesday it was extending a license allowing U.S. companies to continue doing business with China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd until May 15.

The U.S. Commerce Department has issued a series of extensions of the temporary license and had previously extended it until April 1. Huawei, the second-largest maker of smartphones, is also a major telecom equipment that provides 5G network technology.

After adding Huawei to an economic blacklist in May citing national security concerns, the U.S. Commerce Department has allowed it to purchase some American-made goods in a move aimed at minimizing disruption for its customers, many of which operate wireless networks in rural America.

The regime first added Huawei to the Commerce Department's export-control "blacklist" last summer, but this is at least the third if not fourth time they've been granted an extension for operating inside the United States. Honestly, I'm starting to lose count.

The Trump regime's high-level meeting to decide what the official policy toward Huawei is came and went and that meeting apparently did not result in any clear direction as the White House continues to send conflicting signals about the company.

All things considered, it's hard to accept that Huawei was ever as much of a threat as Trump and his cabinet made it out to be. I certainly don't consider it a threat if American companies sell their own equipment to Huawei. That doesn't make any sense to me and that's what the Commerce Department's blacklist is all about: controlling exports rather than imports. They're not trying to stop Huawei from installing their own equipment in America; they're trying to stop American companies from selling American-made equipment to Huawei.

  • muselet

    Export control regulations were intended to keep “sensitive” (never quite defined) technology out of the hands of unfriendly governments. At first, the concern was that sophisticated software and hardware would end up installed on Russian missiles, but export controls also got slapped on perfectly ordinary software, to protect the intellectual property rights of American companies. (Heaven forfend that some furrin company should copy-paste blocks of code from Murcan software and produce yet another cheap dBase clone that didn’t work very well.)

    I see the point, to a point, but the slender thread the Trump administration is clinging to now is that Huawei using US-designed and -made chips somehow constitutes a threat to national security. Which it doesn’t, any more than Mercedes-Benz cars on Fifth Avenue constitute a threat.

    The theoretical threat to national security isn’t pirated chips, it’s the widely-rumored but never-found backdoor supposedly built into every product Huawei produces. Maybe it’s there, maybe it’s not; if you’re worried, use end-to-end encryption or stay off 5G networks (4G is just fine for the time being).

    Until I see evidence indicating otherwise, I’ll call the administration’s obsession with Huawei an attempt to gain leverage in Donald Trump’s forever trade war with China.

    Oh, and it goes without saying that Canada should ignore the foot-stamping, follow the lead of the EU and UK, and make their own decisions regarding network security.

    –alopecia