The United States has recognized that technology is the gateway to the 21st century global order – Mohammed Soliman opens – 9News Nigeria

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From Princely Onyenwe

The Biden administration has released its first National Security Strategy (NSS), which refocuses on great-power competition and builds on the strategic discourse outlined by the Trump administration in its 2017 NSS, and a significant shift in strategic thinking ratified by the United States.

The architects of the 2022 National Security Strategy laid the intellectual foundation for what they called a “decisive decade” in which emerging technologies are the gateway to an emerging era of global order where states compete over data, artificial intelligence (AI). . , and information networks. Perceiving technology as a gateway to the New World Order, Washington not only aims to manage technological decoupling from China, but is also pursuing a strategy of “technology containment” towards Beijing.

Technology is where national interests, human progress, education, innovation, culture and economic development converge. Therefore, in the 21st century, technology will continue to redraw geopolitical boundaries, redefine sovereignty and transform the global order.

China’s rise has been defined by its significant geotech presence, which has allowed Beijing to maintain significant influence beyond its sphere of influence due to the increasing centrality of affordable Chinese technology to the global economy over the past two decades. From 5G to AI, from drones to space, and from autonomous vehicles to decentralized finance, China has prioritized transforming itself into a “high-end self-sufficient innovation power” that centers technological supremacy in its broader global positioning.

China is not unique; Many middle powers use technology to advance their geostrategic interests within their spheres of influence and well beyond. The success of Turkish drones in changing the military situation in Libya, Syria, Nagorno-Karabakh and Ukraine has made Ankara a global leader capable of shaping geopolitical outcomes more effectively than France, Germany, and even the UK China and Russia. Despite facing decades of harsh sanctions, Iran has been able to develop robust home-grown defense, technology and cyber capabilities that have supported its quest to expand its influence into Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, and even Tehran enabled it to establish itself as the main defense and technology supporter of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

There are growing fears that the United States is gradually losing its technological lead, leaving Washington unable to outperform China or maintain its status as the technological gatekeeper around the world – particularly in critical technologies vital to maintaining a favorable position of fundamental Significance is the United States’ position in this emerging multipolar, multicivilizational order. Because of this interpretation of the US-China cold tech war, America risks losing tech hegemony not only to China but also to middle tech powers, which would likely undermine Washington’s position regionally and globally. Washington is clearly focused on rebuilding domestic technological capabilities while using its control of technological bottlenecks to pursue an aggressive agenda of a tech containment strategy against China and ultimately reorganizing the digital order on favorable terms for a US-led tech bloc.

5G is the backbone of the next generation of internet as it offers users faster download speeds, lower latency, higher connectivity and bandwidth. 5G expands mobile communications from the human-centric ecosystem to the Internet of Things, the metaverse, industrial applications, distributed systems, and far beyond.

China’s Huawei has more key 5G patents (1,529) than Finland’s Nokia (1,397). Huawei has rolled out 11,423 5G standards, easily surpassing its western competitors like Qualcomm with 4,493. By the end of 2020, Huawei invested 15.3 percent of its revenue and employed 105,000 people in R&D. Huawei is well ahead of leading Western companies like Nokia, Ericsson and others in the 5G race thanks to its significant investments in R&D, human capital and important patents.

Under the Trump administration, 5G became a critical national security issue as the United States realized that Beijing was ahead of the West in the 5G race and that China would long-term use Huawei’s 5G equipment to gather intelligence and obtain trade secrets , and shutting down critical infrastructure networks in other nations in times of war and crisis — to ultimately build a Beijing-centric global technology ecosystem that advances China’s geopolitical and geoeconomic interests, with the ultimate goal of ousting the US-led order.

The internalization of technology as a guardian of the emerging multipolar order and its centrality to the United States’ global stance fueled the Trump administration’s intense confrontation with Huawei over 5G networks.

However, the United States lacked a clear alternative that Washington could back to compete with Huawei. This, coupled with the market share Huawei holds vis-à-vis Nokia and Ericsson, limited the political toolkit to banning Huawei from the US tech ecosystem and limiting its access to American technologies, while launching a reactive campaign to seek out allies and partners to convince Huawei to exclude them from their 5G networks.

The Clean Network Initiative (CNI) has achieved its primary goal of keeping Huawei out of the western tech camp. For example, the UK has pledged to remove Huawei from its 5G network by 2027, and Gulf allies have recalibrated and switched to Open RAN.

Washington’s Tech Containment Strategy

The fight against Huawei set the tone for a rare bipartisan consensus on how to proceed for Washington’s tech containment strategy, which clearly focuses on rebuilding domestic tech capabilities, decoupling the tech supply chain from China, institutionalizing a US-centric tech bloc , and restricting China and Russia’s access to critical technologies, eventually leading to their technical regression.

A return to a Hamilton-era of industrial policy, the nonpartisan Chips and Science Act of 2022 provides “$52.7 billion for American semiconductor research, development, manufacturing and development.”

The Chips Act also provides “a 25 percent tax credit for capital expenditures related to the manufacture of semiconductors and related equipment.” Building on this industrial policy, and provoked by its assessment that American technology is fueling China’s hypersonic missile program, Washington moved to the next stage of its aggressive technology containment strategy by choking off Beijing’s access to semiconductors, which is an integral part of China’s quest to become a tech superpower .

Remarkably, more than $300 billion worth of semiconductors are imported into Beijing every year, and 25 percent of American companies’ revenues come from China. In October, the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) introduced a series of targeted updates to its export controls to restrict China’s ability to buy and manufacture high-end chips for military applications, and also to restrict US firms and personnel (including green card holders) from helping China develop state-of-the-art manufacturing capabilities for logic and memory chips.

The goals are to limit China’s current access to the AI ​​chips that power its civil-military fusion strategy and prevent China from accessing US chip design software and manufacturing equipment – ultimately slowing down the entire AI ecosystem and Beijing’s disturbs civil-military fusion.

Using its dominance at the bottlenecks of the semiconductor industry, Washington is not only targeting China’s semiconductors, but is also using its position to rally allies and partners to the United States in this all-out technology cold war.

Tech containment is the new normal

Washington understands that its export controls would now only deprive Beijing of the necessary talent and American equipment and software to slow down China’s semiconductor industry, but would also incentivize the Chinese government to shift its focus to supporting and building its domestic semiconductor industry relocate

However, timing is a conscious choice in this planned technology containment strategy. As the United States realizes that time is on China’s side in this technological cold war, the slowdown in China’s semiconductor industry is the right tactical move, especially as it is accompanied by an increase in government subsidies for the domestic semiconductor industry, the consolidation of a US – centric technology coalition and the tightening of the United States’ grip on semiconductor industry bottlenecks.

Aside from semiconductors, Washington will maintain its proactive industrial policy by identifying technical weaknesses, directing its financial resources to address deficiencies, and promoting a global technology alignment with allies and partners.

Mohammed Soliman is Director of the Cyber ​​Security and Emerging Technology Program at the Middle East Institute. You can find him on Twitter at @Thisissiliman.

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