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Extraordinary protests in China, the most consequential since the Tiananmen demonstrations of 1989, threaten the rule of the Chinese Communist Party. Risking torture, long prison sentences, and worse, the Chinese people are now taking on the regime that misrules them.

Expect ruler Xi Jinping to roil the world as he tries to distract 1.4 billion Chinese from his disastrous COVID and other policies at home. As a result, the world’s most populous state has rarely been this unstable and never more dangerous.

Unfortunately, the Biden administration is not prepared to deal with the greatest challenge to America and other free societies this century.

At this moment, countries near China face unprecedented dangers. Nearby Japan is particularly concerned. That’s why the American Conservative Union is proud to co-host, with the Japanese Conservative Union, the fifth annual CPAC Japan. CPAC Japan brought together national security perspectives from Europe, Latin America, Asia, and the United States. Participants are bound together by a determination to defend their societies from militant states.

Joe Biden, campaigning for president, criticized President Trump’s successful external policies. In office, Biden has presided over one foreign policy disaster after another. The catastrophic withdrawal from Afghanistan last year, for instance, led directly to one of the greatest failures of deterrence in American history, namely Russia’s February invasion of Ukraine.

Moreover, Russia and China are forming a new axis, which is relentlessly taking on the post-war international system. For instance, Beijing evidently greenlighted the Ukraine invasion when it formed with Moscow, less than three weeks before hostilities, a "no limits" partnership. Since then, China has supported the Russian war effort across the board. The world has never been more at risk.

Biden’s weakness has led to this disastrous situation. America’s partners now question the capability and credibility of the United States as an ally, and the failure to maintain confidence could not come at a worse time.

At the moment, Vladimir Putin is positioning his nuclear weapons for possible use in Eastern Europe. China, his close supporter, has been issuing nuke warnings at the same time, particularly against Japan and Australia. North Korea, for the first time, this year threatened the first use of its nuclear arsenal.

To make matters worse, China’s regime is threatening Taiwan, India, the Philippines, and South Korea, in addition to Japan. Yes, Xi Jinping is moving against all these neighbors at the same time.

We should not be surprised. Xi revealed a dark vision of the world during his address opening the Communist Party’s 20th National Congress in the middle of last month. During the "Work Report," as the speech is formally called, China’s dictator stated that history demanded that the People’s Republic of China annex Taiwan.

Taiwan plays a critical role in the security of Japan, America’s "cornerstone" ally. The two island nations, after all, form a single archipelago, and the Taiwan-Japan archipelago forms the northern and central portions of America’s centuries-old western defense perimeter.

Despite the heightened risk, Biden, with both his policies and his neglect, is weakening America’s land, sea, air, and space forces, something evident from the Heritage Foundation’s 2023 Index of U.S. Military Strength. "As currently postured, the U.S. military is at growing risk of not being able to meet the demands of defending America’s vital national interests," the report concludes. The frightening decline in strength comes at a time when China has made it clear that it is no longer deterred by the United States.


China’s regime, therefore, is particularly aggressive now, something evident from its attacks on democracy in general and America’s democracy in particular. Thanks largely to China, 2022 marks the 15th consecutive year of a decline in global freedom according to Freedom House’s ratings. The future does not look bright for those who insist on living in freedom.

Adversaries everywhere are taking advantage of the situation. Some analysts are comparing this time to 1937, when the world was on the eve of momentous events. Europe and America were in special danger then. War was tearing apart East Asia.

Yet in 1937 there was still hope that the worst could be avoided, that great armies and navies would not clash around the world. There was still a feeling that the danger would somehow be managed.

As we now know, the worst did happen. In fact, what happened was far worse than anyone at the time imagined. Militant states would soon join together and attack civilization. In our time, we similarly hope we can avoid simultaneous conflicts on both ends of the Eurasian landmass.



A person holds a banner during a protest in solidarity over the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions in mainland China, during a commemoration of the victims of a fire in Urumqi outside the Chinese consulate in Toronto, Ontario, Canada November 29, 2022.  REUTERS/Chris Helgren (REUTERS/Chris Helgren)

To preserve the peace, the free world must rebuild defenses and reestablish deterrence. We do not have a moment to lose.

Therefore, Japan and the United States, with friends and partners, must stand together and be prepared for anything. We at CPAC believe that strong leadership is absolutely critical. And we know that CPAC Japan continues to be the place to hold the essential discussions to preserve liberty and democratic governance.

Those discussions have never been more important. The Chinese regime, under assault at home, is on the eve of destabilizing the world.

Matt Schlapp is chairman of CPAC and author of The Desecrators: Defeating the Cancel Culture Mob and Reclaiming One Nation Under God.