Munich security conference: propaganda battle over Huawei technology

The politically controversial USA agree on one point across all camps: Huawei must be kept out of Europe's 5G networks. Defense Minister Mark Esper also admitted to the Munich Security Conference that there is still no alternative to offer. The representative of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi had warned on the first day of the conference against a "sinification" of the network. Behind the closed door, conservative US think tanks like the Heritage Foundation are campaigning for Europe to march with the United States into the 'cold technology war'.

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The 5G and Huawei theme has become one of the main secret themes the Munich Security Conference developed. Both high-ranking speakers in the main program from Foreign Minister Mike Pompeo to Esper to Pelosi shoot sharply against China and, in their view, the telecommunications equipment supplier that is too closely connected with the Chinese government.

The official Esper was even more conciliatory than the democrat Pelosi when asked by conference participants. Of course, one could not tell the partners which service providers they chose, he said when asked about the five-eye community service partner United Kingdom. The British had decided that the risk of a Chinese supplier was well manageable.

Pelosi, on the other hand, had insisted that Europe should buy practically autocratic values ​​through the use of Huawei technology. "We're talking about a conflict between democracy and autocracy, between nationalism and globalism," said Pelosi. Huawei's technology is also the result of reverse engineering and intellectual property theft, Pelosi said, criticizing Chinese threats against those who refused to use Huawei's technology. Those who want a free flow of information on the Internet, practically a free Internet, should not give in to this pressure, Pelosi's argument.

In a joint discussion at the MSC, President of the Bundestag Wolfgang Schäuble cautiously countered that diversity rather than monopoly formation would help secure freedom. It would be good for Europe not to create alternatives to Huawei, but also to Silicon Valley. A Chinese diplomat angrily asked whether western democracy was less stable than China's communist system, since there had been no system change in China despite decades of use of US technology.

Away from the big stage, several US think tanks invited to discussions about the fate of a possible Chinese dominance in network expansion. Both the American Council On Germany and the American Institute for German Contemporary Studies (AIGCS), as well as the right-wing Heritage Foundation funded by conservative US donors, invited hand-picked audiences to small groups – public access and the majority of the journalists accredited at the security conference excluded.

In essence, it is not about economic and technological decisions, Juliane Smith from the German Marshall Fund of the USA also said in a guest commentary Süddeutsche Zeitung for the opening day of the MSC. It is about "how democratic states protect their societies from the influence of authoritarian states and from blackmail that may lie far in the future," writes Smith. In view of the massive propaganda, some observers in Munich spoke of a new Cold War, this time in the field of technology.


. (tagsToTranslate) 5G (t) Huawei (t) Munich Security Conference (t) USA