Reply to post: Right ... but perhaps for the wrong reasons

No Huawei out: Prez Trump's game of chicken with China has serious consequences

Milton Silver badge

Right ... but perhaps for the wrong reasons

Ok: Trump is a nasty, corrupt, ignorant child and his motivations in this are probably as petty and wrong as is ever the case. And you can't ignore the fact that this is happening in the context of a wider trade war, which, while it may have some logical underpinnings (China does steal and cheat on a an epic scale) is also contaminated by the Orange Idiot's floundeing incompetence and wayward spite.

So I am no apologist for Trump or his toxically incompetent administration: it may actually be almost as vile as the Chinese regime at this point in time.

But the fact that the attack on Huawei is being mounted by people who are stupid, ignorant and explicitly odious doesn't mean it is the wrong thing to do.

I've said before that it is irrelevant whether Huawei has been caught producing dodgy hard- or software and I have framed my point in terms of capabilities and intentions: emphasising that capabilities are what count here.

It's simply this: China has an authoritarian, undemocratic, repressive, ofttimes murderous regime; it ruthlessly oppresses minorities among its citizens; practises draconian censorship; has shown every sign of territorial aggressiveness and growing military adventurism; is building up its armed forces at a worrying rate; is becoming ever wealthier and more powerful; and has the ability both in technological know-how and in industrial capacity to supply a sizeable fraction of the free world's communications and computing infrastructure. With no checks or balances or transparency, the Chinese state could compel any of its companies to do whatever it wishes ("Make this happen for us, and keep your mouths shut about it, or next month you will be executed for corruption"), and every aspect of its behaviour in the last 20 years proves that it will use technology—a wonderful equaliser in the world of asymmetric warfare—for its own ends, lying, stealing and cheating at every turn. I don't see how this is even a controversial statement by this point.

So the question is not what China intends, but what it can do, and this ought to worry us very badly. Given everything we know of China's government, it would be suicidally stupid to gift it with power, influence or any kind of entry into our just-about-free societies.

As the west wakes up to the threat of China, actual conflict becomes ever more likely (I would personally suggest, inevitable, unless regime change occurs, which seems most improbable). China will become ever more strongly motivated to resort to technological sabotage and espionage. Right now we don't want China stealing data on our (for example) nuclear submarine fleet. If it comes to conflict, we don't want them bricking those boats while they're still dockside.

So Huawei is just the start. China certainly could use its companies for malign ends: so we must act protectively, as if it is doing so, and will do so in the future.

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