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How the US forced the UK to abandon key future technology — Analysis

According to a new report, American officials shouted at British officials in order to get them to cancel a 5G contract with China’s Huawei

UK media published an excerpt of Richard Kerbaj’s forthcoming book. It reveals how the US prevented Huawei, a Chinese telecom company, from developing 5G here. His account states that British officials tried to negotiate with Huawei for a tender, but were allegedly beaten down by US officials. 

A British intelligence official who was at this meeting identified Matthew Pottinger, a US deputy national security adviser, as the one who shouted at his British counterparts and dismissed the UK’s analysis of Huawei’s safety. Pottinger’s main point allegedly was that the UK had no idea just how evil China was. US officials were assured by UK officials that while they understand the threat posed China to their country, they are only interested in working with Huawei 5G. This was apparently too much for Washington to bear for reasons London couldn’t understand. 

However, it was all very visible what followed. The UK banned Huawei equipment in 2020, which at that time was supposedly due to concerns from the country’s National Cyber Security Centre. Many, including former Business and Industry Minister Vince Cable, speculated that this ruling was merely a pretext for transmitting orders from the Americans, but Kerbaj’s book really seals the deal on this discussion. 

This revelation is more than anything embarrassing for the UK. The UK, once a vast empire that spanned the globe and never saw the sunset, has become a puppet of American imperialism without any national sovereignty. It can’t even make decisions for itself, and the more it follows its American overlord’s wishes, the more it hurts itself in the long run. It is an awful fate for Great Britain.




But it’s also important to recognize that this is not an isolated incident. In fact, Huawei was banned by other Anglophone intelligence cooperation groups, the Five Eyes Alliance. New Zealand and Australia barred Huawei in late 2018 and Canada did so in May 2022. 

Kerbaj explains in his book, how the CIA started an intimidation campaign. “discredit” the UK’s assessment of Huawei’s technology. American intelligence reached out to its French, German, Italian, and Norwegian counterparts to express concern over the UK’s so-called “misjudgment”British intelligence officials described the situation as an “amazing” and referred to it as such. “black ops” campaign against an ally.

Though Kerbaj’s book is focused on Five Eyes, I am very interested in the extent to which the US is involved in intimidation beyond this, because similar patterns exist around the globe. For example, I recall former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit to Central Europe in August 2020, which was preceded by a joint declaration on 5G security signed between the US and the Czech Republic that May. Although it did not mention Huawei, it was clear that Pompeo and Washington had in mind Chinese telecom companies. 

Pompeo was also in Prague looking for areas that China wanted to establish a foothold. He tried unsuccessfully to pressure his Czech counterpart into signing a memorandum on nuclear power units. This would have allowed China to take over the unit and violated EU competition rules. While the inevitable outcome was later accomplished after Pompeo exited office, it still goes to show the very crude tactics employed by the US to maintain its trade war against China. 


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These intimidation tactics from Washington to boot out Chinese cooperation don’t net any benefits, especially for European countries facing a looming recession and myriad inflationary pressures. In fact, kicking Chinese companies out of 5G tenders, as is the case with the UK, means that the technology’s rollout is suspended for years. Unfairly barring competition on public tenders in general means reduced quality and a higher burden on taxpayers – all agreed to be negative things. 

Kerbaj’s book probably does not delve too deep into shouting matches from US officials outside of Five Eyes, but perhaps the Anglosphere, and the UK in particular, can stand out as notable examples to the world of exactly how not to conduct foreign affairs. 

After leaving the EU, the UK has pursued a ‘Global Britain’ strategy that, in reality, looks like a ‘Closer to America’ strategy. This strategy is clearly failing, as the Bank of England’s warnings about an impending recession and dire inflation forecasts, which are all based on a rapidly declining sociopolitical base, show. Britain follows America down the road to destruction, while Washington cannot recoup any loss incurred as a result of its anti-China policy.

Statements, opinions and views expressed in this column do not reflect those of RT.

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