“Chancellor Angela Merkel can’t seem to make up her mind. For months, her administration, the Germany Parliament, and outside experts have been debating whether to rely on high-risk vendors for the construction of the country’s 5G telecommunications networks. Unfortunately, this important debate keeps getting sidetracked. Because the Trump administration is using another one of its ill-conceived “maximum pressure” campaigns to persuade Germany to ban Huawei, this debate has morphed into a black and white choice between the United States and China. Which country do Germans trust more? Which relationship do Germans value more? With roughly three in four Germans stating that they don’t have confidence in Donald Trump, it doesn’t feel like the U.S. side is positioned to win. But that’s not the point, or it shouldn’t be. Germany’s 5G debate ought not be framed as a referendum on Donald Trump.
“At its core, this is a debate about German values and German security as Chancellor Merkel decides whether she wants to continue relying on a Chinese telecom company that China could use for espionage or coercive purposes. The great irony here is that while the Trump administration clearly has strong views on the matter, the United States isn’t promoting an alternative vendor. It doesn’t have one…”