Editors’ note: Angelo M. Codevilla, who died on September 21, 2021, was reviewing final edits on this essay at the time of his death.

Since few doubt that the increasingly numerous Chinese people are rising in power and self-confidence while we Americans continue to become less and less attached to the values of our own civilization, it makes some sense to ask whether we are doomed to succumb to Chinese civilization. This is especially pertinent given that the way Chinese people live has always been much the opposite of the way Americans want to live.

Does China represent the fatal crossroads of Western civilization? The question, as phrased, calls for an unequivocal no. Americans may well end up living under tyranny resembling that of today’s China. But that tyranny’s core is not...


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