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When Ronald Reagan dubbed the Soviet Union an “evil empire” he was blasted for being inflammatory and was accused of wanting to start a nuclear war with the Soviets. Ronald Reagan negotiated with the Soviets from a position of strength and knew the only language dictators understand is strength, Reagan was going to defend American interests. I, for one, find it dishonest and frankly lazy when someone wants to view every world event through the lens of World War 2 or the Cold War because when a viable threat like China arises, Americans will be caught flat-footed. Here we are caught flat-footed and China is making moves quickly.
Liberal intellectuals will lecture Americans and Europeans until they are blue in the face about the evils of imperialism and there is certainly cause to view empires as a negative force in the world due to a history of human rights violations. The debate about the empires of the past is for another time, now is the time to ask will our intellectual and moral betters say anything Chinese Imperialism? Not really; it is being reported but I think if we have learned in the Trump era we know when the media wants to make something a priority. China slowly trying to take away land from 18 different countries (India and Taiwan are the famous ones) but they are claiming ownership of the entire South China Sea in order to expand militarily and economically.