5.4.1. Embargoes make dictatorships stronger (禁运使独裁更强大)

The keyword attack is basically an embargo.

There is already a lot of literature about this, especially in the cases of Cuba and North Korea. It is basically a libertarian vs conservative/Cato vs Heritage thing in the US:

The key dilemma is:

  • if we keep contact with the Dictatorship, maybe its people will see that democracy is better and start a liberating revolution

  • if we keep giving technology to the Dictatorship and it does not become a democracy, we are making a Dictatorship more technologically advanced, and therefore dangerous

Some interesting aspects of the keyword attack embargo:

  • it is immediately self-enforcing: we don’t need politicians to decide and enforce the complex "if you do this, we punish you like that" question.

    By political and technological information is together, and this immediately puts the dictatorship in a bad spot, without us having to decide anything.

  • by affecting programmers in particular through Stack Overflow and GitHub, we make them more likely to develop better Firewall climbing tools themselves

One point in favor of the embargo is that China has opened up since the '80s '90s, but did freedom improve at all? Under Xi Jinping (习近平, 2012-∞, Heil卐!), it may be argued that it did not, and maybe that we should just stop feeding them technology and accept that they won’t become free.

Trump’s 2019 China trade war, and in particular the Huawei (华为, Chinese Qualcomm) ban, is an event that has brought this question to the spotlight once again.