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The newest evil empire: Chinese Communist Party

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.

“We know the history and those of us who have worked with our friends in Israel and have worked on anti-Semitism have talked about never allowing what happened in the 1930s to happen again,” Pompeo said.

Pompeo said the International Olympic Committee has a responsibility to make sure that host for these games deserve it and he believes the Chinese regime certainly does not.

Pompeo was not against having dialogue with the Chinese but that no one should mistake conversations for actions, or words for deeds. The Trump administration’s tough policy included penalizing the communist nation by placing tariffs on Chinese products for violating basic norms for trade.

Sen. Marsha Blackburn has been at the forefront of another sports controversy regarding U.S.-China relations. For almost a year, Sen. Blackburn has questioned why the National Basketball Association would strike a deal with a television company that is at the mercy of Communist China, all while an investigation continues into China’s subversive acts as it relates to the origins of COVID-19.

Last summer, the Tennessee senator sent a letter to the NBA questioning the league’s relationship with China. She suggested that the NBA’s new CCTV deal is a selfish maneuver that comes in the midst of reports that the country hoarded protective equipment, silenced doctors and lied about the risk of human to human transmission of COVID-19.

“While the NBA has worked hard to raise awareness of social issues at home, there is concern that the league has turned a blind eye to human rights abuses committed abroad - even bowing down to pressure last year,” Blackburn stated. “The actions of the NBA and some players have created an appearance that your league prioritizes profit over principle.”

In recent testimony before members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Adm. Philip Davidson, commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, called China “the greatest long-term strategic threat to security in the 21st century” and that it could attempt to take control of Taiwan by the end of the decade.

Adm. Davidson’s ominous words echo the warnings of other senior officials like Pompeo, who said China does present the greatest existential threat to our country and that the Biden administration needs to apply the get-tough policies of the Trump administration to secure American freedom and protect its hardworking citizens.

By Jim Zbick | tneditor@tnonline.com

The foregoing opinions do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editorial Board or Times News LLC.