…the era in which the United States could stop China’s rise simply by cutting it off has largely passed … China today already has most of the raw ingredients for technological success, and the haphazard cutting of bilateral ties would likely be counterproductive. Instead, the United States should take targeted action to maintain Chinese dependence on foreign technology while continuing to attract and engage with Chinese innovators.

Matt Sheehan, “The Chinese Way of Innovation,” Foreign Affairs, April 21, 2022

Thought provoking article by Matt Sheehan in Foreign Affairs today (with free access) taking on the highly integrated nature of  technology ecosystems (as Beijing would put it), technology competition with China, generating technology innovation at home, and the complex policy package that will be needed for the U.S. to respond appropriately to all of this.

Matt advocates for a multifaceted approach including experimenting “with new ways of incentivizing technology development” at home and basing U.S. competitive policy on a macro understanding of China’s technological rise and “the steps the Chinese government took to encourage the development of one of the world’s most dynamic innovation ecosystems.”

So is this the answer to Digital China? Not yet, but it’s sure a start.  We’ll need more work on framing the full scope of Digital China.  And we need more work on understanding China’s objectives – and our own.  The question, and answer(s), are daunting. But I am glad to see smart people are thinking and writing about it. Well worth your time to read this one.