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Opinion
Hal Brands

America Enters the Era of Technopolitik

The U.S. has long relied on a geographic network of friends, but the future of multilateralism looks very different.

Military intelligence?

Military intelligence?

Photographer: Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images

Since World War II, the U.S. has been a geopolitical superpower because it is a technological superpower. Today, however, America’s dominance is coming under pressure, as China makes a play for supremacy in many of the key technologies that will shape the balance of economic and military power in the 21st century.

The U.S. has never faced a competitor quite like this: An authoritarian regime that dwarfs America in population (as well as in the amount of data that population produces) and also possesses a fairly robust innovation ecosystem.