A supply-chain “strike force”, and the problem with allies

Shortly after election, US President Biden enacted an executive order to perform a 100-day review of critical supply-chains. The report was released in June, and one of the outcomes of the report was a trade “strike force”, which is supposed to look for anti-competitive practices that have hollowed-out the US supply chain for a number […]

Latin America Is Swinging Left

Usually, when we get news of politics in Latin America, it’s about one of the dictatorships and a stolen election. But recently, some of the more stable, democratic countries have started to make choices that look odd from the outside. First, there was a presidential vote in Peru a few weeks ago, and the two […]

The Quad

No, I’m not talking about the square at your university. Back in November, I pointed out that one of the key unknowns for the next four years was going to be Biden’s stance on China (“What will a Biden presidency mean?”, newsletter #52). We’re starting to get answers to that question. In addition to his […]

National Tech Wars

It’s been clear for a while that the major world powers are going to need to do something about securing their own technological future in a world of competing nation-states (“The resurgence of national tech wars,” newsletter #53). One of the things that has come out of the global pandemic, beyond the generic need to have […]

Australian news war escalation

It looks like Australia is going forward with their ridiculous news law (“If Australia doesn’t get their act together, they may lose all news”, newsletter #44). It passed their House of Representatives this week, and looks set to pass the Senate. It’s perfectly reasonable to have a discussion around how to save news; and it’s perfectly reasonable […]

The on-going game with China

Perhaps the biggest thing to happen last month was that the US declared China’s treatment of the Uighurs as genocide. To be honest, I don’t know how much freedom the US State Department has in making this sort of declaration. Was it something the State Department did independently? Or was it a last-minute poke at […]

What to make of the Parler shutdown

In the wake of the “assault” on the US Capitol (in quotation marks, because if you look at the video footage, it really seems a lot more like LARPing than an actual attempt at insurrection), everyone was all abuzz about how the social-media giants were handling Trump’s accounts (Twitter gave him a “permanent suspension” (I […]

China and the opportunity for Britain

This week saw more anti-democracy arrests in Hong Kong, Trump signing an executive order banning Ali pay (the Chinese PayPal) and seven other apps, and another executive order “blacklisting” 35 Chinese companies, which caused the SEC to flip-flop, but ultimately ended with the NYSE deciding to delist three Chinese telecoms. On the other side of the Atlantic, after 35 […]

“Afghan lives matter!”

Make no mistake, the Chinese government does not do things by mistake. Trade tensions between the US and China have grown substantially during the Trump administration, but China has also been engaging in a bit of a trade war with Australia, with the latest move being a tariff imposed on Australia’s wine — for which China is the […]

The future of free trade

For all that Donald Trump is a buffoon, he had some big successes (from a U.S. point of view), particularly with regard to international trade. His renegotiation of NAFTA is almost certainly an improvement, and his hard stance on trade with China was a long time coming. That said, he made a number of strategic […]

Privacy, Profit, and Tech Regulation

Every country is going to regulate tech —and they’re not going to do it in the same way the US is; nor do they necessarily care what the US does. The EU is well down this path, as I’ve written before. A lot of that regulation is about protecting user privacy. Apple announced a bunch of […]

The resurgence of national tech wars

It used to be the case that much of “high tech” was considered a national security issue. This wasn’t just about ballistic missiles and targeting software. Today, everyone has strong encryption, but through the 1990s, cryptographic software was considered “munitions”, and was strongly controlled. The same applied to microchips. With the collapse of the Soviet […]