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The Communist Takeover in China is the Better Parallel to the Ukraine Crisis

An obviously fatigued but resolute Joe Biden on Friday afternoon sent a familiar message to Vladimir Putin, warning that an invasion of Ukraine would launch “a catastrophic and needless war of choice.” Putin’s target is not just the border regions, he said, but the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv—a “rapidly escalating crisis” that, to those of us following from home, sometimes has the grim inevitability of a train wreck. No wonder the World War II analogies are inescapable.

Putin’s disinformation campaign echoes the Nazis’ fabrication of an ersatz Polish attack on a German border radio station to justify their September 1, 1939, invasion. Kyiv resembles Paris in June 1940 as German troops neared. Yet in Paris, even as policemen carried rifles ostensibly to shoot down parachutists, the cafés were open late, and proprietors ransacked their cellars to reward loyal customers with their best bottles. It is not without inadvertent irony that Vice President Kamala Harris is conferring with our European allies at an annual security conference—in Munich, Germany.

But there are obvious limits to these World War II parallels—too many to name. In fact, another 1940s global cataclysm seems far more apt for Americans confronting the sad-eyed fate of Ukraine.

In late 1949, the Chinese Communists took control of the mainland as Chiang Kai-shek and the battered Nationalists retreated to Taiwan. The victory of Mao Zedong prompted right-wing Republicans to create a slogan that fueled conspiracy theories for more than a decade: “Who lost China?” By May 1950, the liberal Washington Post editorial page was loudly lamenting the potency of this McCarthyite question: “So much pain and passion is evoked in Who Lost China! that the man from Mars would think that nothing less than a piece of American territory had been stolen. It is as if a sort of California had been severed from the Union.”

Of course, China was never ours to lose.

Read entire article at The New Republic