Huawei Arrest and Chinese-American Relations: What’s Right

Max Goldenberg, Maroon-News Staff

People in general love to whine, and that’s especially true for commentary articles. In many ways, the purpose of these columns is to whine, whether it’s about a specific issue or about other people’s whining about a specific issue. Perhaps that explains the profound cognitive dissonance expressed in American cultural outlets over China in the last decade. When our government did nothing to combat the growing strength of the Chinese government, we were treated to an endless stream of fear-mongering about the growth of the Chinese giant and the increasingly powerful East Asian sphere. Now that something has finally been done to stand up against the dragon in the east, Western media outlets seem fixated on nothing more than how the current trade war is hurting the economy.

For once, popular fear-mongering was entirely correct. We should fear Chinamake no mistake, they’re the most genuine threat to American cultural and political hegemony since the fall of the Soviet Union. Many like to refer to the “Japanese Scare” of the 1980s, where the booming Japanese electronic industry seemed as though it was bound to stomp Silicon Valley into the grounda scare that ultimately amounted to nothing. But China is nothing like Japan. Japan has been a steadfast ally of the West since the second World War, and Japanese boom companies like Sony have always been more than willing to engage in mutually beneficial trade and cooperation with America and Europe; the Playstation and Wii have become staples of the American entertainment industry as much as the Xbox has become a staple in Japan. The kind of competition that Chinese boom companies like Huawei and Foxconn offer is not the cooperative trade of similarly aligned powersit is the violent and aggressive warfare of a nation leveraging corporate assets against its enemies.

The intention of the aggressive, government-funded expansion of companies like Huawei in the United Kingdom and Canada was never to promote some kind of peaceful, cooperative trade to expand an industry, like that between Sony and Microsoft. It is an action performed with the specific intention of outcompeting and squashing the Western telecommunications industry, and it’s hardly the first of its kind. China does much of the same with steel, heavy industry and hardware manufacturing, flooding Western markets in an attempt to corner and destroy vulnerable industries, promoting Chinese monopolies in their stead. The steel gambit has been a largely successful one, too. American steel has been effectively crippled by a concentrated economic assault from Chinese industry, actions that have been sponsored, promoted and perhaps even directed by the Chinese government.

In light of that, please excuse me if I fail to sympathize with short-minded tycoons and economists wailing about how trade retaliations hurt the Western economy. The fact of the matter is that China is using its growing economic prowess as a bludgeon to attack the West, and it has been doing so for decades. Chinese steel may be cheap, but it’s cheap because cheap imported steel has pushed the U.S. steel industry to the brink of starvation. They’ll do the same with electronics, heavy industry, telecommunications and anything else that they think they have a decent chance of leveraging to damage the West, their primary competitors for economic, social and political domination on the global stage. Treating China like a friendly and cooperative state is a deep and serious mistake, and one that will guarantee the entropy of Western industries as they’re undercut by aggressive Chinese expansion. If China wants to use its economy as a weapon, it should be prepared to fight with its economyeven if that means that we can’t get cheap steel in the process. China is not another Japan. Don’t treat it like one.

Contact Max Goldenberg at [email protected]