Danilin Ivan
The U.S.-China Technological War: Digital Technologies as a New Factor of World Politics? // Russia in Global Affairs. 2021. Vol. 19, Issue 4. P. 78-96. DOI 10.31278/1810-6374-2021-19-4-78-96.
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DOI 10.31278/1810-6374-2021-19-4-78-96

The technological war, or Tech War, as part of the geopolitical conflict between the United States and China raises a range of questions for researchers, the most important one being the role of digital technologies and markets in international relations and world politics. The article studies the motives and objectives of the Tech War and its long-term effects using available academic literature on sanctions and research data on the digital economy and high-tech markets, including the political aspects of the U.S.-China rivalry. Analogues from the Cold War and other conflicts suggest that the economic purpose of the Tech War is to limit China’s capacity in the long term. However, the new realities transform both the instruments and goals of the traditional superpowers’ economic withstanding. The importance of information and communication technologies (ICT) and the rise of the digital economy have made traditional geopolitical and market (commercial) dimensions of the conflict intertwined with high technology seen as a strategic resource and a separate area of conflict. As for the role of digital technology in world politics, a reverse process is observed: its importance is growing due to the traditional (geo)political factors, including securitization of the digital sphere, enhanced by the narratives of new technological revolutions. These factors increase the intensity of the Tech War since competition in high-tech markets is perceived as a zero-sum game. However, in the long term, the globalized, highly internationalized nature of digital markets and technologies may lead to the normalization of global processes and world politics.


Keywords: U.S. | China | technological war | digital technologies | global high-tech competition | geopolitics |



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