Choke Trong Tiếng Tiếng Việt

Countries are turning economic infrastructure into political weapons, và that poses a major risk lớn business.

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Summary.

To conduct international commerce, businesses have built an intricate system of networks that move sầu money, information, and components around the world. These networks may look decentralized, but all too frequently, they have sầu major choke points. The majority of global finance transactions, for instance, are relayed through a single organization in Belgium. Many global tech firms depover heavily on the chips Qualcomilimet makes for Android devices. A huge proportion of global communications are routed through private servers on U.S. soil.

Increasingly, these choke points are being turned inlớn political weapons by governments, and companies are getting caught in the cross fire. The stakes are high: Firms can go out of business if they’re cut off from critical networks. They need to analyze their exposure và develop a strategy to lớn protect themselves.


Countries are turning economic infrastructure into lớn political weapons, và that poses a major risk lớn business.

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Idea in Brief
The Vulnerability

To keep the global economy working smoothly, crucial resources such as money, information, and components pass through an intricate system of conduits. But while this critical invisible infrastructure may seem to lớn be decentralized and have multiple redundancies, it has significant choke points.

The New Risk

A new political risk comes from powerful, wealthy states—especially the United States—that use legal authority or coercion to turn economic networks into tools of domination, ensnaring businesses in the process.

The Response

Multinational businesses should analyze their exposure to lớn network choke points. Lobbying government officials and teaming up with industry peers to resist coercion can mitigate the risks.


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Since the over of the Cold War, businesses have built an awe-inspiring global infrastructure. Digital pipelines move vast amounts of capital và data around the world, và supply chains crisscross international boundaries in a spider website of commerce. An intricate system of networks keeps the global economy running smoothly, but it’s easy to take for granted, because it remains largely hidden from view.

Though these networks appear lớn have sầu multiple redundancies và khổng lồ be decentralized, many have significant choke points. Global finance relies on a single organization in Belgium lớn relay the majority of transactions between banks. Cloud computing’s information storage facilities are often located in the United States. Complex supply chains can be dependent on a handful of components, lượt thích the chips Qualcomilimet makes for devices with the Android operating system.

These choke points allow seemingly neutral infrastructure lớn be manipulated by governments to further their national strategic goals. China’s push inkhổng lồ 5G equipment has raised concerns in the West precisely because it might give the Chinese access to lớn key parts of emerging communications networks. Japan recently restricted the export khổng lồ South Korea of three chemicals crucial to the production of semiconductors, because of a political spat with Seoul. And the United States has aggressively exploited its control of a variety of seemingly technical structures that make global trade possible; it now appears increasingly willing lớn turn those structures inkhổng lồ a machinery of domination.

This new reality was summed up by former NSA director Michael Hayden in describing why the U.S. government coerced tech companies lớn help its surveillance efforts by sharing confidential information routed through private servers on U.S. soil: “This is a trang chính game for us….Why would we not turn the most powerful telecommunications và computing management structure on the planet khổng lồ our use?”

Today the political risk businesses face doesn’t come just from developing countries that might abruptly change market rules or nationalize assets. It comes from powerful, wealthy states that are turning economic networks into political weapons. The stakes are high. Companies that are isolated from critical networks can go out of business. A global bank blocked by the United States from accessing a secure interbank communication system because it provides financial services khổng lồ an American adversary is not going to be a global ngân hàng for long. A technology manufacturer that can’t buy sophisticated chips is in big trouble. Businesses that control digital hubs & are pressed inkhổng lồ service by states can suffer reputational damage. U.S. tech giants lượt thích Google & Facebook, for example, took a hit in foreign markets after Edward Snowden revealed that they had cooperated with U.S. surveillance activities.

What can global firms vì to protect themselves? The key is to underst& the specifics of the networks your organization depends on and then create a strategy lớn address the possibility that they will become weaponized. But lớn start with, executives need to lớn accept that the world—and specifically, America’s role in it—has changed.

America’s New Role

As political scientists, we’ve sầu been studying the United States’ use of economic networks lớn achieve sầu its national objectives for cthua thảm khổng lồ two decades, và we feel that the corporate world consistently underestimates the risks from this form of political muscle flexing. In large part that’s because the country has long been a proponent và guarantor of global business, so it’s hard lớn conceive of it as a potential threat. It’s equally hard khổng lồ imagine that the networks that have sầu been the driving force of globalization could be used khổng lồ chain & entangle companies. But we believe that the “America first” approach, which treats international business infrastructure as a political tool, is profoundly reshaping the world economy.

chú ý that this isn’t a new strategy for the United States; Hayden’s remarks were made in 2013. Indeed, the George W. Bush và Obama administrations both used U.S. Treasury controls và the dollar-clearing system—which converts foreign currencies inlớn dollars, the lingua franca of international trade—to try to prsự kiện financial institutions from providing services to lớn Iran và North Korea. America’s intelligence services pressed U.S.-based internet-communications firms not only to provide data on suspected terrorists but also to lớn help spy on U.S. adversaries, rivals, and even partners.

However, what started as an aggressive sầu và coordinated response after 9/11 has been supercharged by the Trump administration, which at times has replaced diplomacy with the raw exercise of power. The president has increasingly been weaponizing economic networks & has rarely coordinated with businesses or allies when doing so. And his administration has targeted developed nations & economic powers like Trung Quốc rather than rogue regimes và terrorists, which has emboldened Trung Quốc & other countries lớn retaliate or even mimic America’s tactics lớn further their own interests.

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To understvà how things have sầu changed, consider America’s sanctions against Iran. The Society for Worldwide Interngân hàng Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT), based in Belgium, runs a secure financial-messaging service that is used for most global financial transactions. In 2012 the Obama administration and the European Union used this choke point lớn press Tehran for concessions on its nuclear program. They cut Iranian financial institutions out of SWIFT in 2012 but then restored access after a nuclear khuyến mãi was struck in năm ngoái.

During the presidential chiến dịch, Trump railed against the agreement with Iran. Despite desperate attempts by European politicians lớn save it, the United States withdrew from it in 2018 and then unilaterally reinstated sanctions that made it illegal khổng lồ buy Iranian oil. Any banks—including foreign banks—that facilitate such transactions could face U.S. fines. BNP Paribas & others had already paid billions of dollars in penalties for violating the previous round of sanctions. Citing the risk that new fines associated with Iranian trades could destabilize the financial system, SWIFT felt it had no choice but khổng lồ cut off Iranian banks’ access in 2018. This time the Europeans were apoplectic. French finance minister Bruno Le Maire said that European countries should not accept the United States as the “economic policeman of the planet” & allow themselves to become its “vassals.”

The Trump administration has also exploited its de facto lớn control of the flow of crucial tech components lớn target both China và rogue states lượt thích Iran and North Korea. From 2010 khổng lồ 2016 the Chinese telecommunications manufacturer ZTE sold restricted technologies lớn Iran & North Korea, violating U.S. export controls. It was forced khổng lồ agree to an expensive sầu settlement with U.S. authorities. When ZTE flouted that settlement, the U.S. government banned American firms from supplying ZTE with parts, including the Qualcomilimet chips it needs. This might have driven ZTE out of business if President Trump had not swapped a lighter penalty for concessions in his trade fight with Đài Loan Trung Quốc.

More recently, the U.S. government blacklisted the Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei. Corporate America had expected the United States lớn ban Huawei from selling lớn domestic markets. Many in the business community, however, didn’t anticipate the decision lớn restrict the export of U.S. giải pháp công nghệ lớn Huawei, putting the firm’s very existence in danger và injecting uncertainty into global supply chains. Huawei estimated that more than 1,200 U.S. firms would thất bại contracts with it. Google has warned that it will not provide Android khổng lồ new Huawei phones, & Microsoft temporarily stopped selling Huawei laptops in its online store. This has led Đài Loan Trung Quốc khổng lồ threaten to constrain its sales of essential rare-earth metals lớn U.S. giải pháp công nghệ companies & to lớn start building its own blackdanh mục of foreign firms. FedEx is at risk of being put on that các mục, because the Chinese government claims that the company knowingly rerouted Huawei packages destined for Trung Quốc from other countries in Asia khổng lồ the United States. U.S. manufacturers are frantically checking their supply chains khổng lồ identify Chinese partners that might be subject to lớn the new economic tensions, while financial firms are asking whether they want to orient themselves toward the United States or China. Everyone fears the worst is yet khổng lồ come, because Trump has “ordered” U.S. companies to immediately find alternatives to Chinese suppliers, and other U.S. policy makers are asking whether America needs khổng lồ “decouple” its economy from China’s. In October 2019 the U.S. government blacklisted an additional 28 Chinese firms for their role in human rights violations against Muslim minorities in Trung Quốc. As of this writing, the U.S. Justice Department was trying lớn blochồng the completion of a $300 million submarine cable that would connect Hong Kong and Los Angeles—& had already mostly been laid by Google, Facebook, and Dr. Peng Telecom & Media Group, a Chinese company—on the grounds of national security.

A New Game

As other powerful states respond lớn and even mã sản phẩm the U.S. strategy, a war is quietly being waged through manufacturing ties & business relationships. U.S. officials are concerned that Chinese-produced components could be compromised và then deployed in surveillance activities or even sabotage. Chinese leaders fear that the United States will use the ZTE playbook against more Chinese firms. They worry that America sees Chinese economic strength as a security threat and will vì everything it can khổng lồ hamper and even cripple the Chinese economy. This is one reason they’re trying lớn accelerate their ability lớn develop & manufacture advanced chips: so that they won’t be at the mercy of the U.S. government.

Although the European Union has officially identified China as a rival & begun to pay much closer attention khổng lồ Chinese acquisitions, it is still far less belligerent toward Trung Quốc than the United States is. Indeed, it’s beginning lớn create ways to lớn work around U.S. economic power và perhaps even oppose it. For instance, Europeans have sầu started lớn experiment with alternative financial channels that are less exposed khổng lồ U.S. pressure. In 2019 the governments of France, Germany, và the United Kingdom jointly created an international barter system, known as Instex, which offers an alternative payment method that circumvents U.S. sanctions on Iran. Instex has had teething problems, and trade between Iran & Europe is negligible, but Europe’s experiment may give sầu it the tools khổng lồ counteract future U.S. sanctions against much more economically important countries, lượt thích Russia.

Disputes can quickly escalate. When nhật bản pushed baông chồng against South Korean claims for World War II reparations by blocking the export lớn Korea of key chemicals needed by the semiconductor và manufacturing industries, it sent chills through the boardrooms at Samsung and LG. South Korea, in turn, has threatened to retaliate by cutting off supplies of heating oil to nhật bản. Businesses are being forced into involuntary service in purely political disputes.

Understanding Your Exposure

The firms located at choke points are the most directly at risk. Google’s Android operating system, Visa’s payment channel, FedEx’s courier and logistics services, và Qualcomm’s chips are all hugely profitable because they sit at the center of vast global networks everyone wants access to lớn. Their market control has always been a gold mine. It’s now also a political vulnerability, creating dependencies that powerful governments may want to exploit for national security purposes.

Companies that lie at emerging choke points are likely to also come under pressure. Behind the U.S. case against Huawei is a straightforward fear: that America will thất bại control over 5G networks và the internet of things. U.S. security would be threatened in a world where everyone depends on Chinese communications technology. Building a choke point, knowingly or not, puts you in the crosshairs.

When governments target choke-point companies, other businesses can get caught in the crossfire. The U.S. ban on Huawei reverberated throughout the firm’s supply chain. The U.S. chipmaker Skyworks, which got 12% of its sales from Huawei, was blindsided; its stoông chồng fell sharply & took weeks khổng lồ recover. Upstream, political uncertainty is leading all telecommunications firms lớn delay 5G investments. The CEO of Sweden’s Tele2, Anders Nilsson, put it bluntly: “Decisions are postponed. This is not only Huawei; this is all vendors.”

As Đài Loan Trung Quốc retaliates, the economic fallout is likely to lớn spread. Cisco’s CEO, Chuông xã Robbins, says the anti-American backlash in China is hurting his company: “We’re being uninvited khổng lồ bid. We are not even being allowed to lớn participate anymore.” Tertiary companies that are neither choke-point providers nor directly up- or downstream will also be affected. A slowdown in 5G’s rollout will reshape entire markets for thiết bị di động equipment, audiovisual offerings, & smart, connected products.

Can’t diversification help companies avoid this new form of risk? Firms don’t lượt thích relying on a single supplier anyway, since that supplier might raise prices, defect lớn competitors, or go bust. But diversification won’t mitigate political risk if all the suppliers of, say, a critical component are in the same country or dependent on the same choke point. Instead, executives should think about developing alternative network hubs or in-house or in-country capabilities that allow them khổng lồ minimize vulnerabilities. After the ZTE incident, Huawei saw that it was at risk and stockpiled its U.S.-made components. Increased redundancy may also reduce vulnerability.

Doing an analysis of the risk your specific sector faces is helpful too. The Trump administration (&, ultimately, its successors) will probably weaponize a host of networks, but some sectors are more exposed than others are. In recent disputes with China, the United States has focused on technologies lượt thích telecommunications, drones, và surveillance systems, all of which are viewed as having both commercial and military applications. But less-obvious sectors are increasingly vulnerable. It is unlikely that Beijing Kunlun Tech expected the United States lớn request that it divest Grindr, a gay dating network, but if it had thought about how personal information could be used for blackmail, it might have sầu foreseen the possibility. Companies that did not think of their sectors as politically risky—perhaps because they were producing relatively innocuous products such as camera-enabled doorbells—should have paid attention when U.S. defense legislation targeted Hikvision & its surveillance technology in early 2018. The U.S. intelligence community has also been issuing warnings about Huawei for several years. Executives dismiss these “weak signals” at their own peril.

Mitigating the Risk

Identifying risks is only the first step. As the global economy moves away from open trade, companies need new strategies và relationships that balance economic efficiency with security. Firms essentially have three choices: collaborate, resist, or educate.

After the terrorist attacks on 9/11, the U.S. government sought private sector help. A group of firms running network choke points, most notably FedEx, volunteered to lớn work with it. FedEx CEO Fred Smith argued at the time, “All we are trying to do is to lớn protect our assets & not have our assets be used for bad purposes.” This approach can have great benefits, but it may pose problems in a world where cooperating with one government may provoke another government lớn target you. HSBC, for instance, complied with U.S. authorities’ demand for financial information on Huawei, and now it is at risk of being blacklisted by the Chinese government.

Some firms may be less enthusiastic about cooperation và decide to push baông chồng. Apple, for example, is a tempting target. The iPhone operating system is potentially a key hub for surveillance, allowing governments lớn learn what people are saying to lớn one another. This is one reason Apple tried lớn thiết kế the system khổng lồ make it impossible for anyone—even Apple itself—lớn access the phones without user passwords. Microsoft, which faces similar pressures from governments that want its data, has responded in a more directly political way. It is spearheading a global initiative known as the Digital Geneva Convention lớn develop core norms of cybersecurity. The goal is to persuade private companies to lớn collectively commit to lớn limiting offensive cyberattacks—including those by the U.S. government. Already over 100 firms have signed the initiative’s Cybersecurity Tech Accord. As tensions heat up between the United States and Trung Quốc & Russia, businesses with control of economic choke points will need lớn consider how they can work together khổng lồ depoliticize their roles.

Businesses can also reduce some of the potential fallout of network attacks by educating government officials. Network connections are so complex that policy makers often don’t underst& how interventions could produce unexpected consequences. When the United States announced sanctions against the Russian metals giant Rusal, it did not anticipate that they might bring the European tự động hóa industry to a halternative text, and it had to lớn modify them swiftly. The more businesses’ government-relations offices can vị to lớn educate policy makers, the better. Firms also can push baông chồng directly against the most disruptive sầu policies. In the wake of the initial Huawei ban, the U.S. semiconductor industry quietly lobbied the Commerce Department and the White House nhà trắng khổng lồ ease it.

Once it was the places that globalization hadn’t yet reached that were politically dangerous. Now new political risks are found right at the heart of the global economy. They’re coming from the very infrastructure that facilitates global business, which powerful states are weaponizing. Executives who fail khổng lồ understand this new world are likely khổng lồ run into serious trouble.

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