But threatening a trade war and then backing down is probably not the greatest negotiating move when dealing with Beijing. As Tufts University professor Dan Drezner wrote for The Post, doing so makes it look like Trump “blinked” in the face of President Xi Jinping’s reserve. But the ZTE decision could also cause problems for a far broader swath of U.S. foreign policy.
For one, the concerns about ZTE in the United States go beyond the simple trade concerns Trump referenced. On Tuesday, a top U.S. counterintelligence official told the Senate Intelligence Committee that the Chinese firm was thought to be a vehicle for Chinese government espionage. The Pentagon has even banned the sale of ZTE phones in stores on military bases, deeming them a security risk…
Even on the merits of the trade argument alone, Trump’s decision seems glib. The original case against ZTE was logical and widely supported; launched under the Obama administration, it was nevertheless pushed along by future Trump administration officials such as then-Reps. Mike Pompeo and Ryan Zinke.
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