Geopolitics of TikTok
Since India’s announcement banning TikTok and other Chinese apps in June, there has been talk of similar actions by the US. US President Donald Trump is doing one better than India. Like Delhi, Washington too is citing national security concerns about the widespread use of Chinese apps.
What is the US planning to do?
- Rather than simply ban TikTok, Washington is “persuading” ByteDance, the Chinese internet company that owns TikTok, to hand over its business to the US technology giant, Microsoft.
What does it say about the US-China relationship?
- The ‘deep state’ in Washington appears to have made up its mind on the urgency of coping with the Chinese digital threats.
- The new American consensus appears to be in sync with India’s own recent turn towards decoupling from China and the plan to rearrange its digital engagement with the world within a framework of trusted political partnerships.
- Although total digital decoupling between US and China might take a long time, if it happens at all, new rules are emerging to define terms of engagement. Many in Washington are now convinced that it was a terrible mistake for the US to have believed that global trade and technology flows after the Cold War were geopolitically neutral.