H.R. McMaster at National Review:
President Ronald Reagan’s speech in June 1987, delivered in the shadow of the Berlin Wall, is immortalized because of the exhortation, “Mr. Gobachev, tear down this wall.” Those words and that speech are often credited with accelerating the collapse of the Soviet Union and the West’s triumph over communist totalitarianism because they invoked confidence that freedom would triumph over tyranny. The Berlin Wall is an apt, albeit inexact, analogy for the Great Firewall of China, the combination of laws and technologies designed to isolate the realm of the Chinese Communist Party from outside influences. One was meant to keep people in, and the other is designed to stifle freedom and prevent unsupervised personal interactions that might spark opposition to authoritarian regimes. To understand how to compete effectively with today’s most powerful authoritarian regime, leaders across the free world might reflect on how Reagan’s speech at the Brandenburg Gate clarified the nature of the competition with the Soviet Union, drew a strong contrast between democracy and autocracy, provided a positive vision ] for the future, and spoke directly to the people on the other side of the wall.
[The180-kilometer-long strait that connects the East China Sea and the South China Sea … marks the most consequential political obstacle between peoples who share a common culture — much as the Berlin Wall did during the Cold War. Taiwanese appear as today’s West Berliners because Taiwan’s successful democracy exposes the CCP’s lie that the Chinese people are culturally predisposed toward not wanting a say in how they are governed. Reagan expressed respect for Berliners in 1987, noting “the feeling of history in this city, more than 500 years older than our own nation.” Leaders across the free world today might show respect for the Taiwanese and all Chinese people by acknowledging that China’s recent history — from the Republican Revolution of 1911 to the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989 to the Hong Kong protests of 2020 — reveals the CCP’s Leninist system as unnatural and sustainable only through oppression. Like West Berlin during the Cold War, Taiwan’s vibrancy and openness can provide hope to those who, from Xinjiang to Hong Kong to Tibet to Beijing, might otherwise despair. The Taiwanese people need, as West Berliners did during the Cold War, the support of the free world to counter the CCP’s aggression and deter conflict at a dangerous flashpoint that could lead to a devastating war.