158 Comments

This dramatic action was clearly a tit for tat response to last week's Saudi oil decision.

Russia has very little bargaining power to effect the Saudi's decision. This move by Biden lends credibility to the possibility that it was really China that moved Saudi's hand. The fact that it was announced right before China's Party Congress is awfully symbolic too. (vs US midterms)

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A trade war with China will not be good for US inflation.

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Would have been good to have some sort of breakdown of what you expect the response to be. China will want to hit back I assume? Rare-earths or something of that kind?

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When I heard about this move, I wrote a short post more focused on what the Chinese response might be.

As well, I was and am highly skeptical of the timing of this and suspect there was a lot of political motivation vis a vis the midterm elections.

Your take is more trusting than mine.

https://robertsdavidn.substack.com/p/did-america-declare-war-on-china

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The fly in the ointment for me is that all this new policy does is slow down China; it doesn't prevent it from developing the capacity it seeks. I believe the Brits tried something similar 200 years ago with us. It didn't work.

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If the U.S. emerged from its America centric view of the world, it might find a different China. Does China compete specifically with the United States, or, as Korea and Japan, compete in a global system (nothing better than competition say the U.S. economic pundits) with all nations? Does China, which is willing to export its rare earth minerals to the U.S., deserve to be denied computer chip facilities because it may use the these chips in military applications? The facilities may produce chips that strengthen military, but isn’t China military strong enough without the special chips. The Hong Kong debacle illustrates the slanted view of China. Before the protests, according to the Heritage Foundation (conservative think-tank), Hong Kong was #1 in the Freedom Index for 15 years running. The protestors wanted to make Hong Kong freer than free and succeeded in making Hong Kong less free – great accomplishment. During the massive protests, not one protestor was killed – compare that to the many protestors killed in U.S. protests.

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Big idea with zero strategic objectives communicated to the American people. Biden is obviously looking at this from the

perspective of corporate graft and domestic politics rather than foreign policy. Hey- what could happen?

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I snicker when I read the part about China lacking semiconductor fabrication equipment. They already have much of the equipment and with economic war declared, I am sure they will have no qualms about reverse engineering anything they need. The U.S. offshored their chip business to Asia years ago and are not likely to get it back. Japan, S. Korea, and the two Chinas will continue to dominate well into the future. The U.S. is shooting itself in the foot with this move and will make the coming recession even worse for itself.

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Is the goal really only to prohibit China's military use of the technology or is it to kneecap the Chinese economy in general by depriving Chinese companies of access to important components? Given the timescales at which weapon systems are developed, produced and deployed I'm skeptical that setting their technology back five or ten years is going to do much to reduce China's militarily capacity?

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It's insane that people see the prospect of war against nuclear-armed China as a given. As if we didn't have enough with dealing with climate change. Our leaders are going bonkers, and are determined to take us all down with them even before global warming does.

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Just a thought - will export controls back-fire and end up pushing China to invade Taiwan to capture its semi-conductor facilities/hardware?

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I don't think this timing with the CCP Congress is coincidental. It's a signal to the party elites that a third term with Xi at the helm would be going down a bad road.

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As with Edward Snowden, seeing that the government is actually doing something positive is rare and quite nice.

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You evil paranoid bastards. So now the world is split into two, again.

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Fascinating work! Particularly on speed at which the expiration date of our computer chip economic weapon was falling. I really love the import graphic you put in this, it highlights so well how reliant they are at the moment on our chips. I wish I wouldn't have seen that sooner.

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