On the second day of the new year, Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered a speech in which he called for the fulfillment of the "historic task" of reunifying Taiwan and the mainland, by force if necessary. Days later, Taiwan's president appealed to the international community for help.

The situation is dire. In mid-January, the Pentagon released a report titled "China Military Power," whose "most concerning" conclusion, according to a senior defense intelligence official, was that Beijing might soon trust its military capabilities enough to invade Taiwan.

Taiwan's friends in America have proposed that President Tsai Ing-wen be invited to address a joint meeting of the U.S. Congress, a stunningly provocative move from Beijing's perspective. Odd, too, since America doesn't recognize her government.