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Tuesday, 21 May 2019 11:37

US companies obey their govt – as Huawei was accused of doing!

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US companies obey their govt – as Huawei was accused of doing! Image by Wendy Corniquet from Pixabay

It seems to be just a few short days or weeks ago that the United States was warning any country which would pay heed that it was best to avoid using equipment from Chinese telecommunications vendors because they would follow orders given by the Beijing government.

Well, bless me, that seems to be the case in the US too, judging from the way companies like Google and Qualcomm are falling over themselves to follow the orders issued by the Federal Government about banning Huawei from buying American products.

So, pray, wherein lies the difference? Or is this just the latest instalment of that attribute that begins with an "h" coming to us straight from Washington?

In fact, in the case of the US it seems to be much worse because companies that are not based in the US are also nervously examining their wares in order to ensure that they conform with the latest diktats from Uncle Sam.

Domestic US laws are imposed on other countries because might is apparently right; Washington controls the default currency for world trade and also the three biggest credit card companies – Visa, Mastercard and American Express. So others, no matter what their defence, have to bow to a country that claims it sticks to democratic practices.

And all this is passed off as being necessary due to national security! Pull the other one, please.

The US appears to have blinked first in the tug-of-war with China, trying its hardest to extract a trade deal that will enable the orange-haired man in the White House to trumpet to his base that he has kept his promise to them and got the best deal possible with the country he keeps calling "Jina".

One must bear in mind that Donald Trump, the individual referred to earlier, believes that when tariffs are levied by the US, they are paid by "Jina". This is the man who is dictating the mood in stock markets around the world. American exceptionalism, for sure.

At the back of the minds of many world figures there lurks a horror scenario, one which the American journalist Seymour Hersh once referred to as the Samson Option. (He wrote a book about Israel's nuclear weapons with this title).

And that ends with one side pulling the other down, and crushing everything to dust. Theoretically, that is a possibility given that China holds more than a trillion dollars of US bonds. Unloading even a small fraction of that would make the global financial crisis look like a Sunday picnic.

One must hope that when Trump encounter his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, at the G20 summit at the end of June, they manage to sort this issue out. Else, what could eventuate is too horrible to even contemplate.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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