With 5G technology, the competition between superpowers moved from outer space to cyberspace. But like the U.S.-Russia Cold War, the world should, once again, embrace the U.S. over China during its technological “putsch.”
We’ve all heard about the cyber war being waged between China and the U.S. over 5G, the fifth-generation wireless technology.
Soon the so-called “Internet of Things” will interlink so many devices that faster technology and increased bandwidth capacity will be required so as not to “clog” the networks. 5G is expected to have a bandwidth up to 1,000 times greater than the current 4G, with speeds that can reach more than 10 gigabytes per second. Plus, 5G is very reliable. It will allow users to download a full-length movie in a matter of seconds, and the quality will not just be OK, but 8K. The only problems that 5G is not expected to solve are the garbled PA system in the New York City subway system, and the poor quality of cellphone calls.
On the business side, 5G is expected to generate turnovers in the order of billions (in all currencies). The infrastructure spending alone on 5G will exceed $326 billion in the U.S. by 2025. One can only imagine the added business to be generated by related devices and new applications.
So far so good about the techno-logical and business merits. What isn’t so good is the political and social outlook connected with 5G because it has attracted the interests of the superpowers. If in the ’60s the competition between Russia and the U.S. was for outer space domination, today the fight is over the control of cyberspace.
A recent article in the Wall Street Journal titled “The 5G Race: China and U.S. Battle to Control World’s Fastest Wireless Internet” summed it up well. “At stake are billions of dollars in royalties, a head start in developing new technologies and national security.”
The operative words here are “national security.” Huawei, a semi-government telecom giant (it can also be described as semi-private), has been tasked with developing and implementing China’s 5G technology with the mandate to bring 5G infrastructures to as many countries as possible, selling them on the strength of its supposedly superior technology. Naturally, China’s strategy is to first entice economically-strapped countries (like those in Africa and LATAM), then move on to politically-volatile Euro zones. The only countries resisting this “putsch” are in the English-language block.
As we can see from “Worrying About Huawei: Is China Winning the G5 Race?,” an academic paper by Princeton University professor Richard Falk, the defense for China’s 5G encroachment is based on three elements. First, that it is purely a business venture. Second, that it offers superior technology (Falk reported that U.S. companies are one or two years behind Huawei’s 5G technological capabilities). And third, that concerns over security mask business interests.
Stated Falk: “Underneath, one wonders whether this is a matter of protecting American business interests.” Perhaps, he is implying that this is not China’s goal?
To imply that the U.S. is just as inclined to spy as China is, Falk wrote: “The U.S., as the [Edward] Snowden disclosures showed, is engaged in by far the largest mega-data collection operation going on in the world, and there is no reason to think that it has abandoned such efforts to control global surveillance capabilities.”
It’s clear to all that, despite President Donald Trump’s monarchic tendencies, the U.S. is still a democracy, while China’s government is a plutocracy at best and an autocracy at worst.
The U.S. will definitely use technology to spy on enemies and allies alike, but will not use moles embedded into its 5G technology to paralyze the communications of its allies, to disrupt air traffic, or to cut off electrical power — all strategies of what experts call “fourth-generation warfare.” The same cannot be said of China.
The U.S. will certainly try to control propaganda, but it will not be as effective as China. Plus, with Huawei’s 5G in place, the U.S. will be forced to limit the sharing of intelligence, further putting allied nations at risk.
(By Dom Serafini)
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