As it has for generations, Iowa will yet again prove the first electoral test to shape America’s future — including its future of competition with China. Republican primary candidates competing for Hawkeye State votes must work to protect America’s technological edge from falling into the wrong hands.
Specifically, candidates should sign a recently-released pledge designed by the Tech Integrity Project. The pledge puts in simple terms what all Republican candidates ought to commit to: “If elected to office, I pledge to prevent foreign investments of U.S. tech companies from aiding our adversaries, like the Chinese Communist Party, and harming America’s economic competitiveness and national security. Specifically, I will do everything in my power to block adversaries from benefitting from U.S.-made next-gen technologies, such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and quantum computing.”
Such a public commitment is urgent and necessary — because the country’s major tech firms have been playing a troubling game of footsie with the Chinese Communist Party. Their weakness is endangering our national security and our economic future, and Republicans must stand up and say enough’s enough.
Consider Microsoft, which has trained China’s military in AI through a Beijing research lab, accelerating China’s development of intelligent weapons systems that could shift the global balance of power against the United States. Microsoft is complicit in the rise of Xi Jinping’s digital dictatorship.
If that weren’t bad enough, the Redmond tech giant is spearheading China’s progress in mass surveillance. Graduates of its Beijing lab have gone on to lead tech firms involved in the brutal oppression of Uyghur Muslims. Over one million Uyghurs are detained in hi-tech concentration camps, subjected to totalitarian social engineering.
Or take Apple, which assembles nearly all of its products in China and has made over $50 billion selling there, to say nothing of the $275 billion they’ve invested in China to “develop China’s economy and technological prowess.” And yet, despite all that, the company lobbied against U.S. legislation aimed at stopping forced labor in China.
And finally, there’s Amazon, which has provided cloud computing services to Chinese military companies, including those selling surveillance cameras used to oppress Uyghur Muslims. This potentially violates U.S. law prohibiting technology exports that enable human rights abuses — grievous activities that demand investigation.
Simply put, Big Tech has run roughshod over our laws and controls in their heartless, gutless pursuit of profits. Oversight and accountability are desperately needed — and Republicans should administer the medicine that the Biden Administration has not.
Candidates in Iowa’s Republican primary need to demand thorough Congressional investigations of Big Tech’s Chinese partnerships, in order to follow the facts and expose how U.S. technology is being weaponized by America’s foremost geopolitical rival. No element of U.S. power should boost the Chinese Communist Party’s dangerous ambitions for regional domination and global influence.
This issue touches Iowans directly. China is on a mission to control the basic technologies that will form the foundation of Iowa’s future economy, including self-driving cars, industrial automation, and precision agriculture powered by AI. By collaborating with China today, Big Tech hamstrings Iowa tomorrow, preventing our state from developing the innovations that will sustain American jobs and competitiveness.
Iowans deserve leaders who will put America first, not weak-kneed pols who kowtow to corporations compromised by Chinese cash. Voters should extract firm pledges from all candidates to use the full powers of public office to sever dangerous technology links between Silicon Valley and Beijing.
Electing candidates committed to technological strength and security will demonstrate America’s resolve. It will force China to reconsider its aggressive policies, from military intimidation to economic coercion. History shows us the way: Technological leadership ensured America’s triumph in the 20th century Cold War against communism. And that same leadership — powered by American values and protected from American adversaries — will ensure freedom’s victory in the 21st century as well.
That leadership begins now, by Iowa Republicans setting the tone for the nation and demanding that candidates take on Big Tech’s ties to America’s enemies. Voters should accept nothing less than an ironclad commitment to wield the full influence of public office against collaborations that strengthen the hand of the Chinese Communist Party. The future of American jobs, competitiveness, and security depend on it.