Former DHS And NSA Heads Say US Must Think Globally To Ward Off Huawei

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The current Trump Ban and Trump's softening of his harsh trade deal policy show one thing: the US is too reliant on Huawei, say former DHS and NSA heads Michael Chertoff and Mike McConnell.

In an opinion piece with CNBC, both Chertoff and McConnell say that the US needs Huawei too much in the current climate to truly ban Huawei in the long-term. The Federal Government takes some role in technologies in the United States, but it must become more actively involved in the rollout of key technologies to benefit all Americans. Whereas the Federal Government only supported rolling out technologies in the military years ago, that strategy no longer works today because all of American life is impacted by new technology — and technology is at the center of America's daily experience.

Additionally, the US has to think globally, outside the scope of allies we already have. The US only has four allies, but some of the greatest companies in the world are based in other countries in a strong political alliance. "The U.S. can benefit greatly from enhanced coordination with its allies, leveraging their innovations to address our own technological and manufacturing gaps," such as "purchasing 5G technologies from Sweden's Ericsson rather than China's Huawei," they wrote.

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The opinion piece encourages the United States to think outside the box, think about its global partnerships, how to make them stronger, and how to use technologies from global allies to strengthen itself at home. And yet, all of this counsel, as wise as it is, must come from a country and an administration that thinks of itself as a global partner, as one nation of many nations, not think of itself in a "Make America Great Again" (MAGA) stance where America becomes all Americans care about. The current administration's political stance seems greatly at odds with what Chertoff and McConnell recommend.

When the US starts to think of itself as a global country, it can understand the value of its global partnerships and see its allies across the globe as true allies, not as mere political partners for the sake of political gain. And when America realizes that to aid its allies is, in effect, to progress itself, she can see her allies as the key to her greatness.

For the United States to think globally doesn't mean that it must deny itself what it needs to advance, but it means that America cannot remain isolationist in her political policies. She cannot shut herself up, care nothing for what happens outside her borders, and think that her only obligation is to herself.

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The current trade war with Huawei shows that, as Chertoff and McConnell have said, the US is too reliant on Huawei. President Trump is a man who has been successful at negotiations and financial deals of all kinds, and his decision to relax the ban by allowing high-tech companies to do business with Huawei is a financial decision made out of his desire to see American companies excel financially and not lose billions of dollars each year.

It wasn't a decision made out of anything but pure financial need because, though it may remain unspoken with the current administration, the United States needs Huawei. Huawei hasn't suffered in the way of partners since the ban, for it has turned to Chinese manufacturers to make up the slack; but American companies would lose $11 billion annually if Huawei were banned for a year or two or more.

Following the advice of Chertoff and McConnell would mean that the United States would have to invest in other countries and let other countries invest in us, such that we wouldn't need Huawei long-term. That means forging greater partnerships and seeing one agenda, a global one, as opposed to "a US agenda" versus "a Canadian agenda" versus "a European agenda," and so on.

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Huawei is a major international player in the rollout of 5G networks. As such, it has its political hands everywhere, in every country just about, when it comes to 5G patent royalties. Additionally, Huawei also has its hands in telecom equipment, selling its devices at competitive prices — which makes it hard for most clients to turn down business with the Chinese corporation.

And yet, if the United States continues to think of itself as caring only for itself and seeking to become so self-sufficient while trying to ward off Huawei, it will find businesses such as silicon chipmakers turning to Huawei for business. Instead of trying to carry the financial and technological load on its own, the US must think about how to work as a global team with other countries to ensure Huawei stays at bay in the 5G and technological market race.

When the US was first formed, the nation's first President, George Washington, said that the US shouldn't become entangled with other countries. To become entangled, he believed, would damage the growth of the US as she was just starting to develop.

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Fast forward to over 200 years later, and globalization has made it nearly impossible for countries to remain isolationist and survive. No one country has a monopoly on goods, services, and technology anymore, and even as America remains a superpower in the world, she still needs the help of other countries in various fields. America is not all there is to the world, and she can (and must) acknowledge that she needs other countries as much as they need her.

And it all starts with Huawei. Keeping Huawei at bay involves thinking globally. Whether the US can rise to the challenge all starts with this ban. Will the US maintain the ban, ally with other countries, and invest in other national economies, or will she continue to be a spoiled brat who thinks of everything as "mine"?

America won't be truly great again until she realizes that her political destiny is to be a city on a hill, a country that illuminates and enhances the successes of others, not a child who can't imagine sharing the best of what she has with other "children." The mark of greatness, whether of people, nations, or both, starts with humility and selflessness.

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