In terms of shaping the balance of power, microchips are the new oil—the scarce resource on which the modern world depends. Today, military, economic, and geopolitical power are built on a foundation of computer chips. Virtually everything—from missiles to microwaves, smartphones to the stock market—runs on chips. Until recently, America designed and built the fastest chips and maintained its lead as the predominant superpower. Now, America's edge is slipping, undermined by competitors in Taiwan, Korea, Europe, and, above all, China. Today China, which spends more money each year importing chips than it spends importing oil, is pouring billions into a chip-building initiative to catch up to the US, even as its growing military might makes it conceivable for Chinese leaders to dream of seizing Taiwan. At stake is America's military superiority, economic prosperity, and its technological future.
Chris Miller is Associate Professor of International History, where his research focuses on technology, geopolitics, economics, international affairs, and Russia. He is author of Chip War: The Fight for the World's Most Critical Technology, a geopolitical history of the computer chip. He is the author of three other books on Russia, including Putinomics: Power and Money in Resurgent Russia; We Shall Be Masters: Russia's Pivots to East Asia from Peter the Great to Putin; and The Struggle to Save the Soviet Economy: Mikhail Gorbachev and the Collapse of the USSR. He has previously served as the Associate Director of the Brady-Johnson Program in Grand Strategy at Yale, a lecturer at the New Economic School in Moscow, a visiting researcher at the Carnegie Moscow Center, a research associate at the Brookings Institution, and as a fellow at the German Marshall Fund's Transatlantic Academy. He received his PhD and MA from Yale University and his BA in history from Harvard University. For more information, see www.christophermiller.net.