Well, these conversations weren’t precisely the hopeful sort, however they gave me some wanted readability about what’s occurring on the opposite aspect of the Pacific. The China information cycle has all the time been busy (that’s why this text exists!), however it’s additionally good to take a beat, have a chat, and perceive the place we’re at concerning US-China relations.
In case you missed the occasion this yr, listed below are the China-related highlights I feel you’ll be fascinated about:
What’s the technique—and actual rationale—behind US restrictions on China?
It has been a number of years since US-China relations took a transparent dive, and teachers and tech staff on either side at the moment are accepting that tensions won’t resolve anytime quickly. When I requested Matt Sheehan, a worldwide know-how fellow on the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, how he feels about US-China relations right this moment, he mentioned he’s “on edge” as a result of “there’re lots of choices being made in fast succession with vastly unsure outcomes.”
One of those massive choices is the Biden administration’s escalation of restrictions on chip exports to China. While individuals are nonetheless attempting to understand the policy in actual time, it has change into clear that the administration’s strikes should not only a matter of including extra Chinese corporations or more chip technologies to a listing of targets, however a change within the US authorities’s mindset in the case of containing China.
For a very long time, the primary query on Chinese export management was whether or not to “do as a lot harm as you’ll be able to right this moment versus to protect your leverage on an extended time scale,” mentioned Sheehan.
The latter—persevering with to promote chips and related applied sciences to China in hopes that the nation gained’t develop its personal self-sufficient ecosystem—is what the US has been doing. But that’s going to alter, in keeping with Sheehan: “I feel this newest management sort of firmly settles that debate inside [Washington] DC on the aspect of doing harm right this moment. People determined that leverage is eroding naturally over time anyway, and we have now to make use of this leverage whereas we are able to.”
But it’s additionally vital to scrutinize the justifications for these export controls. Are they actually based mostly on addressing human rights issues, as often claimed, or are they merely extra political video games? Yangyang Cheng, a fellow at Yale Law School’s Paul Tsai China Center, famous within the panel that the insurance policies are “logically inconsistent and morally indefensible” if the reasoning “will not be as a result of constructing weapons is dangerous or constructing various kinds of surveillance systems is dangerous, however as a result of I wish to construct higher weapons and higher surveillance programs.”