As Chinese officials showcase their military might through recent shows of force towards Taiwan, the world should take notice of their strength not just militarily but also technologically. These two are deeply correlated, with technological superiority being a requisite for military superiority.
The only way for us to prevent China from achieving global technological hegemony is to engage and empower American technology companies and bolster their efforts to innovate and expand.
Yet, some American lawmakers are seeking to crack down on U.S. technology innovators. These efforts will thwart tech companies’ ability to reinforce economic success and protect the national security interests of the United States.
Lawmakers must realize that China is investing hundreds of billions of dollars to become the global innovation and technology leader. The United States must do all it can to keep the technology edge on the side of freedom and democracy.
While the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has great interest in becoming the world’s technological leader, they also fail to ignore rules of the road adhered to by civilized countries across the globe by practicing serial cyber espionage, intellectual property theft, and myriad human rights abuses, including the suppression, silencing and genocide of ethnic and political minorities.
This is not a time to hamstring domestic tech companies when they are the firewall between America losing the next century to its adversaries. This is why poorly conceived anti-innovation bills currently before Congress, which hand the competitive edge to China, are so misguided. If enacted, two dangerous bills before the U.S. Congress would have detrimental effects, with particularly dangerous implications for national security. Numerous retired national security professionals have warned that these bills risk giving foreign rivals “unfettered access” to U.S. software and hardware, resulting in tech platforms being less equipped to protect against cyberattacks, personal data theft, and disinformation.
Moreover, implementing this antitrust legislation is not the will of the American people. Indeed, competitive restrictions are unpopular with Americans and are viewed as a low priority policy issue, and many Americans believe that restrictions on American technology companies would have negative effects on national security and economic output.
Most worrisome is that this antitrust legislation would restrict the ability of American technology companies to compete with China. If Chinese technology companies gain the upper hand in the technology race, national security risks would be imminent, and sensitive and valuable information pertaining to American military and economic interests would be put at risk.
Instances of Chinese hackers targeting American companies and private citizens have been portrayed as rare, far-off events. However, these instances are becoming increasingly more common and impossible to ignore, and they will continue to grow in frequency without the help of American technology companies.
More importantly, an unchecked Chinese technology industry spells serious danger for American national security. The Chinese government’s stated goals for technological expansion include social control, international influence, and increasing military strength.
A world in which China is the leading technology power is a world of control, danger, and constant surveillance. An ambitious, unchecked China is a danger to democracy, and that’s why a strong American industry sector is so important.
It is time for American politicians to view our technology companies as potential partners rather than as adversaries. We are, after all, up against a hostile foreign interest where the interests of the Communist Party government and the nation’s industries are inextricably connected.
Instead of punishing American technology companies, U.S. policymakers should support them in their competition with Chinese companies and welcome them as a partner in the quest to contain China. The first step is to dump the antitrust legislation currently being considered in Congress.
Kent Kaiser, Ph.D. is the executive director of the Trade Alliance to Promote Prosperity.