Corporate Socialism? Bill Barr's Suggestion That the U.S. Should Buy Nokia or Ericsson To Counter China Is a Terrible Idea

Sounds like desperation to me.

Sounded to me more like he was raising a strategic issue. Though we don’t buy their shares, we do effectively own most defense contractors through contracts and thus assure our supply base. The issue is a legitimate national security concern.

“Putting our large market and financial muscle behind one or both of these firms would make it a more formidable competitor and eliminate concerns over its staying power,” Barr said. “We and our closest allies certainly need to be actively considering this approach.”


How is it more of a concern than our current 4G systems, such as AT&T (which lies a lot), T-Mobile, Sprint, etc.?

5G: A Tech Revolution With National Security Implications

Thing to remember is that there has always been back doors in the network gear that Cisco, Huawei and other network hardware firms supply to the telecoms and the cable companies in the US. The manufacturers have been required for at least a decade now to allow for law enforcement access; Snowden’s revelations showed us just how far that goes.

Ordinarily, while the ISP has at least the nominal access required to route and regulate its own traffic, no one but law enforcement is supposed to have that kind of access to the data traveling within those routers. Not even the manufacturers. That includes Cisco et al. So when a router needs repair, the technician from the manufacturer will perform the repair under the supervision of the ISP. Cisco is not supposed to be able to access their routers once they’re deployed in the field.

The accusation being leveled at Huawei is that they’ve left themselves their own back door that persists and remains accessible to them when their routers are deployed. Tie that to the very close ties between Huawei and its benefactors in the PLA and the CCP, and this looks very highly suspicious. Not to mention the subsidies Huawei receives from the Chinese government that helps it undercut its competition. According to someone I know in the internet infrastructure industry, those discounts are so sizable they won’t be overcome without support from our own government. This is why many of the smaller ISPs around the country and in Europe have bought their networking gear from them.

The form that support takes is the debate around the merits of this article. I think actually buying companies like Ericsson and Nokia is a bad idea as the funds would first go into their investors’ pockets before they get invested in the r&d required to catch up to Huawei. It would be better if the federal government instead funded a research center with help from the major manufacturers and ISPs. But they would have to be careful not to let Huawei steal their research, as they stole so much of Cisco’s early technology that their initial routers were nearly identical to Cisco’s products.


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