Thursday, May 23rd, 2019
It is not entirely the wisest decision to infuriate and disappoint the people you are looking to have ties with. The conservative government of Theresa May has done precisely that following their public divisions with Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei. It is definitely not a good look for Britain ahead of its post-Brexit plans.
Gavin Williamson, the defense secretary, who was fired on Wednesday night, denies the accusations by the government that he leaked critical information. The information entails an informal decision for Huawei to build ‘non-core’ parts of UK’s mobile 5G network which appeared in the Daily Telegraph
Williamson’s ordeal must have pleased Russia after the former cabinet official told them to “go away and shut up” following poisonings concerning a Russian spy and his daughter.
China too must have been pleased since the official’s announcement that UK will send its aircraft carrier(which will not be ready till 2021) and a squadron of F-35 jet fighters to the disputed area of the South China Sea as a show of Britain’s power which angered the Chinese. The Chinese retaliated by canceling plans to host the Philip Hammond, chancellor of the Exchequer.
Also, Britain’s relationship with the U.S has been most affected by the information that Williamson disclosed.
Companies are entitled to collaborate in issues regarding intelligence as by Chinese laws. However, the US says that this poses a security risk if they are to work with Huawei.
The U.K is pushing to prevent a ban saying that their Cybersecurity evaluation center set up in 2010 to evaluate Huawei’s equipment is adequately equipped to deal with any attacks that might emerge.
That claim is looking erroneous since in 2018, identified technical issues in the engineering processes of the tech giant might lead to new threats in the U.K’s telecommunications sector. Experts have also warned that there is no clear cut in the distinction between core(servers and hubs) with non-core (antennas) infrastructure.
Bloomberg also reported that Vodafone had identified back-doors hidden in Huawei’s equipment in 2011 and 2012, which the company denied fixing. This only reinforces the need for extreme caution.
Britain’s decision on Huawei could put the Five Eyes intelligence alliance comprised of Canada, Britain, New Zealand, and Australia in jeopardy.
The Huawei issue has exposed a famous slogan “Global Britain” coined in 2016 campaign that led to a vote to exit the European Union spearheaded by Theresa’s government. It was intended to express Britain’s self-confidence in relying on itself but has however led to the symbolism of the conflicting views towards the definition of Brexit itself.
Some observers see the concept of Global Britain as euro-skepticism. Whereas others like an assistant professor in British politics at Nottingham University, Oliver Daddow, says that it refers to a defensive narrative that only shows what Britain is not (an EU member) and does little in explaining the positive impact of Britain’s new role in the world
The bottom line
Global Britain promises that the UK will strike trade deals on its own with no evidence pointing that this will replace EU in trade deals. However, if Britain remains on the EU’s customs union, as a way to get a Brexit deal through parliament, then an independent trade policy will be next to impossible.