Blinken’s China Vision - Whither US-China Trade, In Whose Interest?

Understandably, American technology giants oppose the rule and have warned the Biden administration about the consequent damage in the US economy. “By the Commerce Department’s own estimate,” says IBM Regulatory Vice President Christopher Padilla, “this rule would impose many billions of dollars in new compliance costs on millions of US firms, including countless small businesses.” 

Why is Blinken pushing such “such a massive, overbroad, and economically damaging rule" against the interests of American business? The simple response is that his goals are dictated by neoconservative geopolitics rather than US interests. 

Effort to slow China’s tech catch-up

When Blinken began to tout Trump’s interim rule, it paralleled the Biden administration’s cooperation with Pentagon and Silicon Valley, as exemplified by the activities of Eric Schmidt, former CEO of Google (2001-2011), executive chairman of its Alphabet Inc. (2015-17) and financier of Obama, Clinton and Biden campaigns (GOOGL). 

Schmidt headed the advisory board (2016-20) of the Department of Defense (DoD) aiming at connecting Silicon Valley with Pentagon, followed by the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence (2019-21) and his current government work to create a military technology college. 

As Blinken began to push his old-new-Pompeo-Trump-Biden China vision, Schmidt submitted his recommendations to President Biden and the Congress. “The US and its allies,” he noted, “should utilize targeted export controls on high-end semiconductor manufacturing equipment ... to protect existing technical advantages and slow the advancement of China’s semiconductor industry.” 

Instead of China’s competitive or trade practices, the objective is to weaponize artificial intelligence (AI), which scientific communities abhor but neoconservatives consider critical for US unipolar military superiority. In these efforts, “national security” is exploited to offset longstanding erosion of US technology competitiveness relative to Chinese, European, Japanese and South Korean rivals.

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Disclosure: A version of the commentary was published by China-US Focus on March 22, 2021

Dr. Dan Steinbock is an internationally recognized strategist of the ...

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