December 7, 2018

Meng Wanzhou Arrested

We're officially on Insta! Did I throw on a blazer at 5 am for all you lovely people? You bet I did!

On Wednesday, it was revealed that Meng Wanzhou, “the daughter of Huawei’s founder [and] a top executive at the Chinese technology giant, was arrested in Canada and faces extradition to the United States...

“Meng, one of the vice chairs on the company’s board and the daughter of company founder Ren Zhengfei, was arrested on Dec. 1 at the request of U.S. authorities and a court hearing has been set for Friday, a Canadian Justice Department spokesman said. Trump and [Chinese President] Xi had dined in Buenos Aires on Dec. 1 at the G20 summit.”


See past issues

From the Left

The left questions the timing of the arrest and worries that it will make it harder to resolve the ongoing trade dispute with China.

“Meng is the daughter of the founder of Huawei, a national champion at the forefront of Xi’s efforts for China to be self-sufficient in strategic technologies. While the U.S. routinely asks allies to extradite drug lords, arms dealers and other criminals, arresting a major Chinese executive like this is rare — if not unprecedented... China is almost certain to view Meng’s arrest as a major escalation in the trade war that will foment fears of a wider Cold War between the world’s biggest economies.”


“Huawei is China's flagship tech company, and this is not exactly the kind of thing you do if you're trying to calm tensions with China... There are other ways to do something about alleged Huawei misdeeds than throwing the founder's daughter in the hoosegow.”


“What do we want out of this?... Before Huawei, smaller Chinese telecom-equipment maker ZTE Corp. was caught breaching U.S. sanctions... [The] ham-fisted approach to punishing, forgiving, and then re-punishing ZTE must not be repeated if the U.S. wants to be taken seriously… [instead of fining Huawei] the U.S. should move forward with plans to set up stricter protocols on what it will allow China to buy...

“In addition, to be truly effective, such regulations need the support of allies. And that will require Trump to spend more time being friendly to the U.S.’s friends and less time being friendly to its enemies. It would also require the U.S. to recognize that not every problem can be solved with a sledgehammer.”


Minority view: “The president has given U.S. law enforcement agencies explicit instructions to do what they’ve long wanted: to crack down on Chinese espionage and economic aggression...

“The long-term solution is to decouple our economy from certain Chinese industries such as telecom and digital infrastructure. The U.S.-China economic confrontation is going to get worse before it gets better — something the markets are beginning to realize. Critics will paint this coming escalation as anti-business or anti-China, but it’s actually about defending America.”

Washington Post

Trump's “goal, it seems, is to put so much pressure on Tehran that it has no choice but to completely change its behavior — but he could end up leading the countries to the brink of war in the process… Now is typically the time when cooler heads prevail, but it’s unclear if there are cooler heads around… It’s hard to overstate how avoidable this situation was.”
Alex Ward, Vox

“In theory, there’s no reason why a bad businessman can’t go on to become a good president. But a commander-in-chief whose signature legislative achievement expanded tax loopholes that he himself describes as grossly unfair is pretty much a bad president, by definition.”
Eric Levitz, New York Magazine

From the Right

The right supports the arrest in response to China’s bad behavior.

From the Right

The right supports the arrest in response to China’s bad behavior.

“The arrest is best understood as an attempt to get Beijing to stop abusing global trade norms... concerns go back at least to 2012 when the House Intelligence Committee warned that Huawei and its smaller competitor ZTE were violating U.S. laws and could be used for spying and theft... China has to see there is a price for violating norms in pursuit of economic and security dominance. Play by the rules, and everyone can prosper.”

Wall Street Journal

The U.S. government is sending a clear signal to Beijing that it will no longer tolerate China's global economic misconduct... Huawei would lack their economic power without the support of China's industrial-scale intellectual property theft… [and] Huawei serves Xi's economic strategy of market domination and competitor displacement, and operates as a front for espionage.”

Washington Examiner

“Just as talks between Donald Trump and Xi Jinping signaled a cooling of a trade war between the US and China, the arrest of Meng Wanzhou in a Vancouver airport might signal a new round of hardball...

“[The arrest] puts China in a bind... Beijing likely cannot abide a public trial of Meng and by extension Huawei for sanctions violations. Xi and his negotiators will demand her release and expulsion from the US. However, if federal prosecutors have a good case to bring to trial, China’s going to have to make significant and lasting concessions to get her out of jailif they make Meng an issue in the talks.”

Hot Air

“The fact that Ms. Meng basically said the US could f*** right off in regards to sanctions on Iran probably drew the target on her... I’m guessing the ‘risk of temporary non-compliance’ she was talking about didn’t include a personal prison term...

“[Another aspect to consider] is the message sent to European executives who might be thinking that EU resistance to US sanctions on Iran is a good business strategy. If the US will arrest the number two person in the most high-profile Chinese corporation on sanctions violations, then that Volkswagen executive is going to have second thoughts about doing business with Iran.”


Some argue, “It stands to reason that if Kim is willing to starve his own people, deprive his economy of any growth, and pour billions of dollars into missile tech, he will, at some point, develop weapons America and its allies mastered decades ago. And short of an invasion or a diplomatic agreement, under the present circumstances, there is very little we can do to stop him… Taking a hardline approach—what many call the ‘big deal’—or only granting sanctions relief after full denuclearization and the end of Kim’s missile programs is completely impractical and something North Korea would never agree to… only a step-by-step process of disarming Pyongyang, where each side gets a benefit for making a concession, will work.”
Harry J. Kazianis, The American Conservative

Others posit that “the reason Kim is developing missiles that can strike Seattle or LA is that 28,000 U.S. troops are in South Korea… If we cannot persuade Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons in return for a lifting of sanctions, perhaps we should pull U.S. forces off the peninsula and let China deal with the possible acquisition of their own nuclear weapons by Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan…

“After an exhausting two weeks [between North Korea, Iran, Venezuela, and others], one is tempted to ask: How many quarrels, clashes and conflicts can even a superpower manage at one time? And is it not the time for the United States, preoccupied with so many crises, to begin asking, ‘Why is this our problem?’”
Pat Buchanan, Townhall

Counterpoint: “after the War of 1812, President Madison… enacted the Tariff of 1816 to price British textiles out of competition, so Americans would build the new factories and capture the booming U.S. market. It worked. Tariffs [also] financed Mr. Lincoln’s War. The Tariff of 1890 bears the name of Ohio Congressman and future President William McKinley, who said that a foreign manufacturer ‘has no right or claim to equality with our own… He pays no taxes. He performs no civil duties’… [A tariff’s] purpose is not just to raise revenue but to make a nation economically independent of others, and to bring its citizens to rely upon each other rather than foreign entities.”
Patrick J. Buchanan, The American Conservative

A libertarian's take

“The scoop reflects poorly on Trump, who willfully misled the public for a decade in hopes of fraudulently representing himself as a man with a Midas touch. But he could not have succeeded without the assistance of many Americans, some mercenary, others over-credulous, who helped to spread the deceit and deception, generating countless newspaper articles, magazine stories, and TV segments that misinformed the public about the publicity hound’s record in business. New evidence of his staggering losses in that decade therefore provides an apt occasion to reflect on the media’s complicity in Trump’s brazen deceit and deception… Let [this] be a lesson for today’s tabloids, gossip columnists, over-credulous or mercenary journalists, and reality-television producers.”
Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic

On the bright side...

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