While lawmakers like Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., and Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., rightly begin taking measures to hold the Chinese Communist Party accountable for the devastation wrought by the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic it caused, the Trump administration has provided a timely reminder of perhaps the most vital area where we must counter-punch. On March 23, pursuant to the signing of the Secure 5G and Beyond Act, the White House released its National Strategy to Secure 5G plan.
The plan lays out President Donald Trump’s “vision for America to lead the development, deployment, and management of secure and reliable 5G communications infrastructure worldwide, arm-in-arm with our closest partners and allies.” According to the administration, the high-level strategy is meant to complement the Secure and Trusted Communications Network Act, and will be followed by a more detailed implementation plan.
The development and execution of such a plan cannot come soon enough. Time is short, and America lags far behind the malevolent leader in the space: communist China by way of Huawei, the world’s largest telecommunications equipment manufacturer. The all-critical fifth generation or 5G networking technology will serve as the backbone for all global telecommunications and flow of information, including enabling the “internet of things.”
Huawei is an organ of the Chinese government, and allegedly a vital cog in its intelligence apparatus. Not that the concept of the rule of law exists in communist China anyway, but at minimum, its national security and intelligence laws seem to dictate that Huawei serve the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) spying apparatus whenever deemed necessary.
Huawei’s rise has been aided by substantial CCP support, alleged intellectual property theft, and the willful blindness of those with which it has transacted. So it has been able to undercut competition, while pursuing competitors’ crown jewels and expanding its business around the world, helping lead it to dominate in market share.
China’s 5G Plans Threaten Liberty and Security
Huawei is a preeminent symbol of China’s overall rise, but it is far more than that. It might be the single most critical entity to the CCP’s overall effort to achieve international domination.
In China’s effort to monopolize strategically significant industries and leverage its monopolies so other nations bend to the CCP’s aims — whether in terms of its national security or ability to project power — there may well be nothing more important than controlling the “Digital Silk Road” of global telecommunications.
Estimated trillions of dollars ride on the development of 5G. The technology is made even more valuable given that it is “dual-use,” meaning there are both civilian and military applications for it. That America and the entire free world is far behind in this competition is unacceptable. It poses a dire risk to our liberty and security.
During the Wuhan virus pandemic, we have seen the CCP threaten American lives through its control over medical supplies and willingness to withhold it from those in need. Imagine what kind of leverage the CCP would have over us if Huawei controlled the flow of information on which our increasingly digitized economy and society depends, including the internet of things.
Consider an even more fundamental problem. As national security adviser Robert O’Brien framed it rhetorically in a December 2019 interview, “What if, for democracies, China knew every single personal, private piece of information about any of us?”
How to Stop Communist China
While the U.S. government has taken a number of steps to keep Huawei’s technology out of America, far too many of our allies have allowed the CCP into their networking infrastructure by cutting deals with Huawei, in spite of serious warnings of the consequences, including curtailed intelligence sharing.
The CCP’s efforts to cover up the coronavirus outbreak, sow discord across the globe for casualties it helped create, and now to portray itself as a model for recovery and a savior for ailing people the world over lays bare the fact that it views this pandemic as a major threat to its plans for global domination.
Central to that plan is control over 5G. Therefore, there may be no single greater blow to the hegemonic ambitions of the tyrannical, imperialist, human rights-squelching CCP regime than the effective countering of its plan to sell us the digital rope with which to hang ourselves through 5G technology.
On top of vigorously pursuing a reparations plan, America must also effectively punish the CCP by disrupting its plans for global dominance in 5G and redouble our demands that U.S. allies do the same, including pulling out of existing agreements with Huawei.
There must also be a whole-society effort to develop secure and equally advanced 5G technology. Deterrence is not enough. The West competing, and ultimately triumphing, is imperative. In fact, this competition should serve as the centerpiece of an America First effort to rebuild our capacities in every strategically significant sector.
We are vulnerable not just because communist China effectively dominates the markets in medicine and telecommunications technology, but because of the approximately 300 gaps in our defense-industrial base, many of which China fills. If there were ever a wake-up call for the entire world of the dire consequence of partnering with the CCP in any strategically significant area, not least 5G, the Wuhan virus pandemic should be it.