U.S. collaborative-engagement with China using Strategic Technological Collaborative Leadership
Nickels, Michael J.
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China and the United States have taken different paths to arrive at their respective stage of technological development. The United States obtained leadership in technological innovation through its competitive bid to remain technologically superior to the Soviet Union during the Cold War. China developed late, taking a leapfrog approach to play catch-up to the West. This is now changing as Cold War priorities end and globalization provides incentives for off shoring of U.S. technology companies to China. The shift to rely more on Commercial-off-the-Shelf (COTS) for military technology means keeping the United States a leader in innovative, civilian technologies is a security issue complicating this economic interdependence. Since technological interdependence with China is a given, how can the United States compete with China economically, politically, and militarily in East Asia? Export controls, that kept technology out of the hands of the Soviet Union during the Cold War, do not work in a global political economy where commercial competitiveness is so vital and technology rapidly innovates and has global availability. A new comprehensive approach is needed to solve the inadequate dual-use technology export control structure. This new approach is required to meet current and future U.S. security and economic demands. The United States should use Strategic Technological Collaborative Leadership (STCL) to lead the region in finding new technological solutions for the region's environmental and energy demands. STCL would then lend itself to a Collaborative-Engagement policy that would have political, security, economic, and social benefits for the United States and the entire East Asian region. The collaborative structure set up in the United States to support this policy will also provide a comprehensive means to ensure an efficient and effective technology control process. This process would ensure critical dual-use technology innovations stay within the United States and thus preserve the U.S. innovative technology base while minimally affecting commercial trade with China. These policy attributes will be especially important as nanotechnology, which is inherently interdisciplinary and collaborative, brings innovations with the promise of further enhancing this collaborative effort in a positive direction. There is an opportunity to find the maximum utility for this new technology through collaborative-engagement. If this opportunity is not taken, China and the United States, and the world for that matter, could enter a very dangerous period of an arms race based on this potentially deadly new technology.
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