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TSMC, the catalyst for war?

26 March 2021

The USA has held the title of world superpower and tech supremist for many years now.

Of course there are niches within the technology world where other nations have secured their own "world's best" status but looking at the bigger picture, the USA has been world-leading since at least WW2.

That situation is changing now -- and changing a lot faster than I think anyone in the USA would like to acknowledge.

I'd go so far as to say that it's only a matter of time before China bumps the USA off its podium and claims the crown.

We're already seeing China do some pretty impressive "space stuff", for a nation that was little more than a collection of provinces engaged in subsistence food growing.

Also, while Tesla and others proudly cite the number of EVs they're making and selling, China has quitely, silently, almost "under the radar" taken far greater strides to electrify its vehicle fleet.

When it comes to electronics you'd have to have been living in a cave for quite a few years now not to recognise that China has gone from being a manufacturer of low-quality "knock-off" copies to a nation with its own powerful design, development and innovation capabilities.

Even more importantly, China has cemented itself as an unavoidable key element of the supply chain used by many western tech companies and much of our communications infrastructure is reliant on gear that proudly carries the "made in China" sticker.

It is obvious that the US government has woken up to the massive threat (to its pride, if not its security) that reliance on Chinese technology now represents. As a result, we saw the Trump administration place bans on a number of Chinese companies and tariffs on others.

I can't help but feel a little uneasy when I see where this is leading.

China's military technology appears to be advancing in leaps and bounds and while the USA still holds a useful lead, the gap is closing very fast and China has the undoubted advantage of having far more capacity and manpower than the USA could muster right now. I am picking that within a decade, China's military might and tech capabilities will match, if not exceed, that of the USA.

The worrying thing is that such a change in the balance of military might could easily lead to people in power making very bad decisions.

"If we don't act now we might never be able to defend ourselves against this threat" is the sort of thing I could see bandied about within the USA's halls of power.

"We now have the strength to move against the USA and destroy forever its threat to our global expansion" may similarly be spoken within the ranks of the CCP.

Power is a huge motivator and a huge force for corrupting commonsense and logical thinking. Whether it's the prospect of losing power or the opportunity to increase one's power -- it is a prime motivator for evil.

As someone who has a huge number of friend in both the USA and China (thank you internet), I would hate to see the "average person" fall victim to the follies of their leaders.

One can't help but wonder whether "fake news" has less to do with the veracity of a story than it has to do with whether it fits the narrative that government wants to tell. Misinformation, disinformation and propaganda have traditionally been the tools that those in power have used to rally their people behind their ideologies and goals -- regardless of the true motivations.

It's been quite a while since the last "world war" and I certainl hope that it's a long time before the next one (if there is a next one).

Right now my biggest fear in that regard is that I'll wake up one morning to the news that China has invaded Taiwan using its military muscle and the USA is about to retaliate.

That is because if *I* was a power-hungry CCP member I would be very much aware that in today's tech world, the nation that controls TSMC controls the world.

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