We should not rejoice at Donald Trump's attack on Huawei. If Europe does not want to one day be the victim of the same diktat by Washington, it must unite its forces in research and diplomacy.
The United States used to be the world's policeman. Then it became its referee. And that must disturb the French as Europeans, causing them to react.
While America protected the Western democracies against the communist threat after World War II, Europe had no cause for complaint. In defending its interests, the U.S. also defended those of the Old Continent, with which it shared values and concerns. But now the world has gone from an ideological cold war to a technological one, and a widening gap has appeared between the two sides of the Atlantic.
Donald Trump's America is not seeking to defend the West or the rest of the world; it is only concerned with its own interests. The American cop used to defend itself, of course, but not only that. The American referee was not at all impartial: It decided in favor of its team by unilaterally establishing rules that the rest of the planet had to obey without the slightest recourse or ability to verify whether the Americans were abiding by the same rules they imposed on others.
The European banks, which have, for example, already had to pay billions of dollars in fines to the Yankee taxman for having infringed on Washington's embargo on Iran, complained before about American justice's extraterritoriality. Last year it was the supplier ZTE, this year it is Huawei’s turn to be the victim of a presidential decree signed by the White House as Huawei now stands accused of cyber espionage. By depriving the 5G leader of the tiniest components "made in the USA," this decree can surely weaken Huawei, but the high costs will also damage companies that rely on it to supply their future networks.
For Europeans, America's coercion of China must serve as a warning. To be sure, Europe can congratulate itself on seeing the U.S. weaken a competitor of Nokia and Ericsson. However, our victory risks being short-lived. The truth is that we are now living in an ultratechnological world, in which very soon nothing will be able to work without certain components or software. This is to say that no one can tell whether the U.S., after sanctioning China, would not also strike European businesses. With our sovereignty at stake, we cannot bet that even a post-Trump America would make a totally reliable ally. To regain control of our technological destiny and be self-reliant in the face of coercion, we have no choice but to pool our resources and unite. The upcoming European elections must become the realization of this vision.