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US president Donald Trump is presiding over 'the biggest strategic defeat for the US since the early days of WW2' as European allies ignore his threats and back Huawei

Thomas Colson , Business Insider US
 Jan 29, 2020, 04:02 PM

Donald Trump
  • Donald Trump's attempts to pressure European allies into dropping their ties with Chinese telecoms company Huawei have failed.
  • European countries look set to join the United Kingdom in approving the company's continued role in the development of the 5G network on the continent.
  • Former House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich labelled Trump's failure "the biggest strategic defeat for the US since the early days of WW2."
  • Chris Murphy, a Democrat senator who sits on the committee on foreign relations, said: 'Not even our closest ally Britain, with a Trump soulmate in Downing Street, listens to us anymore.'

  • For more stories, visit Business Insider South Africa.

Donald Trump's European allies plan to ignore his threats and back Huawei's involvement in the development of 5G on the continent.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday approved the Chinese telecoms company's involvement in the 5G network in the country.

The decision, which was taken despite multiple threats by Trump and his allies to withdraw security co-operation and impose trade penalties, is set to trigger a wave of similar decisions by other European leaders, Politico reported.

The development triggered one prominent Republican on Wednesday to label Trump's failure "the biggest strategic defeat for the United States since the early days of World War Two."

With European allies also drawing ranks against Trump's actions against Iran, the president is looking increasingly isolated on the world stage.

Europe and the UK ally against Trump

Angela Merkel and Boris Johnson

Trump had ordered his European allies to impose a blanket ban on the company's involvement. However, Johnson's decision provides cover for other European countries - many of whom are minded to allow Huawei to help build their own 5G networks - to close ranks and defy Trump themselves.

European countries are reportedly set to copy the UK's new security policies, which will see Huawei granted a limited role while being restricted from sensitive sites such as nuclear power stations.

The EU has drawn up recommendations for member states, which stop short of banning Huawei.

"The EU's approach was inspired by the U.K. one," one EU diplomat told Politico, adding that Trump's call for a blanket ban "won't be the preferred choice for most [European] countries."

Individual countries across the continent are set to follow the UK's lead and allow Huawei a role in their future 5G networks, despite being on the end of intensive lobbying efforts from the Trump administration.

Germany, Poland and the Netherlands are leaning towards allowing Huawei a role in future telecoms networks, while the French government confirmed in November it was "not following the position of the United States" and refused to exclude Huawei from bidding for its 5G network.

Newt Gingrich, a former Speaker of the US House of Representatives, branded the development "the biggest strategic defeat for the United States since the early days of World War Two."

"I think people have got to wake up and understand this is a huge failure of our government bureaucracies to respond to a challenge we have seen coming," he told the BBC.

Democrat Senator Chris Murphy, who sits on the committee on foreign relations tweeted that "America has never been weaker."

"We have never had less influence. Not even our closest ally Britain, with a Trump soulmate in Downing Street, listens to us anymore."

Liz Cheney, the third highest-ranking Republican in the House of Representatives, led criticism from within the President's own party.

"Tragic to see our closest ally, a nation Ronald Reagan once called 'incandescent with courage', turn away from our alliance and the cause of freedom," she tweeted.

Europe's defiance of Trump over Huawei echoes a pattern seen after the death of Iranian general Qassem Solemani, who was assassinated in January on Trump's orders.

Then, too, European leaders adopted a strikingly similar tone in their reactions, refusing to endorse Trump explicitly and warning against escalation in the Middle East.

Both Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, and Ben Wallace, the UK's defence secretary, also openly called into question the strength of the relationship between their own countries and the US in the weeks that followed.

The developments show that, while the US continues to exert enormous lobbying power over policy in Europe, solidarity across the continent in the face of Washington's lobbying efforts is acting as an increasingly powerful corrective.

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