Trump's Huawei ban and the big picture
Bobby Naderi
Editor's note: Bobby Naderi is a journalist, current affairs commentator, documentary filmmaker and member of the Writers Guild of Great Britain. The article reflects the author's opinion, and not necessarily the views of CGTN.
While the U.S. government is still unable to promote an alternative to Huawei, President Donald Trump has signed an executive order to effectively blacklist the Chinese company. In this new scam in Washington, tech companies like Google, Qualcomm and Intel have also been forced to cease some business with the most advanced company in the 5G field.
The presidential order leaves China's biggest phone manufacturer with few options. One is to continue fighting the blackout in court and against efforts to curb its business. Huawei can test the limits of Trump's presidential order over international trade and the fact that it's a ploy to punish China as the Sino-U.S. trade war drags on.
However, one thing seems clear. Even if Huawei makes the case that the order is unreasonable and irresponsible, the Trump administration won't change attitude. The politically motivated ban has nothing to do with legal or national security issues.
Experience tells us that no one in court is going to declare that giving the Commerce Secretary the power to block Huawei trade is an unreasonable use of an executive order. Trump's national emergency declaration gives the Commerce Secretary the power to block Huawei even if its information technology transactions pose no risk to national security. The U.S. intelligence can use the same declaration to target and brand other international companies.
VCG Photo

VCG Photo

It's a big mistake to think that if Huawei wins the case in court the ban will be lifted. There are many ways through which the Trump administration can still subvert the company and the rule of law. Trump has already made a number of breaks from prior U.S. policies on international economic law and trade, after which American courts didn't hesitate to upend basic norms and assumptions about the moves. On balance, rights-violating norms have become internalized in Washington and wouldn't change. No one cares if this assault against international legal commitments could turn into a problem for the whole world either.
Trump's presidential order is intended to go beyond Huawei. The Commerce Department has the power to ban other foreign players in the telecommunications industry from doing business with American companies. They are all vulnerable and for a multitude of reasons and questionable purposes.
It goes without saying that the Commerce Department has exploited legal gaps and cracked down on Huawei for a matter unrelated to national security, which is precisely why it's a waste of time for the company to push back. The courts will uphold the irresponsible use of the presidential order, even if there is no public evidence that Huawei is a threat to national security.
Some might argue there is still hope for Huawei, as the Commerce Department has given the company a 90-day “temporary general license” to support existing handsets and network components. However, the license expires on August 19 and as maintained by the company's CEO, Ren Zhengfei, it doesn't have much impact, which is to say the ban will continue.
A man takes a picture of an Honor 20 Pro smartphone at a launch event for the Honor 20 Series smartphones at Battersea Evolution in London, May 21, 2019. /VCG Photo

A man takes a picture of an Honor 20 Pro smartphone at a launch event for the Honor 20 Series smartphones at Battersea Evolution in London, May 21, 2019. /VCG Photo

At any rate, Ren has said American politicians underestimate Huawei's strength as the company has what it takes “to stand on top of the world.” Indeed, the potential path forward for China's biggest phone manufacturer is building more technology with its 5G prowess. The ban offers a perfect chance for the most advanced company in the 5G field to set its own standards on future technologies.
It is said technology and the means of producing it inevitably proliferate. The U.S. has a lot to lose than China in the current trade and technology standoff. Huawei can compete in computer chip design and fabrication. Huawei is a huge force in the world of telecommunications and doesn't need to wait for Beijing and Washington to resolve their tit-for-tat tariff dispute.
Too bad for the U.S. that the UK and Germany see no danger in using Huawei. The U.S. attempts to paint Huawei as a national security threat elsewhere in Europe have largely fallen on deaf ears as well. In the age of Donald Trump, the gigantic Chinese telecommunications company can build chips through joint ventures with Europe. It can fare the OS ban and expand the global reach of its networking technologies, including buying up next-gen startups and innovators - both as vendor and as investor.
Anyway, calls to banning Huawei have been all-American beyond belief. Many developing and developed economies know that there's not much room for the Trump administration to introduce an alternative to Huawei internationally. The U.S. is increasingly isolated and left behind.
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