THERE is a great deal of wishful thinking concerning the outcome of the present Sino-Japanese conflict. Some observers insist that American economic and financial interests in China are not in danger because the Japanese Army can never really impose its will on that country. Others maintain that even the destruction of Chiang Kai-shek's National Government would not threaten American interests because Japan has neither the economic resources nor the technical ability to exploit the fruits of a military victory. Still another school of thought not only accepts the possibility of a Japanese victory but argues that it would bring positive benefits to American business by increasing American exports to a new China developed under Japanese control. It is my conviction -- arrived at after several months spent last year in both the free and occupied parts of China, in Manchuria, and in Japan -- that all such reasoning rests upon a number of false, or at least very questionable, assumptions and that we must make a more realistic appraisal of present developments in the Far East.
It is by no means a foregone conclusion that Japan will be unable to carry through her plans for the conquest and pacification of a substantial part of China. Though Chiang may possibly keep the Japanese from making further large-scale advances, his armies do not appear to possess enough power to force their withdrawal. The Chinese may have ample equipment for defensive and guerrilla warfare, but they are deficient in the artillery and aircraft necessary for an offensive campaign. Free China has great difficulty in obtaining supplies from abroad, and her remaining lines of communication are, at best, very precarious.
If the Japanese Army is forced to withdraw, it will be (1) because China receives more help from third Powers than hitherto, or (2) because Japan is subjected to severe economic pressure by the Western Powers, or (3) because the Japanese themselves come to the conclusion that their economic structure will no longer support the burden of the
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