Biden’s Phantom Tech Cold War


Good morning! The United States is turning up the heat in its cold war with China. But what happens next may be China’s decision.

Cold War

The Biden administration is fighting a virtual technology cold war. In the past, under the guise of national security, the US and others have put in place export control laws to prevent bad actors from acquiring the major weapons used today.

Now the US is turning its attention to the technology that is not available. The recently announced move is aimed at curbing China’s access to key chip technology, undermining the country’s progress in emerging fields such as artificial intelligence and quantum computing.

  • It follows other measures such as increasing foreign investment in US companies, as well as a focus on top Chinese businesses such as TikTok.
  • Overall, the latest actions signal a more coordinated approach than the fragmented regulatory approach previously employed by both Biden and Trump.
  • “All these moving parts are integrated and increasingly synchronized,” said Stimson, who is not a resident of Foreign Affairs. But “we are trying to develop controls for non-instrumented technologies,” he said.

Now the main question is how far are the partners? – such as Japan, Israel, the United Kingdom and others – are willing to match US aggressive measures. And finally, there is doubt as to how much influence Biden and the future White House will have on their own.

  • China in 2010 Ever since it released its 2025 Roadmap and identified the technologies the country will invest in, political leaders around the world have used increasingly worrisome talking points to warn of the negative consequences of China’s rapid expansion in the IT sector.
  • “we are [at] A crescendo of rhetoric,” Jones said. But it remains to be seen what this will look like in other countries.

The Biden administration and other world leaders are understandably concerned. The national security implications of China’s growing technological prowess. Especially with reports of China’s widespread surveillance equipment and how the country uses it to suppress its own citizens, coupled with increasingly frosty relations with the West.

But there is also an economic dimension outside of national security. That forces countries to spring into action. Or, at least, use stronger language.

  • For the past decade, nations around the world have tried to copy “Silicon Valleys” within their own borders. Growing tech hubs can’t compete with the power and prestige of the greater San Francisco area. But emerging areas like AI and quantum, as well as important areas like semiconductors, are serving as accelerators.
  • Semiconductors, for example, are poised to be at the heart of major technological developments over the next decade and beyond. That’s why the UK, Japan and others have passed their own Chips Act-like laws to boost domestic chip production.
  • And countries like Austria and Denmark are pouring billions of dollars into quantum computing research, still theoretical, but a mature field that could one day supersede classical computers and have a major impact on the global balance of power.

China is providing a strong, if uncomfortable, talking point for fans. Those who want to mobilize support from their respective governments to advance such technology. But as more money moves into new areas of quantum, there is growing concern that countries may use export controls to protect those investments.

  • Russia’s invasion of Ukraine shows that corporations and countries are willing to act quickly to limit business and trade relations with terrorist actors.
  • But China is not Russia. And convincing other countries to take decisive action in one of the world’s largest and most profitable markets will be even more difficult.
  • Marina Zhang, associate professor at the Australia-China Research Institute at the University of Technology in Sydney, said: “The US still has a lot of control over its allies.”

In the end, none of this is possible. Although the Biden administration may slow down the growth of China’s semiconductor industry, but it is still early, China has endless capital to invest.

The United States has dramatically improved the global technological Cold War. All eyes are now on China’s response.

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