Trump's Seriously Misguided Ban On Huawei


Trump's approach toward Huawei is the wrong one no matter what Trump's goal happens to be.

Wall Street Journal writer Holman W. Jenkins, Jr. hits the nail squarely on the head with How the U.S. Went Wrong on Huawei.

Nobody’s equipment in your telecom network can be trusted as long as governments like China’s, Russia’s, Iran’s or North Korea’s, in cahoots or in competition with criminal gangs, are trying to break into them. Let’s not kid ourselves: The U.S. CIA and National Security Agency are also looking for vulnerabilities to exploit.

Whoever’s equipment you install, relentless monitoring and vetting will be necessary to make sure data isn’t being intercepted, stolen or misused.

While security cannot be guaranteed by buying one company’s equipment and refusing to buy another’s, it can be strengthened by having a mix of suppliers, by pitting them against each other, by constantly testing for vulnerabilities and watching for suspicious traffic flows, and by being ready to yank hardware and shift traffic whenever problems are detected.

All this is a lot more complicated than: If we keep out Huawei equipment, because Huawei equipment might have “backdoors,” then our networks will be safe.

Our networks won’t be safe. Anybody who thinks so is barking up the wrong tree.

Banning Huawei from the U.S. market only increases China’s incentives for recklessness in the cyber sphere. Mr. Trump turns out to be right about one thing: Access to our market is our most powerful weapon in the various trade wars he’s sought to foment. Unfortunately, in the case of Huawei, we have made the worst possible use of it.

Flawless Analysis

Jenkins' analysis is flawless.

Huawei was not responsible for the DNC breakown or the US intercepting communications from Angel Merkel. The former was an inside job, Not Russia. The latter was US spying on allies plain and simple.

There's just one problem in all of this: It assumes Trump wants to deal with security rationally.

There is every indication Trump is using Huawei in a trade fight just as he proposed European cars are a serious threat to US national security.

1-D Chess

Trump doesn't play 4-D chess, 3-D chess, or even 2-D chess.

Trump plays in a single dimension at a time, and mostly badly.

Right now, Trump is concerned about a trade deal with China. Since he cannot do two things at once, he suspended his trade war with the EU.

Trump also took away tariffs on Canadian and Mexican steel in a desperate attempt to secure passage of USMCA, his treaty that is nearly identical to NAFTA.

Trump 101

  • Trump puts on tariffs with great fanfare
  • Trump waits for countries to come crawling to him
  • When they don't, Trump rescinds the tariffs as soon as the stock market revolts
  • Then a deal is worked out that Trump claims is the greatest deal ever made.

By now, every country in the world should have figured this out.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments (16)
No. 1-9
Andy Tak
Andy Tak

Trump and USA want to break down China, like they did to USSR to end/win the cold war. It has nothing to do with telcom security nor trade imbalance. They are just excuses.


History is rhyming. In late 1991, I was on a Department of Commerce junket to Japan, a command attendance on my part because our CEO didn't want to go. There were 18 media types in the group and a couple dozen business guys, a few mayors, but mostly high tech. I had opportunities to talk with each of the 18 reporters during the trip and every single one of them shared the then-common view that Japan Inc. was ascendant and executing well. I'm not sure a single one of the 18 had ever chased a single dollar through a P&L, balance sheet or cash flow statement, much less struggled with the design, manufacture, sale and service of any product.

Shintaro Ishihara's book, "The Japan That Can Say No," had been published in January and was a hot seller, 46 years after WW11. In retrospect, it was the high-water mark of Japan Inc.

Today, 46 years after Nixon's trip to a third world China still recovering from Mao's disastrous cultural revolution, we sit locked in a trade war. News of our national death is, once again, being greatly exaggerated.

The best Huawei outcome would be for China to agree to join the trade party as an equal and for us to champion truly free trade with them...and everyone.


Trump is the greatest Tic-Tac-Toe player Ever !


May be we should just let you rant about Trump - China - Huawei

Any person who thinks that we should let China build our telecommunications network is just being naive.

Trump is right on this one


Give them a large dose of their own medicine. Do to their companies, what they have done for our companies.

American companies cannot build ships and railways in China, cannot mine in China, cannot build nuclear reactors, cannot grow rice and corn, our banks and insurance companies cannot operate in China, our tech giants cannot operate in China, our film industry cannot operate in China, American companies cannot build Real Estate properties the same way Chinese corporations can build or buy properties in US, they have equity caps requirement for foreign companies in different industries, they also have joint venture requirement and restrictive licensing meant to "force the transfer" of technology. They destroy Christian churches - western culture - but Confucious institutes that advance Chinese culture are given a free pass in US.

Give them hell DJT, no time for feelings, give them hell, until they reform and open their market for American companies.

Trade with China has been one-sided for far too long

Trump should put more pressure until they reform, and open up their economy for our companies. The other presidents were lenient, sat down and did nothing as our industries were ripped apart, closed down and our wealth was being transferred to China. They managed to lift so many people out of poverty, here in the US, we wages were stagnating and no one woke up and dealt with China.

We even went to China to ask them to lend us money that we transferred to them. Now, we are their debtors and we are struggling with National debt.

I don't like Trump as a person, but on China Trade deal, he has my full support. There's no day I will cheer to someone who wants US to be impoverished by China unfair industrial practices

I am not supporting any company that benefited from stealing our technology.


The federal government can simply mandate that all communications over the internet be securely encrypted. Then it would not matter whose equipment you use. But that would cause obvious problems for our own government.


When you cannot compet against Huawei, ban it! It’s easy to win!



"While security cannot be guaranteed by buying one company’s equipment and refusing to buy another’s, it can be strengthened by having a mix of suppliers, by pitting them against each other, by constantly testing for vulnerabilities and watching for suspicious traffic flows, and by being ready to yank hardware and shift traffic whenever problems are detected."

Yanking hardware. How would that work if Huawei is the backbone of a 5G system? It sounds a lot easier said than done to me.

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