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In his 1983 “evil empire” speech, President Ronald Reagan referred to the Soviet Union as “the focus of evil in the modern world.”
The 40th president rejected the idea that the world’s top two superpowers were equally responsible for the Cold War and the ongoing nuclear arms race between the two nations.
Instead, he defined that conflict as a battle between good and evil.
Thirty-eight years later at a recent virtual event at the Reagan Institute, Sen. Tom Cotton again resurrected the “evil empire” label, but this time he used it to target the third largest superpower – the Chinese Communist Party.
“We need to beat this evil empire and consign the Chinese Communists … to the ash heap of history,” the Arkansas senator said in an 84-page report. He called the U.S.-China struggle for global dominance a “protracted twilight struggle that will determine the fate of the world.”
The first face-to-face meeting between the U.S. and China since President Joe Biden took office was held last week in Anchorage and the animosity was apparent. Although a senior U.S. administration official said the talks were “substantive, serious and direct,” Zhu Feng, a professor of international relations at Nanjing University, stated that it was not surprising for the Alaska meeting to start with “a strong smell of gunpowder.”
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken accused Beijing of undermining global stability, while his counterpart, Yang Jiechi, said the U.S. – because of its own internal problems – wasn’t “qualified to speak to China from a position of strength.”
Blinken’s predecessor, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, took a hard-line approach while serving under the Trump administration. He even compared the current state of international affairs to what the world was like when Nazi Germany rose to power in 1936.
Pompeo said that permitting China to host next year’s Winter Olympics would give Beijing a credibility boost similar to that enjoyed by Hitler’s Reich after the 1936 Summer Games in Berlin.