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Author sounds alarm on China, implores US to make technology hardware again

Author upset that U.S. now spends 0.6% of gross domestic product on federal support for R&D, compared with 1.2% under Reagan. 

Updated: August 20, 2020 - 11:43pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook


A new book is sounding the alarm against Chinese technological dominance, making the counterintuitive argument the United States needs to make technology hardware again in order to remain competitive in the software space. 

David P. Goldman, author of "You Will Be Assimilated: China’s Plan to Sino-form the World," is upset the United States now spends 0.6% of gross domestic product on federal support for R&D, compared with 1.2% under Reagan.

Goldman argues that China thinks power is the arbiter of world affairs, and that technology is power-- something it learned from Ronald Reagan. Goldman says Reagan won the Cold War with a military buildup that catalyzed an economic revolution. Military research and development produced countless inventions of the Digital Age, from fast and cheap microchips to the internet. The Soviet Union folded in the face of America’s superior arms and entrepreneurial growth. China watched and learned.

Goldman argues that while it has been fashionable to talk of a “new Cold War” with China as another Soviet Union, he says that it’s nothing of the sort. Rather, Goldman thinks that the United States faces a strategic rival that wants to play America’s winning hand in the Cold War, through massive support for dual-use technologies, guided by a Communist legislature that includes more than 100 billionaires. 

China already leads in 5G broadband, building three times as many network towers as America on a per capita basis, Goldman noted, arguing also that Americans tend to think of broadband as a consumer technology and 5G as a faster way to download videos.

"I wrote the book because, although I think President Trump deserves credit for calling attention to our problems with China, we have underestimated the nature of China's intentions," Goldman told Just the News in a video interview. "And we haven't done the kinds of things that we need to do to remain the top superpower in the world. We're losing ground, and I'm alarmed about it. So I want to alarm you and your listeners."

Goldman said that China wants to turn most of the world into "a satrapies of China, make the rest of us the tenant farmers."

"And it wants to do that by controlling what it calls the 'Fourth Industrial Revolution powered by artificial intelligence and fast mobile broadband, that it's very advanced in its plans," Goldman said. "And this would portend a much poorer and less secure and less happy America."

Goldman says that the United States needs to play offense, not defense, and from his vantage point, that means a return to the policies that won the Cold War and made American innovation the envy of the world: Reagan-era funding levels for basic research, Manhattan Project priority for critical technologies like quantum computing and missile defense, a national program for 5G build-out, and a science education program on the model of the post-Sputnik National Defense Education Act of 1958.

"When I was a very young man and did a bit of consulting for the National Security Council, the United States was the wonder of the world," Goldman said in the interview. "We had a massive amount of federal subsidies, going through the Defense Department, to corporate labs, and we invented every technology that went into the digital world, including the internet and telecommunications that we're using right now. The Fast light microchip, lasers, optical networks, displays the internet itself.

"And in those days, we were a magnet for talent. We crushed the Soviet empire by out innovated by making it clear to them they couldn't keep up with us in the civilian economy, and they couldn't beat us in military technology. And now China is trying to position itself to do exactly the same thing. To us through massive investments in new technologies, which will transform the world in the 21st century."