Washington’s approach to maintaining its technological monopoly through sanctions rather than fair competition is hindering its own goals and failing to yield the desired results. The US has been using its control over fundamental chipmaking patents and equipment to blacklist Chinese and Russian companies, as well as pressuring other countries to do the same. However, these actions are proving ineffective as countries like China and Russia are finding ways to develop their own microchips and overcome these restrictions.
China, for example, is investing in RISC-V, an open-source chip design architecture, to develop its own homegrown chips and evade US export rules. Similarly, Russian companies are developing capable RISC-V cores despite threats of being cut off from chip development as punishment. These breakthroughs highlight the limitations of Washington’s strategy.
The US’s reliance on sanctions as a “quick fix” solution to problems is a product of the unipolar era, when the US enjoyed comprehensive dominance. During that time, sanctions were an effective tool to isolate and cripple smaller countries due to the massive power disparity. However, in today’s multipolar world, where power is more distributed, it is much harder for the US to enforce and secure cooperation on sanctions from countries outside its sphere of influence.
The delusion of unipolarity and the assumption that American adversaries are incapable of innovating has driven the US to pursue a strategy of expanding technological embargos instead of engaging in fair competition. The belief that the US can maintain its advantages by decoupling technologically from its adversaries is flawed, as it underestimates the capabilities and resources of countries like China.
Moreover, by overtly weaponizing the global semiconductor supply chain, the US has not only damaged its own technological monopoly but also disrupted the global supply chain. This has forced other countries to pursue self-reliance strategies, which will further diminish American dominance in the long run.
In trying to preserve its monopoly and hold back multipolarity, the US is swimming against the current. The world has changed, and the US must adapt its strategies accordingly. It is no longer possible for the US to dictate the rules of the game and expect other countries to comply without resistance. The focus should shift from preserving dominance through sanctions to fostering fair competition and innovation, which would ultimately benefit all countries involved.
In conclusion, Washington’s reliance on sanctions to maintain its technological monopoly is proving ineffective and counterproductive. The world has shifted towards a multipolar reality, and the US must adjust its approach to embrace fair competition and innovation. By continuing to pursue a strategy that overlooks the capabilities and resources of its adversaries, the US is not only limiting its own potential but also damaging the global semiconductor industry.