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Podcast: The Geopolitics of Semiconductors

Scholar Chris Miller discusses his new book, "Chip War," and how semiconductor technology has become a strategic asset.
Chris Miller

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By George Leopold

The military and economic competition between the People’s Republic of China and the United States increasingly focuses on semiconductor technology. The U.S. and its Western allies control much of the technology China seeks or is striving to develop.

In his book, Chip Wars: The Fight for the World’s Most Critical Technology, political historian Chris Miller chronicles decades of innovation that have made semiconductors a strategic asset and a new front in a U.S.-China technology Cold War.

Miller, an assistant professor at Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, has written extensively about the geopolitics that shape technological development. In Chip War, Miller documents how the Pentagon and NASA helped drive Moore’s Law scaling at the height of the Cold War.

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Among the transformational players in the rise of semiconductor technology is Morris Chang, founder of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) and the father of the pure-play foundry model. Miller documents how Chang and his contract manufacturing template reoriented the global chip industry while creating vulnerabilities as Western manufacturing capabilities declined.

Miller also offers his perspectives on current U.S.-China technology trade tensions, the likelihood of a China military move on Taiwan, how the West would respond, and what a conflict in the Taiwan Straits would mean for TSMC and global technology supply chains.

Listen to our podcast discussion with Chris Miller here.

George Leopold is executive editor of The Ojo-Yoshida Report. He can be reached at

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