The economic threat to American competition on the world stage has long been looming. When President Trump took the reins, he reversed what he and his supporters perceived as decades of American subservience in the US-China relationship. Trump’s pushback seemed to stymie the growing boldness out of Beijing while reigniting the pursuit of US energy self-reliance and competition.
But since Biden’s inauguration, the atmosphere in Washington can only be described as ambivalent. While Biden has all but erased the US-China policies of his predecessor, Democratic lawmakers have finally begun to act on what their colleagues across the aisle have long been raising the alarm over the threat China poses to American economic competitiveness.
The Endless Frontiers bill proposed last week by Schumer plans to allocate $200 billion to boost American competition abroad. The bill includes a provision of $52 billion for semiconductor chips, which Gordon Chang, an expert on the fraught US-China relationship, told The Cats Roundtable was “a critical vulnerability” due to US offshoring the manufacturing in Taiwan, which accounts for the majority of the world’s semiconductor chips.
“If China ever absorbed Taiwan, that would be the end for chips in the United States,” Chang said. “Americans designed the world’s most sophisticated semiconductors, but we can’t manufacture any of them here.”
Chang has long raised the alarm of the dishonesty out of Beijing in the US-China relationship. Those concerns have only been exacerbated by the pandemic—with calls for wider investigation into the origin of the coronavirus, and perhaps its cover-up, finally being heard by a reluctant Biden White House.
Chang told The Cats Roundtable he believed the evidence showed China turned Covid19 “into a biological weapon” when it “deliberately spread this disease beyond its borders.”
“China actually talked about throwing the US into a quote ‘,mighty sea of coronavirus,’” Chang told The Cats Roundtable. “This is the decade of concern. This is the time when China may actually move against us, because they see we are not prepared to defend ourselves.”
With Biden in the White House, Chang believes China would only ramp up its campaign to undermine US prestige. From the posturings out of Tehran and Pyongyang, to the digital piracy out of Moscow, Chang said Beijing was the real puppet-master the US had to watch.
Closer to home, Chang noted Chinese Fentanyl was killing tens of thousands of Americans a year, while millions of dollars in counterfeit US currency from China was being seized on the border, and the civil unrest that gripped much of the US last year had been partially abetted by Chinese agents.
Perhaps most alarmingly, China is aiming out of Earth’s atmosphere to establish dominance. Chang said China was currently “militarizing low-earth orbit” with a new space station that had the capability of disabling US satellites.
“This is not theoretical, this is happening right now,” Chang warned. “We’ve got to be extremely concerned about what’s happening just above us.”
With US military capability so inter-dependent on our own satellite systems, any sort of attack would severely cripple US capability, in the case of ground conflict.
“It could be, basically, the inability of the US to defend itself,” Chang told The Cats Roundtable, “because we are critically reliant on our low-earth orbit assets.”