“The Empire, long divided, must unite; long united, must divide.”
The Supreme Leader instructs his men to eliminate the Republic. That’s not just a major part of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, it has also been the state of relations on the Korean Peninsula and in Greater China at various times in the past century.
Contrarian critics have defended the Empire as a righteous nation trying to defend itself from terrorists, but as episode VII shows, it could just as well be a Communist thugocracy. Throughout the series relations between the Empire and the Republic are like relations between the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of China (Taiwan). Taking a long view (and why not considering the Galactic Republic existed for 25,000 Star Wars years), Star Wars is really the story of the never-ending quest to unify (and expand) one’s empire, the very history of China.
In Jonathan V. Last’s seminal piece in the Weekly Standard “The Case for the Empire,” Last argues that the Galactic Republic before Palpantine’s rise, otherwise known as the Old Republic, was a tyrannical and inefficient behemoth that opposed the rights of the Separatist planets to secede and form the Confederacy of Independent Systems (CIS) in Attack of the Clones.