FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Trade for Hostages? Trump’s New Approach to China

Beijing.

There are times it is obvious the world has changed. Dallas 1963, the fall of the Berlin Wall, Brexit. There are times when it is not immediately obvious. Archduke Franz Ferdindand’s driver taking a wrong turn in Sarajevo in June 1914. It is the consequences that make us realize how important the initial moment was. One such moment was last week. It was not the arrest, on a US request in Canada over alleged breaches of Iranian sanctions, of the Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou that was so significant. Nor her bail. What changed the world was the admission by the US president that she was a hostage to fortune. Trump achieved something incredible, judicial equivalency with China.

China retaliated by arresting two Canadians, not confirming exactly why except using the catch-all phrase involving “national security’’.

US President Donald Trump said that he could use his power as president to intervene in the case of Meng. Intervention, he added, might help serve the interest of US national security or enhance the prospects of a trade deal with China.

“If I think it’s good for the country, if I think it’s good for what will be certainly the largest trade deal ever made – which is a very important thing – what’s good for national security, I would certainly intervene if I thought it was necessary,” he said. Presidential interference has sent the wrong message though one they would understand in China; subordinating due process.

Beijing saw Meng’s arrest as a flagrant abuse of such a process. Detaining an individual to be used as a pawn on trade deals leaves the world a more dangerous and unpredictable place. The art of the deal? What deal worth its salt could emerge by holding someone hostage as a trade negotiation ploy.

Meng’s seizure, and the retaliatory arrest of Canadians in China, has everything to do with US-China economic rivalry and precious little to do with international law. Trump’s intervention – rebuked by the US justice department – cast an unfavorable light on the US legal system and made it look no more just than Beijing’s. The Justice Department’s top national security official last week insisted his prosecutors will not be influenced by what the White House does. “We are not a tool of trade when we bring the cases,” Assistant Attorney General John Demers told a Senate panel.

“What we do at the Justice Department is law enforcement. We don’t do trade,” he added. But a trade-off is exactly how it looks in Beijing.

Both sides appear guilty of what amounts, in effect, to hostage-taking. Breaching Iran sanctions, imposed by the US, is what Meng is being held for but the background is pertinent. Huawei is the world’s largest supplier of telecommunications network equipment and second-biggest maker of smartphones. It is considered an agent of the Chinese state. But is the US blameless in this regard? “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists, and will persist.” So warned Eisenhower just before leaving the White House in January, 1961.

Hostage taking seems to be an intricate part in the art of the deal.

The archduke’s car has just taken a wrong turn. We await the consequences.

More articles by:

Tom Clifford is a freelance journalist and can be reached at: cliffordtomsan@hotmail.com.

July 07, 2020
Richard Eskow
The War on Logic: Contradictions and Absurdities in the House’s Military Spending Bill
Daniel Beaumont
Gimme Shelter: the Brief And Strange History of CHOP (AKA CHAZ)
Richard C. Gross
Trump’s War
Patrick Cockburn
Trump’s Racism May be Blatant, But the Culture He Defends Comes Out of the Civil War and Goes Well Beyond Racial Division
Andrew Stewart
Can We Compare the George Floyd Protests to the Vietnam War Protests? Maybe, But the Analogy is Imperfect
Walden Bello
The Racist Underpinnings of the American Way of War
Nyla Ali Khan
Fallacious Arguments Employed to Justify the Revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s Autonomy and Its Bifurcation
Don Fitz
A Statue of Hatuey
Dean Baker
Unemployment Benefits Should Depend on the Pandemic
Ramzy Baroud – Romana Rubeo
Will the ICC Investigation Bring Justice for Palestine?
Sam Pizzigati
Social Distancing for Mega-Million Fun and Profit
Dave Lindorff
Private: Why the High Dudgeon over Alleged Russian Bounties for Taliban Slaying of US Troops
George Wuerthner
Of Fire and Fish
Binoy Kampmark
Killing Koalas: the Promise of Extinction Down Under
Parth M.N.
Back to School in Rural India: Digital Divide to Digital Partition
Ed Sanders
The Burning of Newgate Prison: a Glyph
July 06, 2020
Melvin Goodman
Foreign Election Interference: Who is to Blame?
JoAnn Wypijewski
On Disposability and Rebellion: Insights From a Rank-and-File Insurgency
Marshall Auerback – Jan Frel
There’s a Hidden Economic Trendline That is Shattering the Global Trade System
Evaggelos Vallianatos
A Just and Talented Government for Our Hazardous Age
Manuel García, Jr.
Biosphere Warming in Numbers
Ron Jacobs
Kidnapping Kids: As American as the Fourth of July
Tasha Jones
Pyramids. Plantations. Projects. Penitentiaries
Binoy Kampmark
Criminalising Journalism: Australia’s National Security Craze
Eve Ottenberg
Re-Organizing Labor
Mike Garrity
How We Stopped Trump From Trashing a Critical Montana Roadless Area in Grizzly Habitat
Nino Pagliccia
The Meaning of the 1811 Independence for Today’s Venezuela
Michael Galant
We Need a Global Green New Deal
Jill Richardson
Learning Not to Look Away
Marshall Sahlins
Donald Trump at 130,000 and Rising
Weekend Edition
July 03, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Peter Linebaugh
Police and the Wealth of Nations: Déjà Vu or Unfinished Business?
Rob Urie
Class, Race and Power
John Davis
A Requiem for George Floyd
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Mutiny of the Bounties!
Richard D. Wolff
Revolutionary Possibilities: Could U.S. Capitalism Turn Nationalist?
Richard Falk
When Rogue States Sanction the International Criminal Court
Louis Proyect
Smearing Black Lives Matter…From the Left
Ralph Nader
Trump and Pence – Step Aside for Professional Pandemic Scientists and Managers
Ramzy Baroud
Tearing Down the Idols of Colonialism: Why Tunisia, Africa Must Demand French Apology
Philippe Marlière
Challenging the French Republic’s Color-Blindness
Richard C. Gross
Attack, Deny
Lee Camp
Connecting the Dates – US Media Used To Stop The ‘Threat’ of Peace
Steve Martinot
The Desire to Kill
David Yearsley
The War on Kitsch
Amy Eva Alberts Warren – Rev. William Alberts
Why are Certain Christians Democratic and Others Authoritarian?
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail