During the Cold War, the United States made the sensible decision to restrict the export of advanced military technologies to its chief strategic rival, the Soviet Union. In contrast, U.S. high-tech firms now need access to large and growing markets in China in order to fund the research and development that keeps them at the cutting edge of information, communications, and space technologies. Meijer charts an admirably clear path through the technological and bureaucratic complexities of his subject to show how U.S. export control policy evolved over 30 years in the direction of “higher walls around fewer items.” Under this policy, the United States has sold China a widening range of dual-use technologies, hoping to provide American firms with the financial resources to “run faster” in the innovation competition with China. The policy remains risky and has long caused controversy in the executive branch and in the U.S. Congress. But Meijer’s analysis suggests that technological and market developments have left American policymakers with few alternatives.
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