How the shortage of computer chips could incite the United States to a conflict with China

But Taiwan and its semiconductors are far more important to the US economy than Ukraine, which means it would most likely be much harder for the US to stay out of a conflict involving Taiwan.

Taiwan accounts for half of the global production of microchips essential to the operation of mobile phones, consumer electronics, cars, military equipment, etc. South Korea, the closest competitor, holds around 17% of the overall market. But Taiwan’s chips are the smallest and fastest, and its foundries account for 92% of the most advanced designs.

“It’s nearly impossible to replicate Taiwan’s high-end, low-end chip manufacturing capability,” said Dan Blumenthal, a researcher at the American Enterprise Institute. “It’s just the manufacturing center of the world.”

Although the United States and Europe are trying to stimulate their own domestic semiconductor design and production, they lack the capabilities to mass-produce the more advanced designs that the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, or TSMC, has. can manufacture.

“If the semiconductor supply chain is breached by China in some way, suddenly the things that Americans turn to in their daily lives, to get to and from work , call their loved ones, do a variety of different things, those go away,” Ms Wasser said.

Other experts said it would be an overstatement to say the United States would be embroiled in a war over microchips. China will decide what kinds of coercive measures it will take against the Taiwanese based on the perceived threat to its sovereignty and the expected international backlog, said Bonny Lin of the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

“China will not base its Taiwanese policy, or any decision to use force against Taiwan, on chips,” Dr Lin said. “China is thinking about the costs of an invasion of Taiwan – there are significant political and military costs. That’s why I don’t think bullets would be among the top three factors for using military force against Taiwan.

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