The United States has a history of putting rivals on the world stage in a corner economically, obligating them to make the first moves to war.
One of the most famous examples of this strategy came on July 26, 1941.
On that date, President Franklin Roosevelt introduced sweeping economic sanctions and asset seizures against Japan.
As a result of those sanctions, “Japan lost access to three-fourths of its overseas trade and 88 percent of its imported oil,” according to History.
Needing oil to maintain its military might, Japan had little choice but to declare war on the West and mobilize its imperial fleet against the United States less than five months later.
According to CNBC, the United States now appears to be utilizing the same strategy against China in the form of heavily restricting chip and semiconductor exports to the country.
While access to petroleum was crucial to militaries in the 1940s, access to semiconductors is crucial for any modern military to maintain its formidability on the global stage.
According to CNBC, the U.S. Department of Commerce recently introduced strict rules and licensing requirements for chip exportation to China with the apparent goal of cutting the country off from access to chips used in supercomputers.
CNBC implied that the justification for these sweeping regulations relies heavily on the belief that semiconductors can and will be used for “advanced military capabilities.”
Abishur Prakash, co-founder of the Center for Innovating the Future, told CNBC, “With the latest action, the chasm between the U.S. and China has now expanded to the point of no return.”
“The latest chip rules are a sign that Washington is not trying to rebuild relations with Beijing. Instead, the U.S. is making it clear that it’s taking this competition more seriously than it ever has, and is willing to take steps that were once unthinkable.”
Pranay Kotasthane, chairman of the high-tech geopolitics program at the Takshashila Institution, told CNBC that these regulations would “hobble” China’s domestic chip manufacturing.
It is alarming to contemplate what options China will have if it wishes to continue supplying its military with advanced chips that have just become astronomically expensive for the nation to obtain.
CNBC noted that Taiwan and South Korea — countries that are less than friendly with China — currently dominate the chip industry. According to another CNBC article, Taiwanese manufacturers in 2020 accounted for over 60 percent of global revenue brought in from the manufacturing of semiconductors.
Tensions between Taiwan and China have grown steadily since the beginning of the Biden administration, with China increasing military drills near Taiwan.
It would not be a stretch, then, for China to use these new restrictions as a pretense to invade the chip-rich island nation if tensions do not de-escalate quickly.
The ball has most definitely been put in China’s court, and these new regulations symbolize a dramatic shift in U.S. policy towards the People’s Republic.
Let us pray that history is not repeating itself now that the U.S. has chosen to put China in the same corner that it once put Japan.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.