US in­se­cu­rity stems from it­self

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - COMMENT -

As China has de­vel­oped to be­come the world’s sec­ond-largest econ­omy, it has gained the con­fi­dence to look out­ward at the world. The United States has been un­nerved en­coun­ter­ing this gaze. Un­used to such an ap­prais­ing look, it has viewed it as a chal­lenge. As a corol­lary to this, Wash­ing­ton has come to the conclusion that the two coun­tries are vy­ing for the na­tional se­cu­rity and eco­nomic ad­van­tages sup­pos­edly of­fered by tech supremacy.

Which is why, as long as Huawei main­tains its su­pe­ri­or­ity over its US coun­ter­parts in 5G, the US ad­min­is­tra­tion will not stop stoop­ing to new lows in its ef­forts to con­tain the developmen­t of the Chi­nese com­pany. For which pur­pose, it has co­erced Canada to kid­nap Huawei’s Chief Fi­nan­cial Officer Meng Wanzhou, and sought to cut the com­pany’s sup­ply chains.

That’s why the “fi­nal” dec­la­ra­tion of the Fed­eral Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Com­mis­sion, which of­fi­cially des­ig­nates the Chi­nese telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions com­pa­nies Huawei and ZTE as na­tional se­cu­rity threats, will not be the fi­nal words ut­tered by the US on the mat­ter. Es­pe­cially since that conclusion is so pal­pa­bly po­lit­i­cally mo­ti­vated.

In an undis­guised cloning of the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s rhetoric, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in a state­ment, “We can­not and will not al­low the Chi­nese Com­mu­nist Party to ex­ploit net­work vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties and com­pro­mise our crit­i­cal com­mu­ni­ca­tions in­fras­truc­ture.”

And yet, the US has used Huawei and ZTE equip­ment for years. If the two com­pa­nies re­ally are a na­tional se­cu­rity threat, the FCC should have ac­cu­mu­lated a tremen­dous amount of ev­i­dence to sup­port its as­ser­tion that the two com­pa­nies are risky busi­ness.

Con­sid­er­ing the des­per­a­tion with which Wash­ing­ton is try­ing to throt­tle Huawei, and also co­erce its al­lies to fol­low suit, if the FCC re­ally has such “over­whelm­ing” ev­i­dence that the Chi­nese com­pa­nies are such a threat, it is show­ing com­mend­able for­ti­tude and re­straint in not pre­sent­ing it.

The or­ga­ni­za­tion should serve as a fire­wall to guard against any mis­be­hav­ior by the govern­ment or the com­pa­nies in its sec­tor so as to de­fend the pub­lic’s in­ter­est. It has failed in that duty by al­low­ing it­self to be down­graded into a mouth­piece for the US ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Cer­tainly, it is the US tax­pay­ers that will bear the brunt of the po­lit­i­cally driven sup­pres­sion of lead­ing mar­ket play­ers, as they will have to pay more to help do­mes­tic tele­com oper­a­tors re­build their net­works with equip­ment from other com­pa­nies with lower per­for­mance.

A tech cold war is a zero-sum game that be­lies the re­al­ity of the two coun­tries’ science and tech­nol­ogy ex­changes and co­op­er­a­tion which have ben­e­fited both.

The real risk for the US is that its in­se­cu­ri­ties and con­vic­tions are be­com­ing de­bil­i­tat­ing.

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