America Must Innovate or Die

By | 2017-06-02T18:30:05+00:00 October 7, 2017|
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America is in decline. Since the end of the Cold War—thanks to the fecklessness of our political and business leaders—every single competitive advantage that the United States enjoyed has been methodically eroded by our competitors.

In the economic realm, America’s elite convinced themselves it would be acceptable essentially to redistribute wealth and middle class jobs to China and India. They promised us that in exchange for shedding antedated “old economy” jobs, we would be getting high-paying, “knowledge economy” jobs in return.  Anyone living in the United States outside of the wealthy coastal enclaves knows this was a false promise.

Now even those enclaves are at risk. According to latest global tech innovation survey from the global consulting firm KPMG, China is “now closing the gap with the United States in leading the development of disruptive technology breakthroughs.” The global consulting firm interviewed 841 of the world’s leading tech executives, who also believe that Shanghai is the “city that will rival San Francisco, along with California’s Silicon Valley, as the world’s leading innovation hub over the next four years.”

The reason?

As the United States has embraced fads and adopted mediocre academic standards across the board, the Chinese have forced their people to study the technical and math-related fields that are vital for dominating the global knowledge economy.

China has also fed their young people a hefty helping of  “wolf’s milk”—that is, nationalism and the politics of historical grievance against the West. This, in turn, has created a fiery patriotism that now drives the Chinese people to innovate. In the United States, meanwhile, our kids are taught stifling lessons in political correctness and moral relativism. Patriotism, meanwhile, is out of fashion among the elites in education, entertainment, and industry. Is anyone surprised that KPMG’s survey indicates that China is taking the lead in technological innovation?

At the same time, America’s once-robust investment into research and development has declined precipitously just as China’s investments into new technologies has exploded.

This has profound economic and national security implications for the United States.

We soothed ourselves at the start of the millennium that our innovators were and always would be the greatest in the world. Our technological superiority was backed by overwhelming military dominance. For a period of time, America enjoyed a “unipolar moment.” We were Colossus bestriding the world. No one dared challenge us.

But by 2003, those days were numbered. Not only had America made itself vulnerable to China’s unremitting economic warfare, but the U.S. had been left to bleed in the Middle East. With the 2008 Great Recession, the West’s once-unquestionable economic dominance became highly questionable, empowering the East. Now, all of the trends are working against the West and in favor of the East, with China leading the way.

In 2008, China invested heavily in the Quantum Internet. This is an instantaneous, un-hackable, truly disruptive communications system. It relies on string theory to manipulate particles at the subatomic level across vast distances. The Chinese use this as a means of transmitting large volumes of virtually un-hackable data at instantaneous speeds. From this discovery, also, the Chinese have created an entire ecosystem of quantum-based computer technologies, such as the quantum radar, which can detect any American stealth plane from afar (such as the hugely expensive F-35 Joint Strike Fighter). Most experts in the West argued that the quantum internet could not work. The Chinese poured billions into the project anyway.

Last month, China’s Micius Quantum Internet Satellite passed its first live test. It works. The experts were wrong—again. Western companies are lagging behind, too skittish to make the large upfront investments into the technology.

In today’s world, you innovate or die. It would seem many Western corporations have chosen death. After the successful proof of concept, China doubled its investment and plans to streamline the new technology and mass produce it.

Keep in mind that since the telecommunications revolution in the 1940s, the United States has enjoyed a silent lead over all other countries in the national security realm. The National Security Agency, which is America’s most technologically advanced spy agency, has had unprecedented levels of access to information since its inception in 1952. Signals intelligence has proven decisive over the years. In fact, we are so good at acquiring electronic intelligence that we often don’t have enough analysts to process all the data!

It’s a commonplace that the internet has revolutionized the world. But Americans may not appreciate the extent to which the United States was responsible for making that revolution happen. Thanks to this, American intelligence agencies had an historic strategic advantage over other states.

Imagine the implications behind China mastering and disseminating this “killer app” to a world grown weary of U.S. dominance. This yet another sign of America’s decline. Our military is overstretched and underprepared; our economy is plodding along at 2.6 percent growth rates; and our political system is completely broken.

Innovate or die is no longer just a slogan reserved for Silicon Valley—it applies to us all. Right now, America is choosing death.

About the Author:

Brandon J. Weichert
Brandon J. Weichert is a contributing editor to American Greatness. A former Republican congressional staffer and national security expert, he also runs "The Weichert Report" (www.theweichertreport.com), an online journal of geopolitics. He holds master's degree in statecraft and national security from the Institute of World Politics in Washington, D.C. He is also an associate member of New College at Oxford University and holds a B.A. in political science from DePaul University. He is currently completing a book on national security space policy due out next year.
  • Haga Akane ✓ᴰᵉᵖˡᵒʳᵃᵇˡᵉ

    I must partially disagree with this article. Although Mr. Weichert’s assessment of the United States is pretty good, this notion China is some great hub of innovation is just off.

    China has about the same good and bad structural issues which propelled Japan to become an economic powerhouse in the 70s and 80s. On the up side, there is a well skilled, disciplined workforce, a highly educated elite adept at spotting trends and with an ability to improve on existing ideas. But on the down side, the society offers little flexibility, discourages free thought and entrepreneurship beyond the uppermost echelons, is very indulgent to inefficiencies which will keep a static culture static, low birth rates, etc. About the only thing China has Japan didn’t was some level of natural resources within its borders.

    This quantum internet thing is a classic example and meshes up with Japan’s experience with industrial operations and telecommunications. As best I can tell, quantum internet arose out of the US or at the minimum the West and the Chinese are running with the concept at a faster pace. That’s not much different than Japan picking up on focusing on quality assurance and customer satisfaction in producing stuff or Japanese telecommunication managers poaching the dormant texting software from the US and along the way improving it as an alternative to their brutally expensive cell phone service. In the end, the Japanese crashed and burned because they couldn’t adapt to a changing information based economy.

    I expect the Chinese can be brought to heel in the same way the Japanese were. The question is can we still pull something like that off?

    • Skinner

      “The question is can we still pull something like that off?”
      – Yes

    • tassius

      I think the analogy is closer to being the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union was country with political institutions that were tyrannical and yet it was able to have rapid economic growth just as China has. Khrushchev even went before the United Nations to bang his shoe and say he would bury us. Then they pulled ahead in the space race and missile technology. This was all pushing down the same technological path. Then there was rapid disruptive change. We embraced it and came out on top. Because of China’s political institutions, it is highly unlikely that it will.
      That doesn’t mean, however, that we haven’t become more brittle; that our political institutions are not extremely corrupt. It is an open question as to whether our institutions will do well and permit the next round of disruptive change whatever that happens to be. Our political institutions are trying to push certain changes that may look like disruptive changes (think of all the green initiatives, electric cars, etc.) that are not market based and make little economic sense. They are buying off powerful political interests (e.g., Elon Musk and Silicon Valley) in the business sector which is a sure sign of how extractive our institutions have become.

    • Cybergeezer

      China’s proficiency at counterfeiting products unique to other Nations is well established.
      If this ability is considered “innovation”, then the U.S. will never catch up.
      The U.S. is too deeply involved in prodigious social engineering.

  • Skinner

    Whatever you say, chicken little…………….

  • Brett baker

    With even Google finding out there is no escape from SJWs, we might be in trouble. But that might wake enough people up to make the necessary changes. Even then, I’m worried it’ll take a lot of “2 to the body, 2 to the head” to save us. But if we’re still #1, it’ll be worth it.

  • USInfidelPorkEater

    Not one soul from another country has caused the U.S. lose its preeminence. Our downfall is all our own. We have done it to ourselves. Some of us are not to blame but many of us are. Just one example: Tricky Dicky went to China and opened up the floodgates of trade between us and China. By buying all of that cheap stuff from China we have built China up while at the same time tearing us down. It is our money that has revived China’s economy, military and military hardware. Oh! and don’t forget their subs and new aircraft carriers. What we haven’t given them they have stolen, especially our military and production secrets. Their leaders have been emboldened by our stupidity.. Our leadership and big business has caused that stampede to crash our middle class. Think about all of the years when the balance of trade was so out of balance. Not just a little but billions. Until and unless we change our attitude toward unifying our nation again we will continue down to that third world class. You may not like Trump but he is right when he says all of our national policies should be America first.

    All of this was a direct result of spineless eunuch politicians and greedy businesses.

    • zoomie

      Michael Pillsbury wrote a book, published in 2015, titled ” The Hundred Year Marathon “.

      The details are staggering. It is basically a 200 page apology written by a member of the power elite. He was at ground zero, worked the field his entire career in China policy.

      If there is a library that has it nearby, get it. Buy it otherwise. Caution, you may only be able to stomach one chapter at a time before your blood boils.