Day: January 29, 2019

Background Briefing: January 29, 2019


The High Stakes Between the US and China Over Huawei

We begin with escalating tensions between the U.S. and China over the extradition of the CFO of China’s most successful company Huawei from Canada following Monday’s charges by the Justice Department against the telecomm giant for stealing trade secrets, obstructing a criminal investigation and evading economic sanctions on Iran. An authority on the Chinese electronics industry, Barry Naughton, the Chair in Chinese International Affairs and a scholar with the 21st Century China Program at U.C. San Diego, joins us to discuss the relationship between the Chinese government and Huawei and why the Chinese are essentially taking Canadian hostages to pressure Canada to not extradite Meng Wanzhou the daughter of the founder of Huawei, to the U.S. We examine the global battle underway to capture the fifth generation 5G computer and phone networks with the U.S. pressuring the U.K. and Poland against buying the cheaper Chinese next-generation telecomm infrastructure. We will assess the on-going concerns about the theft of Western intellectual property by the Chinese military and the U.S. Intelligence Community’s fears that any economic benefits of using cheaper Chinese telecomm equipment is outweighed by the security threat to NATO posed by possible built-in backdoors in Huawei’s products for China to steal data.


A Possible Peace Deal Between the US and the Taliban

Then we look into the possible peace deal between the U.S. and the Taliban following lengthy talks in Doha, Qatar which have produced an agreement in principle to a framework in which the Taliban agrees its territory will never be used by terrorists in exchange for a pullout of NATO troops. Thomas Barfield, the President of the American Institute of Afghanistan Studies and author of “Afghanistan: A Cultural and Political History”, joins us to discuss how an end to America’s longest war could leave Afghanistan with the Taliban representing rural areas in coalition with the Kabul government representing urban areas.


The US Cuts Off Maduro’s Cash Flow

Then finally, with the Trump Administration imposing sanctions on Venezuela’s national oil company effectively cutting off the Maduro government’s main source of cash, we speak with Francisco Monaldi, the fellow in Latin American Energy Policy at the Center for Energy Studies at the Baker Institute as well as a lecturer in energy economics at Rice University. He joins us to discuss the competition between Chinese and Russian debtors on the one hand and U.S. bondholders on the other, to see who ends up in control of a bankrupt country desperately in need of investment and reconstruction.