December 7, 2018

Meng Wanzhou Arrested

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.”

Reuters

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.”

Time

“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.”

Bloomberg

“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.”

Bloomberg

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

The political calendar and Trump's approach could give grounds for optimism. Kim, who has presided over a limited form of economic development inside North Korea, is under pressure to deliver improvements in the lives of his people… So he has an incentive to try to seek economic benefits or aid from the United States and wants punishing economic sanctions lifted — a potential opening for US negotiators… Kim must realize that his chances of basking in this kind of legitimacy with a US President other than Trump are slim. So if he fears Trump could lose in 2020, he may reason the time may be ripe for a deal. And Trump wants nothing more than a big diplomatic breakthrough months before the election.”
Stephen Collinson, CNN

Regarding the Cadillac tax, “high-premium employer-based plans raise the cost of health care for everyone by encouraging the overconsumption of expensive services. This means that even Medicare and Medicaid face higher prices. Quite aside from its benefits for the health-care market, the Cadillac tax would also have the effect of expanding the tax base and making the tax code more efficient. It would raise revenues by about $15 billion a year… Rather than killing or delaying the Cadillac tax, Democrats should be trying to make it operational. The tax would raise revenue, lower costs, increase the efficiency of the tax code and give the Obamacare individual market its best chance at success.”
Karl W. Smith, Bloomberg

“The two issues with which he is most often associated, support for a balanced budget and opposition to free trade, put him at odds with both of our major political parties. An old-fashioned, soft-spoken Southerner, he nevertheless held views on so-called ‘social issues’ that would be to the left of the mainstream of the Republican Party, both then and now. He was a fervent supporter of the Vietnam POW/MIA movement in the late '80s and early '90s, but he was not in any sense a hawk. Never mind 2003. Perot opposed the first war in Iraq in 1990… Perot's death should be mourned by all Americans who regret the fact that it is no longer possible to make reasoned, non-ideological arguments about questions of public import, and by the devolution of our political life into mindless partisan squabbling.”
Matthew Walther, The Week

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.”

RedState

“Not only did [Trump] attack the ‘squad,’ he managed to do it in a way in which no other prominent Democrat can continue to criticize them publicly, lest they be perceived as echoing the president’s contention that they should go back where they came from. At the exact moment the accusations and counter-accusations were set to do lasting damage, Trump just had to jump in and give them an attack that would unify them all. It often seems like Trump would rather have a bad news cycle that focuses on him than a beneficial news cycle that focuses on someone else… Everyone around the president can read a poll and knows that his rage-tweeting is a liability; it is perhaps the biggest liability in a presidency that, with prosperity and a perception of peace, ought to be comfortably cruising to reelection.”
Jim Geraghty, National Review

“If Joe Biden can win his way through the primaries, he’s almost lab-engineered to beat Trump. He doesn’t cause Republican panic, he has the potential to connect with white working-class voters in a way that Hillary couldn’t in 2016, and he has a potential to connect better with black voters than Hillary did… if Biden emerges from [this] crucible, Trump will face a very different challenge than he faced in 2016.”
David French, National Review

“NBC and MSNBC embraced Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts in the first debate of Democratic presidential candidates Wednesday night, treating her like the star of the show. The debate led off with Warren, who had a huge popularity advantage from the start… NBC anchor Savannah Guthrie started it off sounding more like Warren’s press secretary. ‘You have many plans – free college, free child care, government health care, cancelation of student debt, new taxes, new regulations, the breakup of major corporations,’ Guthrie said, before teeing up an economy question. Guthrie even used Warren’s plan to break up tech companies as the foundation for a question for Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey… the round-robin final comments also ended with Warren, as Maddow asked her for the ‘final, final statement.’ That let NBC bookend the entire debate with Warren and Warren.”
Dan Gainor, Fox News

President Trump should be happy. As much as Warren is articulate, obviously intelligent, and energetically supported by Democrats, she would also be far easier to defeat than Joe Biden… Considering Trump's economy, the president is well placed to defeat Warren.”
Tom Rogan, Washington Examiner

A libertarian's take

“The fans who avidly followed the men’s tournament certainly weren’t doing anything wrong. And it’s hard to argue that each of them had a moral obligation to be exactly as interested in women’s soccer. Even if we could stop them from watching the men more than the women, should we?…

“It’s tempting to answer that the fan choices aren’t innocent, they’re sexist. But since we can’t peek into their hearts, to say that definitively, we’d have to assume that men’s greater speed, strength and endurance definitely make nodifference to the sport’s quality. Fair enough, but then why do fans prefer to watch Megan Rapinoe play instead of the sedentary elderly who could presumably use some exercise? Alternatively, maybe pay should be equalized precisely because biology is unfair. But that seems to be an argument for curbing the pay of all top-level athletes, who have to hit the genetic lottery just to get on the field. It might be easier to focus on the distributions across society at large, rather than every individual industry, especially when fundamental biology is in play.”
Megan McArdle, Washington Post

On the bright side...

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