National Security Adviser Declares Huawei the ‘Number One Concern’

Phone company a threat to democracy

On their way out the door, the Trump Administration has been imposing measures trying to solidify their diplomatic stances such that when Biden takes over he will struggle to reverse course. This has mostly involved anti-Iran measures, but increasingly also moves against the Chinese.

Trump has grievances with a lot of Chinese companies, and national security adviser Robert O’Brien has singled out Huawei Corp as the “number one concern” against democracy going into the future.

Huawei is a phone and telecom infrastructure company, competing with other companies on installing 5g around the world. The US argues that Huawei might install backdoors that would allow the Chinese government to access data.

The US would know, as they’ve used American telecom companies the same way, and hacked Huawei years ago for the purposes of spying on them. In recent years the US has demanded nations refuse to use Huawei.

Analysts are suggesting that Biden will be hostile in the same way toward China, though Trump’s hostility might be different, in that most of his China measures were to demand nations not use them and threaten China in vague ways about it.

US sanctions aren’t universal, however. The US generally bans companies from selling parts to Huawei, but only days ago gave Qualcomm permission to export chips to them for 4G phones. US policy may endure, but won’t necessarily make a lot of sense.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.