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It is an unfortunate axiom of nationhood that adjacent states are the most likely to serve as foes rather than allies due to competition over natural resources.

Which of the following substitutions best captures the meaning of the underlined word?

A touching (D)

Adjacent means next to or abutting. In the case of countries, adjacent states necessarily share a border. Choices A and B are possible if two countries are next to one another, but it is not necessarily true. Distant carries the opposite meaning of adjacent.