“Daniel Russell, a former U.S. assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, sees Xi’s fulfillment of a domestically popular mission to unify the motherland as one of several echoes of Russia’s 2014 move on Crimea. The ‘muscular assertion of sovereign power at a moment of weakness at home’ is another. Putin had been struggling with low approval ratings since returning to power two years before and could ill afford to appear weak, after losing a struggle to keep the pro-Russia President Viktor Yanukovych in power in Russia’s neighbor and former colony, Ukraine. He, too, accused the U.S. of engineering the pro-democracy protests in Kiev that brought about Yanukovych’s fall.

“The final echo of Xi’s Hong Kong move is that ‘like Crimea, it is a step that no other country is strong enough to reverse,’ according to Russell, now vice president for international security and diplomacy at the New York-based Asia Society Institute. Congress and the Trump administration are considering sanctions…”

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