by WorldTribune Staff, February 16, 2020
A rift that has opened between Europe and the United States over Europe’s use of China’s Huawei for 5G technology has led to concerns over the stability of the NATO alliance, reports say.
Those reports are “grossly over-exaggerated,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in remarks on Saturday at the Munich Security Conference.
“Over the past few years, I’ve seen, we’ve all seen, democratic leaders questioning America’s commitment to the transatlantic alliance and America’s leadership in the world,” Pompeo said.
Pompeo then cited quotes from Western leaders:
“The first was from the middle of 2017: Quote, ‘The fact that our friend and ally has come to question the very worth of its mantle of global leadership, puts into sharper focus the need for the rest of us to set our own clear and sovereign course.’ End of quote.”
“The second one is from about a year ago. It said, quote: ‘The multilateral order is experiencing its perhaps gravest crisis since the emergence – its emergence after the Second World War.’ End of quote.”
“The final one was from just yesterday. A quote suggested, quote, that the United States ‘rejects the international community.’ End of quote.”
Pompeo continued: “I’m here this morning to tell you the facts. Those statements simply do not affect in any significant way or reflect reality. I am happy to report that the death of the transatlantic alliance is grossly over-exaggerated. The West is winning. We are collectively winning. We’re doing it together.”
Pompeo’s remarks came as European leaders at the conference where expressing their uneasiness about the state of NATO.
Opening the conference, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier accused the Trump administration of rejecting “the very concept” of an international community. “Every country, it believes, should look after itself and put its own interests before all others,” he said.
French President Emmanuel Macron, who has said that NATO is undergoing “brain death,” said Saturday that Europe needs to build up its own capacity as a strategic power.
Reports say that China has threatened retaliation on European companies if they follow U.S. President Donald Trump’s lead in banning Huawei. The European Union has stopped short of an outright ban on Huawei in its guidelines for 5G communication technology, while post-Brexit Great Britain opted to use Huawei.
Related: New DOJ indictment charges Huawei helped Iran spy on protesters, February 16, 2020
“Republicans and Democrats agree on this,” said Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, a close ally of Trump. “If you go down the Huawei road you are going to burn a lot of bridges.”
“We have a tech Cold War right now that’s on display right here and Europe wants no part in it,” said Ian Bremmer, president and founder of political risk consultancy Eurasia Group. “There’s never been such a rift with how Americans and Europeans define the security threat as right now.”
Pompeo said on Saturday: “When Huawei executives show up at your door, they say you’ll lose out if you don’t buy in. Don’t believe the hype.”
To those who believe the reports that the rift over Huawei is damaging NATO, Pompeo said:
“Consider, too, what we’ve done alongside each of you, what we’ve done to support NATO in particular. The United States has urged NATO on to $400 billion in new pledges. We did this because our nations are safer when we work together and when we field the strongest forces and capabilities.
“The United States has, too – with our Allies – undertaken the most significant reinforcement of NATO’s eastern flank since the Cold War.
“The United States has restored credibility to arms control when we withdrew from the INF Treaty – with unanimous NATO support – after Russia repeatedly violated its terms.
“These are just a few signature efforts of American leadership with our partners. We always work to bring allies and partners on board with everything that it is that we do.
“We’re leading, for example, Defender Europe 20, an exercise alongside NATO Allies – the largest deployment of U.S.-based forces to Europe in more than 25 years.”