The results of “the deal” announced between Yevgeny Prigozhin, leader of the mercenary Wagner Group, and Russian president Vladimir Putin are yet to be seen. Prigozhin remains out-of-view, although a meeting of the two supposedly occured but… until the world hears more, we are changing focus. Here’s a bit, megabits, about China — and chips.
An interview with the writer of a recent best-selling book — “Chip War” — captures a strategic conflict that is also, in addition to the Ukrainian-Russian conflict going on 500 days now, raging as “a war”… This other ‘war’, far from Ukraine but not far away at all, deserves focus as it is related to the implements of war. Let us consider a third player in a very real and raging geo-strategic play for power — China — and the race for command and control of the guidance systems for next-gen power.
By Noah Smith Noahpinion@substack.com
NS: The struggle to control the semiconductor industry is one of the most important economic stories in the world today. Whether China can wrest dominance of semiconductors away from the U.S. and its democratic allies, as it has so many other high-tech industries, will go a long way toward determining the military balance of power this century. And the best book you can read to familiarize yourself with the basics of this titanic struggle is Chip War: The Fight for the World’s Most Critical Technology, by Tufts University historian Chris Miller. I reviewed the book here; its place at the top of many lists of the “best books of 2022” was well-deserved. I’m not sure I’ve ever read a book that does such a good job of crafting key events into a tight, readable narrative while also teaching readers key facts about a complex technology.
But what’s even more amazing about Chip War is that the book came out just a few days before the Biden administration launched a sweeping regime of export controls aimed at stifling China’s high-end chip industry. Naturally, Chris Miller has been in high demand since that event, since he’s the expert who’s best positioned to explain those controls to the public, and to predict what they might accomplish. In this email interview, I asked Miller a wide-ranging series of questions about the export controls, China’s efforts at retaliation, the CHIPS Act, the U.S.’ need for semiconductor workers, Japan’s attempts to revive its own chip industry, and more.
Click on the above link to drill down into the strategies, tactics, conflicts and predictions of future outcomes… The Chip War will be a determining factor of a 21st century Tech War.