War, Trade and Utopia

Economic interdependence leads to peace, say the globalizers. Think again, and examine the U.S.-Chinese connection.

Issue: Winter 2005-2006

IN THE spring of 2001 Andrew Grove, the chairman of Intel, made a remarkable statement. Any conflict in or around the Taiwan Strait that resulted in a break in trade, he said, would result in the "computing equivalent of Mutually Assured Destruction." The implication, at least for the vitally important electronics industry, was that the production systems of the United States and China had become entirely intertwined and interdependent.

Equally remarkable is how little attention this statement, by one of the world's most well-known industrialists, has received in the four years since. In part, this was a matter of timing. At the moment Grove spoke, the focus was on the diplomatic crisis that erupted after a Chinese fighter jet collided with an American spy plane in April 2001. Soon thereafter, the attention of the United States shifted dramatically, first to the attacks of September 11, then to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

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