Just like the Trump administration before it, Biden’s team is primarily focused on the geostrategic technology competition with China. The only difference between the two is the current administration’s plan to carry this competition to the global stage.
Hiding behind the backdrop of Biden’s promise of “America is back” in his bid to revive relations with the U.S.’s network of traditional allies, is, of course, a desire to halt China’s technological progress.
Under the Communist Party, China calculatedly and gradually began to open up to the West after the death of Mao Zedong in 1976. This culminated in China becoming a member of the World Trade Organization in 2001 with the greenlight given by the U.S.
Thus, China became part of the global economy governed by the rules of capitalism. For large companies, China was a source of cheap labor and production.
Not wanting to remain as such, China focused on increasing its military, technological and diplomatic might with medium- and long-term plans.
Relations of mutual economic dependency provided a kind of protection to the Chinese regime. The U.S. and the Western world, on the other hand, assumed that the Chinese regime would be transformed as a result of this mutually beneficial relationship.
As things stand today, this assumption seems to have all but vanished. According to the anti-China hawks in the U.S., Beijing is a relentless enemy that is hell-bent on destroying the global system from within.
Biden, for his part, wants to respond to the challenge posed by China with an alliance of so-called “techno-democracies.” In my previous column, I mentioned the efforts that examined China’s rivalry with the U.S. in terms of “techno-democracies” and “techno-autocracies.”
While the Biden administration tries to step up its military power in the Indo-Pacific, it is attempting to implement an “economic containment” policy to isolate China on its own turf.
The techno-democracies alliance, which is still in its nascent stages, aims to limit China’s political, diplomatic and financial influence after the “One Belt-One Road” project that stretches across Asia, Europe and Africa.
Under its “techno-democracies alliance,” the U.S. also wants to wage new wars against China in the fields of military, economic-technology, politics and ideology.
After Biden took office, the U.S. formed China task forces in national security, intelligence and defense agencies. The alliance of techno-democracies also entails the establishment of similar China task forces among the network of allied countries.
The U.S. Congress is also signing regulations to establish the rules of geostrategic technology competition with China. The Biden administration gave the greenlight to conduct a comprehensive study to assess the U.S.’s competitive edge with China and what needs be done. The expansive study, which covers all departments and other relevant institutions, is required to report back within 100 days.
Biden’s “China plan” also includes limiting Beijing’s access to the advanced technologies of the West, basing business relations with China on more stringent rules, and controlling the raw material or finished material resources required for new generation technologies, especially semiconductors.
The Biden administration wants to eliminate the U.S. economy’s and technology’s dependence on China. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, China-based disruptions in the U.S.’s supply networks led to contractions in many sectors, particularly the automotive industry.
Biden’s plan includes expanding Trump-era efforts to shield key technologies from Chinese competition. Preparations are being made in particular for large scale rivalry for chips, energy batteries and other strategic mines used in artificial intelligence, mobile phones, tablets, clean energy sectors, electric cars and new generation warplanes.
The U.S. expects the countries that are in this techno-democracies alliance to act along the same vein to stop China’s technological development. By demonizing the Chinese economy, the United States will try to isolate it from the global economic system.
America’s technological war against China is of a nature that will erode the free market teachings that operate under the rules of capitalism. The U.S., one of the leading centers of global capitalism, wants to create a deep trench with harsh regulations around Western technologies to stop China. This situation, which is the result of a school of thought that believed China would eventually outgrow capitalism, merits close attention.