CHINA: Crisis

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In this struggle, the Communists have won a notable victory, not only because of their aggressive policies, but because the Nationalist Government has refrained from throwing its full strength against them during the war against Japan. The Communists now claim control over 80,000,000 Chinese, domination of much of occupied China (Hopei, Shantung, Kiangsu, Anhwei, Chekiang). Their infiltration of these areas has been achieved by driving out not Japs but Chungking's guerrillas and entire administration.

Chungking's military intelligence claims to have captured many Communist High Command directives to its military and political workers. One was Yenan's plan for the capture of political power in northern Kiangsu—a Chungking area: "First, create unrest in the region and unite the small local Communist bands into large units. Through local unrest, we can go forward with our regional work, start opposition to the Nationalist Government, store up grain and accumulate cash by taxation. Second, . . . sudden attacks . . . selecting the lightly defended areas held by the Nationalist troops as our targets. ... Third,... encirclement and coup d'etat. We shall occupy the whole of northern Kiangsu with all forces at our command."

Certainly it is true, as General Stilwell and others have complained, that Chiang Kai-shek has kept Chungking armies blockading Yenan. But blockading is better than open civil war. For Yenan is also a war front. If Chiang relaxed the blockade, perhaps all of China would ultimately be lost to the democratic cause.

Catastrophe. In U.S. Foreign Policy: Shield of the Republic, Walter Lippmann has pointed out that there are two powers for which the U.S. must always go to war when their existence is threatened. One is Britain. The other is China. For 100 years the chief object of U.S. Far Eastern policy has been to keep aggressors from taking over China. It is still the chief object of U.S. Far Eastern policy.

No one would deny that Franklin Roosevelt, following the traditional path of U.S. policy in the Far East, has consistently wanted, if not consistently worked for, a strong, independent, democratic China. But the Stilwell incident was a blunder of the first magnitude.

If the rift in U.S.-Chinese relations were not quickly repaired, both China and the U.S. would be the losers. For China, the loss might be great. For the U.S. it might be catastrophic. For if Chiang Kai-shek were compelled to collaborate with Yenan on Yenan's terms, or if he were forced to lift his military blockade of the Chinese Communist area, a Communist China might soon replace Chungking. And unlike Chungking, a Communist China (with its 450 million people) would turn to Russia (with its 200 million people) rather than to the U.S. (with its 130 million) as an international collaborator.

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