The Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, a $300B+ company accounts for 92% – yep, you read that right – of global advanced semiconductor production capacity, building chips for much of the world’s tech across iPhones, military equipment, cars — you name it.
As the name suggests, TSMC is in Taiwan, which presents a geopolitical conundrum:
- China is threatening military action to gain control over Taiwan.
- Taiwan views its chip supremacy as a “silicon shield” — if China were to attack Taiwan, the US would have to protect it.
- The US is now hedging its bets, committing to protect Taiwan while also pushing both TSMC and US chip companies to start manufacturing stateside. (The Hustle)
What’s being done?
Well, that depends who you ask. In July, Congress passed the CHIPS and Science Act, putting ~$53B toward US manufacturing. Its industrial strategy intent is to revitalize domestic manufacturing, create good-paying American jobs, strengthen American supply chains, and accelerate the industries of the future. While they were at it, the Biden Administration also blocked the sale of advanced semiconductors and equipment to Chinese firms, and restricted US companies and citizens from aiding Chinese chip development. This has seriously pissed off Chairman Xi Jinping in China who is currently working on his revenge.
Which could look like this…
16 PLA aircraft and 3 PLAN vessels around our surrounding region were detected today (Oct. 25, 2022) until 1700(GMT+8). #ROCArmedForces have monitored the situation and responded to these activities with aircraft in CAP, naval vessels, and land-based missile systems. pic.twitter.com/rMcdBxLLRy— 國防部 Ministry of National Defense, R.O.C. 🇹🇼 (@MoNDefense) October 25, 2022
Let’s face it, China will not be scared by anything Joe Biden can offer. The military is busy restructuring for diversity, not a fierce sea and land battle. China doesn’t care about semiconductors. They can make their own in a heartbeat using stolen IP from offshored companies, or have their own Huawei pivot to meet demand. They know that the US will be torn between fighting Russia and China, will probably decide to do both and consign the great democratic experiment to the trash can of history.
At the 20th Chinese Congress last week Xi had his predecessor Hu Jintao dragged out of the CCP conference during a live broadcast, so we can rest assured that Xi is done with the “softer face of Communism” and is in it to win it now. He was crowned “leader for life” of the country’s Communist Party and vowed never to renounce force to retake Taiwan.
#CCP leader #XiJinping is now #China’s most powerful ruler in decades. Surrounded by loyalists, where will he lead the nation?— The Epoch Times – China Insider (@EpochTimesChina) October 25, 2022
New concerns arise over #Taiwan. Chinese army officials who had helped monitor the island have been promoted to top positions. https://t.co/Tv0umydHEZ
Experts are predicting a blood bath and the “worst war in modern history” should China invade, and the US activate the “silicon shield.” Aside from deaths, we can expect a miserable time with shortages as so many items we rely upon are made or extracted offshore. Back here, we can only hope sense will prevail regarding green laws, opening factories, farmland use, fracking and gas extraction.
Oriana Skylar Mastro, a fellow at Stanford University and a researcher at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, is considered one of the world’s leading authorities on China’s war machine.
“What I would say is that some sort of use of force is all but guaranteed,” she told The Sun Online.
She said Xi Jinping didn’t want any military action to be ongoing during the run-up party congress but now “the constraint has been lifted” the risks of an attack on Taiwan has increased.