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This is a vision of Middle Kingdom redux, although couched in bloodless phrasing.
Xi views Taiwan much the same way as Putin views Ukraine — it rightfully belongs to China, and re-taking it will help salve the geo-political and psychological wounds of imperial China’s spectacular descent into disaster and powerlessness. “We cannot lose even one inch of the territory left behind by our ancestors,” Xi told a U.S. official in 2018.
The war in Ukraine shows that when an autocrat ruling a once-great empire speaks in such terms, it is time to arm the targeted state to the teeth and dispense with all illusions.
Rich Lowry is editor of the National Review. (c) 2023 by King Features Synd., Inc.