On Geopolitics

By Mixing Tech and Human Rights Sanctions on China, the White House Crosses the Rubicon

Reva Goujon
VP of Global Analysis, Stratfor
Nov 1, 2019 | 09:30 GMT
The national flags of China and the United States.

The national flags of China and the United States.

(LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP via Getty Images)

Conspicuously absent from an emerging China-U.S. trade truce is the outstanding issue of U.S. export restrictions against Huawei. The omission reveals an uncomfortable and growing reality for U.S. tech firms: Politically convenient trade truces will come and go, but the strategic competition between the United States and China is deepening. Technology is a fundamental component of this broader rivalry, which also makes it a radioactive element in the trade talks and a prime target for China hawks advocating a decoupling of the U.S. and Chinese economies. At this stage of the competition, national security, human rights and sovereignty are getting mashed together along with American public attitudes on how to contend with China when it comes to shaping U.S. policy. As a result, the political room to negotiate on an issue like Huawei is narrowing by the day, driving a more hard-line U.S. policy toward China overall....

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