Blog Editor’s Note: A disturbing Op-Ed discussing China’s dominance in rare earths and progress on 5G, quickly suggesting that the score might already be 0-2. Or maybe 0-3 if you throw in AI.
However you are scoring, the U.S. is another point down to China in the tech war because of PNT.
And it’s not that Bei Dou is newer than GPS.
China has a Comprehensive PNT Plan announced at Stanford last year. And they are executing it. They have PNT at MEO and are putting it at LEO and GEO. And they are upgrading their Loran system to eLoran and expanding it into the less populated western region of the country. This for the express purpose of ensuring they have PNT independent of space.
Chinese President Xi Jinping told the United Nations General Assembly recently that his nation has “no intention to fight either a cold war or a hot one with any country.”
That may be. But what is really happening is a “technology war.” There is little awareness among the American public about this undeclared war, but it’s well understood in Beijing. The term “Tech War” may one day describe the age we are living in as “the Cold War” did after World War II.
The U.S. record in this rivalry stands at 0-1, or possibly 0-2. The United States lost a major battle that it didn’t even realize it was fighting when China over the past decades established monopolies on several critical rare earth elements and a few other strategic minerals — a topic that this magazine has touched upon several times over the years.
This will prove to be a major strategic defeat as these elements are the building blocks for many of this century’s emerging technologies. Smartphones — and even some U.S. weapon systems — don’t work without them.
Then there is the battle for 5G dominance.