They take the long view. They see history on their side.
—Henry Kissinger, on Chinese leaders (1972)
The Mandate of Heaven does not last forever.
On the twenty-fifth day of the fifth month of the twenty-sixth year of the reign of the Emperor Guangxu, or June 21, 1900, the Empress Dowager of the Great Qing Empire declared war on the world. Qing forces besieged the foreign legations in Beijing. Thus the first world war of the twentieth century took the form of an extended hostage drama—the famous Fifty-five Days at Peking, as Hollywood would later film it—when Charlton Heston and Ava Gardner held out against 450 million Chinese before an international expeditionary force ...