U.S.-China Technological “Decoupling”: A Strategy And Policy Framework

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  • It’s a major achievement, and I strongly hope that policymakers pay attention to it.
  • This group—including China hawks, some human rights defenders, and many national security officials—fears U.S. complacency during what it sees as a closing window to prevent China’s technological dominance.
  • A centrist strategy of this kind will also help the U.S. government maintain its control over the decoupling process—keeping its pace and scope aligned with American needs.

The motor that propels superpowers is technology as reported by Carnegie.

Pretty vague

As the chair of the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence (NSCAI), I led the effort that ultimately delivered a harsh message to the U.S. Congress and to the administration: America is not prepared to defend or compete in the AI era.

The fact is that America has been technologically dominant for so long that some U.S. leaders came to take it for granted.

A second technological superpower, China, has emerged.

In Washington, many people I talk to give a similar answer.

They say that some degree of technological separation from China is necessary, but we shouldn’t go so far as to harm U.S. interests in the process.

That’s exactly right, of course, but it’s also pretty vague.

Decoupling

“Decoupling” entered the Washington lexicon just a few years ago, and it represents a dramatic break from earlier assumptions.

In 2018, for example, I remarked that the global internet would probably bifurcate into a Chinese-led internet and a U.S.-led internet.

Now, the prediction has already come halfway true.

We were successful, but this effort did not go far enough.

Given the high stakes and dizzying complexity of the challenges, many U.S. leaders are still searching for a mental framework—a set of analytical tools to help them answer the most fundamental questions of strategy and policy.

Policymakers 

That’s why I was so pleased to read Jon Bateman’s major new report, “U.S.-China Technological ‘Decoupling’: A Strategy and Policy Framework.”

His report builds on recommendations outlined by the NSCAI and the China Strategy Group.

It’s a major achievement, and I strongly hope that policymakers pay attention to it.

There is no shortage of analysis today on U.S.-China tech policy, but Jon’s report stands out for its ambition, clarity, and rigour.

Jon is not afraid to stake a position, and some of my favourite parts of his report were those that I disagreed with.

The decisions will be difficult, the debates heated.

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Source: Carnegie

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