Australian caught in the middle as the US and China play hardball

Australian caught in the middle as the US and China play hardball, by Alan Kohler.

The American and Australian Huawei bans are very, very different.

Ours was tentative, almost apologetic, not even announced; the US action against Huawei was announced in crushingly specific detail this month and will probably drive Huawei out of business.

But there is much more to the American attack on China that it launched two weeks ago than the ban on Huawei and it is going to give Australia and all US allies that deal with China a very big headache. It’s as if our parents are getting divorced: who gets custody?

Unless all of America’s May 15 actions are withdrawn as part of a trade deal, the US has made a kind of declaration of cold war against China. …

President Trump declared a “national emergency” over technology and communications security, citing “threats … by foreign adversaries …” and issued a wide-ranging executive order that potentially isolates China and throws the global technology supply chain into chaos. …

It almost guarantees Huawei’s demise, since it relies on US components and software …

It takes what had been trade war to a whole new level of conflict and puts not only American companies on notice, but any American ally dealing with China.

What’s more, this is a bipartisan matter in Washington: a day after the executive order was issued, the US House of Representatives Intelligence Committee, dominated by Democrats, announced a “deep dive” focus on China, following a hearing that looked at China’s use of technology for “surveillance, influence and political control” both domestically and internationally. …

The Canberra foreign policy brains trust probably thought the difficulty with our trading partnership with China and alliance with the US would come about because of the South China Sea, or perhaps Taiwan, but those things have been trumped, as it were, by the technology Cold War.

As mentioned several times on the WR, China has been ripping off the West for decades on intellectual property. Finally, someone — Trump — his doing something about it. A real leader.

China, meanwhile, will be hoping that a return to left leadership and its corrupt ways in the US will allow them to continue their cheating ways: