THE formation of the Moscow-Berlin Axis, followed by the conquest of Poland and the attack on Finland, has changed the balance of land power in Asia and of sea power in the Pacific. China's struggle for independence is now more than ever tied up with the fate of Europe, while at the same time the field in which she can manœuvre diplomatically has become even more restricted than hitherto. Though the Nazi-Soviet Pact has deprived Japan of a fickle friend in Hitler, it has at least immobilized two hated rivals, France and Britain. On the United States, too, the "diplomatic revolution" of August 1939 has imposed new hazards and heavy responsibilities.
But with the Chinese the question overshadowing all others is whether Stalin will sell them out. They are in deadly fear that Japan and Russia may yet get together to concoct a pact against them. From the consequences of such a pact the United States could not remain immune: a real Russo-Japanese alliance might well have the United States as its chief victim.
How far will Stalin go? Is there a limit to the new Commu-Nippon courtship, and if so, where? I have asked -- and been asked -- for the answers, from Sian to Hong Kong. Some hasty observers were gleeful when Japanese generals, the cuckolds of Nazi betrayal, ignominiously liquidated their anti-Comintern cabinet, and in temporary confusion restored to the civilian parties a faint voice in Japanese politics. But the generals, or rather Admiral Yonai, may have the last laugh.
The European war has definitely eliminated the remote chance of independent action by Britain and France, two of the three land and sea Powers capable of challenging Japan in Eastern Asia. Today the United States remains the only maritime Power that acting alone can menace Japan; and only Russia can offer a major threat on land. Perhaps only the United States and the Soviets, together with China, could now bring about a speedy humiliation of Japan. Considering such
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