'Thermonuclear' tech weapon unleashed by USA on China on 18th October will have grave consequences. POTUS directed all US citizens/engineers working in Chinese semiconductor industry to choose between retaining their US citizenship by quitting their jobs or continue and lose US citizenship.
It has put Chinese microchip industry in a tizzy.
Will such unilateral action on part of USA actually result in China continuing its march towards becoming numero uno super power challenging US desire to maintain a unipolar globe.
Past record of China clearly highlights that China has invariably emerged stronger after every such threat. Be it nuke threat from USA during Korean war, which hastened China going nuclear in 1964 or PCA decision against China in respect of ownership claims of South China Sea islands a few years back. China claimed SCS as her 'sovereign' waters.
US action might hasten annexation of Taiwan sooner than later.
While the globe is on the boil, Indian military strategists continue to 'CHIP' away devoting their entire time and energy in creating Theatre Commands.
'CHIPS' are for evening tea snacks for Indian military strategists.
CPC meeting, which commenced its opening session on 16th October, 2022 was different from all previous CPC conclaves. President Xi chose to send a powerful message not only to India but also to the rest of the world. Firstly by showing a video clip of Galwan clash with Indian troops in June, 2020 and inviting a PLA officer injured in the clash to attend the proceedings. Second message was even more startling; he clearly stated his intent to annex Taiwan sooner than later.
Xi was categorical in stating that China will continue on its path of modernization of Chinese military. On the crucial Taiwan issue Xi stated that “Taiwan issue will be resolved. We will continue to strive for peaceful reunification with the greatest sincerity and utmost effort but we will never promise to renounce the use of force and we reserve the option of taking all measures necessary”.
Before concluding remarks of China‟s muscleman could be interpreted, POTUS Joe Biden decided to explode „Thermonuclear‟ technology bomb on China. On 18th October Biden directed that “all American citizens working in China‟s semiconductor manufacturing industry had to select one of the two options. First option was to quit their jobs; second option was to lose US citizenship, if continued to work in China‟s semiconductor industry.‟ If Fox news is to be believed, every US citizen working as an executive/engineer in chip industry resigned on 19th October. Numbers are not available yet but it is believed that a large number of Chinese, who are US Citizens, too exercised the option of retaining US citizenship. This has paralyzed Chinese chip industry overnight. Trump era sanctioning merely delayed the process of manufacturing because every US semiconductor exporter had to apply for license. The process of issue of license took barely a month.
Consequences of Biden's action have to be examined/analysed in a holistic manner. Will this extreme sanction on China backfire exactly as US/EU combined sanctions on Russia have backfired? Entire EU is slated to "enjoy‟ the arctic winter in coming months due to disruption/discontinuation of Russian gas, which warmed homes of EU residents. For instance gas prices have escalated by nearly 400% in UK with sharp cuts in supply likely to be implemented in coming days. It just might become one of the reasons for collapse of Liz Truss government (I finished writing this article early morning on 20th Oct; By PM hours Liz Truss had resigned).
As per my assessment of Chinese dependency on US technocrats, the new rule imposed will almost certainly cause some discomfort to China, but only in short term. Let us examine needs of China in the domain of sophisticated microchips. China’s existing military hardware from satellites, sensors, strategic communication systems, space and missile programme will not be immediately affected by US sanctions because most of these systems use China’s manufactured indigeneous chips. China’s production facility will not collapse; it may cause slower rate of production. US sanctions would in no way stop China from using its
offensive elements viz long range SSMs, Anti Shipping Missiles to target US ships as well as employment of long range air to air missiles.
Such unilateral and knee jerk reaction of US administration in trying to contain China is likely to backfire and increase tensions, which are already at/or near tipping point. It might give China an excuse to hasten the process of annexing Taiwan by force. War in South China Sea will be deadly with grave global consequences. Biden‟s decision to make/achieve unipolar status for USA will remain a dream. China has emerged as a counter balance edging Russia out from the position of main US adversary.
Has USA shot its own foot by taking such action? If China‟s progress of chip manufacturing is to be evaluated, it is quite evident that US technological edge in semiconductor design and fabrication is likely to vanish before end of current decade. China‟s strength of becoming Chip Superpower emanates from the fact that largest available resources, which can be mined easily exist in China. Entire EU is dependent on USA/China for microchips. Due to US sanctions China‟s supply to EU will also be affected.
Asia Times, a prominent daily has stated “China chip ban, a US exercise in extreme self harm”. Incidentally China has made huge allocation to develop its microchip industry in excess of USD 50 Billion. Time alone will tell the ultimate effect of such decision by USA. US Semiconductor industries, which are main supplier of microchips to China will, almost certainly lose huge revenue. It might, rather will result in loss of jobs in US semiconductor industry.
If China‟s space programme is to be viewed in a holistic manner, it will emerge that denial by USA in joining international space station programme merely spurred China to develop its own space station in record time. US never seems to learn from history. It was US threat of using nuke against China during peak of Korean war, which spurred China to go nuclear in 1964. Ironical it might seem, but the message of US threat was conveyed to China by India.
Formation of CHIP 4 alliance by USA, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan must not be viewed as technological alliance; it is a strategic alliance to blind Russia, impede growth of China and make rest of the world dependent on USA led alliance. USA was/is very keen to seek India‟s participation in QUAD because US interests are involved. But in CHIP 4 alliance USA has not deemed it fit to include India.
Hopefully our decision makers are aware of the consequences that we are likely to face with microchip industry of India in its infancy.
Gp Capt. Tej Prakash Srivastava has served in Iraq and is a graduate of both DSSC and AWC. He was Directing Staff at DSSC and Chief Instructor at College of Air Warfare. He Served at Air HQ, commanded a MiG-21 Sqn and headed the IAF establishment of Strike Corps during 'Operation Parakram'. He has authored a book titled 'Profligate Governance – Implications for National Security'. He has written extensively on international and strategic affairs and Defence Procurement Procedures. The IAF officer graduated from the NDA in June 1970 and trained at AFA with 107th Pilots Course. He can be reached at Email: [email protected]