Will the F-35s get off the ground?

For the most part, Czechs who cheered on Senate Pres. Miloš Vystrčil’s visit to Taiwan in 2020 also cheered on this week’s visit of U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. The stakes for Czechs are higher this time. Will Pelosi’s visit speed up what some Czech sinologists are already expecting: An attack on the island by the People’s Republic of China? This perceived threat is accelerating efforts by U.S. lawmakers to secure sufficient chip-making capacity at home. In its latest Industrial Capabilities Report to Congress, the U.S. Defense Dept. says that current suppliers of semiconductors in Taiwan, South Korea, Malaysia, and elsewhere are in “easy range of Chinese missiles, subversion, or air or maritime interference” and that Beijing is “already in a position, through its geographic and political position, to threaten virtually our entire supply chain.” The CR is preparing to commit to buying F-35 fighters without knowing whether the U.S. will have the computer chips to get them in the air.

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