School of Politics and International Relations

Would Margaret Thatcher have taken the US side against Huawei? Not necessarily.

13 May 2019

Professor Tim Bale writes an opinion piece for The Guardian on the US’s recent attempts to invoke the Iron Lady in its beef with China. He argues that she was a pragmatist who would ‘outsource’ to win value for money, writing: “When the US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, addressing London’s hesitation in following Washington’s hard line on Huawei, said: ‘Ask yourself: would the Iron Lady be silent when China violates the sovereignty of nations through corruption or coercion?’ he was touching – and presumably fully intending to touch – one of the most sensitive of all Tory nerves. Pompeo’s implied answer to his own rhetorical question was, of course, no… Maggie would have told the Chinese where to get off – and sharpish, right? Wrong. As always, the question ‘What would Maggie do?’ isn’t as easy to answer as it might appear to be…”