ASIA: The Testing Point

Twentieth century dictators are specialists in setting up awkward gambits for their opponents—confronting them with the choice of fighting over unattractive terrain for inconsequential gains, or making what proves to be a humiliating and costly retreat. Hitler was a master at it, but the Communists have dramatically advanced the technique. Last week they confronted Chiang Kaishek, the U.S., and the Western alliance with a hard choice over a tiny Pacific island named Quemoy.

A physical and psychological thorn in Red China's side for five years, Quemoy Island is a bleak, treeless patch...

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