ZTE, a Chinese manufacturer of exceptionally mediocre phones, was recently on the receiving end of a multi-agency smack-down from the US government for years of lying, cheating, and spying. But that didn’t stop Trump from intervening on their behalf! He wants so badly to save somebody’s jobs that he’ll even do it for China. Like a desperate jobs-saving junkie just trying to get a fix anywhere they can.
ZTE, which makes cheap Android phones that your Grandma likes, has been on the bad side of the US government for a while. In February, U.S. intelligence agencies warned that phones made by Chinese companies like ZTE and Huawei are probably spying on their users.
Because telecom companies have a uniquely sensitive position in the world, having silent access to all of your data if they so choose, the intelligence community has been pretty up-tight about security restrictions. And Chinese-owned firms have long run afoul of these concerns. The government fears there might be a small Chinese lady in your phone listening to your calls, essentially. A very small lady. And they’re probably not wrong, either! They’ve had a track record proving that they simply cannot be trusted.
The most recent kerfuffle comes at the hands of the Commerce Department.In April, the Commerce Department slapped them with a fine for lying about punishing employees that violated US sanctions against Iran and North Korea. In fact, the company paid them full bonuses, and probably made them a cake that said “We don’t care about the rules!”
As a result of this fiasco, the Commerce Department also leveled a seven-year ban against US companies selling parts of the phone maker. Naturally, US suppliers like Qualcomm and Corning were a little pissed. But hey, ya break the rules, ya chance getting slapped. Unless you know a guy. And it turns out, boy, does the Chinese government ever know a guy.
Trump didn’t seem to care about the effect of the Commerce Department’s decision on American industry. At least, not until his pals in China decided to get him on the horn and say he was a real powerful guy. I’m sure they buttered him up like a god damned Christmas turkey.
Then, suddenly, Trump is tweeting about an issue he’s previously expressed zero interest in and promising to solve the problem. A problem, by the way, that only exists for the Chinese government. You think that the United States market cares if they can’t buy one particular brand of shitty Chinese product? If your phone isn’t made by Apple or Samsung, do you even know who made it without looking? Would you care if that changed?
So Trump intervened to help a company run by foreign nationals that might be selling state secrets. Stellar.
At least Trump cares about solving someone’s problems. Too bad that Americans can’t make his ego grow three sizes in one day. It appears that only the praises of vaguely hostile foreign governments can get Trump’s pants tight, unfortunately.