Courtesy Reuters

The Problem of Revolutionary Asia

OUR military resistance to Communist aggression in Korea has been entirely necessary and unavoidable, yet it has brought with it the danger that American policy toward Asia may become preponderantly military and so defeat itself. May we again win a war but lose the peace to follow? Win the conflict in Korea but lose most of Asia?

It is significant that our military action in Korea since June 25 has been more vigorous and more fully supported by a united public opinion than was our political action there during the preceding five years. We Americans have learned how to fight, even in rice-paddies. But the political problems of revolutionary Asia have largely baffled us. The use of our China policy as a political football in the contest between the Republican and Democratic Parties has been regrettable, if not indeed disastrous; but it could hardly have occurred if the American public had been united in its understanding of the revolutionary process in China.

The unity of the American people on the issue of Korea thus gives us a rare opportunity to develop a more comprehensive and positive policy. This opportunity cannot be utilized, as some suggest, by a sole concentration on warfare in Korea and on mobilization at home. Our weakness in dealing with the Asian revolution in the past has not been solely military or material. It has also been intellectual, psychological and political.

We need to agree upon an analysis of the sources of Communist strength in China, as well as in Korea. We must then envisage more fully the rôle which the American people could play in Asia, if they would, in competition with the Russian influence. How can we relate ourselves more constructively to the forces of social change? How can we forestall the Communist capture and use of these forces for the ends of Communist power?

My own conclusion is that the effort to ally ourselves with "nationalism" in Asia and to use it as a bulwark

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