Bill Gertz of the Washington Times is pouring mud all over the Bain & Co. acquisition of network equipment firm 3Com because it involves Huawei Technologies becoming a minority partner in the deal.
Huawei Technologies, according to Bill Gertz’s article is “a Chinese company with ties to Beijing’s military and past links to Saddam Hussein’s army in Iraq and the Taliban.” Much of the same could be said about a good number of US defense firms.
I’m not going to weigh into the veracity of Bill Gertz’s depiction of Huawei and its role in the acquisition — but his claim that this is a “merger” seems a stretch for me.
What does interest me though among those concerned about the vulnerability of America’s economic and technological base is why they aren’t worried about this every day. America’s overconsumption and use of Chinese financing of US debt — which in a sense is Chinese financing of America’s Iraq War and expansion of spending by the Pentagon — makes America dependent on infusions of Chinese investment into this country.
Perhaps the 3Com acquisition is something to worry about (though it’s a yawner to me) — but in the ad hoc way that America considers such investments amidst America’s systemic dependence on financing from sovereign wealth funds in China, Saudi Arabia, and elsewhere is not a strategy. When there is no broad strategic plan that looks at the long term health and sustainability of America’s technology and manufacturing sectors, then focusing on a single acquisition is irresponsible and pandering to populist, anti-internationalist sectors in the country.
When we can move to a serious discussion of how to really focus the productive chips of technology, training, manufacturing, and investment in this country — recognizing some of the fundamental realities of dispersion within a global context — then we can weigh whether sale of a 3Com type firm helps or hinders American interests. Until then, this is reckless alarmism.
3Com is a Massachusetts firms. I wonder if Mitt Romney agrees with me or Bill Gertz.
— Steve Clemons