NEWSFLASH: Former National Security Advisor On Fox Business: Breaking Up American Technology Companies Would “Turn Over The Playing Field To China”
The U.S. is at a critical inflection point in its innovation race with China and the economic and national security stakes are higher than ever. China announced in 2020 its plan to invest $1.4 trillion by 2025 to compete with the U.S. in key technology fields, such as AI, 5G, and quantum. A new Harvard research paper raises the alarm that China is poised to overtake the U.S. as the global leader in advanced technologies. National security leaders across the political spectrum have argued that America must take a smart approach to tech regulation in the face of this emerging geopolitical threat.
Yet Congress is considering antitrust legislation that would disadvantage America’s leading technology companies—further emboldening Chinese competitors, says former US National Security Advisor Robert C. O’Brien. In a Wall Street Journal op-ed and Fox Business interview, O’Brien cautions against congressional anti-U.S. tech legislation that would place the U.S. technology industry at a “structural disadvantage” compared to its Chinese rivals:
Breaking up American technology companies would “turn over the playing field to China” on advanced technologies like quantum computing, AI, and machine learning: “What we can’t do is destroy these companies or break them up so that we don’t have the scale to do the research in quantum computing which is extraordinarily expensive, and AI, and big data, and machine learning. We need these companies here in the US and we ought to be able to regulate them here. If we break them up, we turn over the playing field to China. You’ll have Tencent, Alibaba, and Tiktok running the tech world and doing exactly what Beijing bids them to, as opposed to American companies.”
Antitrust bills in Congress would handcuff the U.S. technology industry by limiting M&A, breaking platforms, and giving advantages to foreign competitors: “The bills would limit the ability of the US tech industry to engage in mergers and acquisitions; actively promote the disaggregation of platforms; and require data interoperability that ultimately gives an advantage to foreign tech competitors over US firms.”
The Senate Judiciary Committee ignored criticism of the House’s approach from national security leaders and introduced bills that would damage American technology companies while leaving Chinese rivals untouched: “Despite significant criticism of this approach from national security leaders, members of the Senate Judiciary Committee have introduced bills that are nearly identical to the House legislation. These bills hit only American companies while leaving Chinese tech rivals—including those with significant US operations like Tencent and TikTok—untouched. Writing laws that directly benefit Chinese and other foreign tech competitors is not how to compete with China.”