Mon, 21 Sep 2020

Opinion: Pompeo's dirty "clean network"

(Op-ed) Xinhua
06 Aug 2020, 21:44 GMT+10

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during a press briefing in Washington D.C., the United States, on March 5, 2020. (Xinhua/Liu Jie)

NEW YORK, New York Aug. 6 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Wednesday the launch of five new lines of effort under the so-called "Clean Network" program to "protect America's critical telecommunications and technology infrastructure," going a step further in suppressing Chinese tech companies.

According to the five lines, Washington will seek to remove "untrusted" Chinese apps such as TikTok and WeChat from U.S. mobile app stores, limit the ability of Chinese cloud service providers like Alibaba, Baidu, and Tencent to access cloud-based systems in the country, and ensure undersea cables "are not subverted for intelligence gathering" by China.

The nature of this move is an actual decoupling in these areas between China and the United States, as well as those countries Pompeo has been pressuring to stand with Washington. Though he calls it a "clean network," the ideas behind it and the means he has employed to reach it are dirty.

There is not any justifiable reason for these actions. Pompeo's excuses are that Chinese companies steal U.S. technologies, collect data, and threaten U.S. national security, though he has never shown any convincing evidence whatsoever.

On the contrary, the United States has a notorious reputation for spying on the whole world, even its allies. Pompeo may have trumped up the charges against Chinese companies simply based on his own experiences, as he once boasted in a speech that "we lied, we cheated, we stole."

These actions will have serious consequences and Chinese companies will not be the only ones that suffer. Companies of other countries, including U.S. companies, will also face losses due to disrupted global supply chains and international scientific and technological cooperation.

These actions will harm the interests of consumers of tech products too. The political scrutiny and threatened expulsion or forced sale of popular video-sharing app TikTok by the U.S. government have already been met with strong objections from young people in America, and have been broadly criticized both in and out of the country.

These actions will further discredit the U.S. investment and business environment, as analysts have warned over the case of TikTok, which has been assimilated to pirate-like action.

Pompeo has boasted that more than 30 countries and territories are in his boat, committed to exclusively using "trusted vendors" in their Clean Networks. It is obvious that he is trying to knit a global network to crack down on Chinese tech companies and hamper China's development.

But his scheme is doomed to fail. These "clean countries" mentioned by Pompeo will eventually find that it is their loss to refuse Chinese technologies. And by reviewing China's development in the past decades, people can easily see that Pompeo's tricks will hardly slow China's pace of development.

The United States has long been a standard-bearer for the tenet of free market and fair play in international exchanges, but now it is crushing every bit of it with its own hands. As the world's sole superpower, the United States is bullying any country, any company or any individual seen as a potential challenge, without any respect for international rules and regulations.

Commentaries recently carried by many U.S. mainstream media have called Pompeo "the worst secretary of state" in modern times, or even ever, mainly because of his undisguised sense of supremacy and defiance of diplomatic etiquette in bilateral and international relations.

According to a recent AP-NORC poll, 80 percent of Americans say the country is headed in the wrong direction, an all-time high.

This is no surprise, since under the leadership of White House politicians like Pompeo, it is impossible for the country to head in the right direction.

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