THE glow from the Korean battlefields lights up the whole Asiatic front from Manchuria to Malaya. On certain sections of this front calm reigns--in appearance at least. On others, for example in the Philippines and in Burma, guerrilla warfare is endemic between the native governments and rebel forces. Finally, along two portions of this immense arc, the cold or tepid war has given place to, simply, war. There two Western Powers have engaged their armies. The United States has been fighting in Korea since June 26, 1950, and France has been fighting in Indo-China since December 19, 1946.
The two conflicts differ from each other in many ways. However, each clearly has a place in the same strategic and political complex. They share a basic common factor. Each results from the expansion of Soviet power toward the sea, pushing its satellites ahead, and exploiting against the West the nationalism, even xenophobia, of the Asiatic masses. There is another common factor also. The Government of President Syngman Rhee can no more withstand the assault without external aid than can the Government of Emperor Bao Dai.
It is not by chance that France was the first to have to resort to force in Asia. The United States emerged from the Second World War with formidable military strength and unprecedented prestige. Great Britain, even after such terrible reverses as the fall of Singapore, nevertheless had appreciable forces in the Far East at the time the Japanese Empire collapsed. France, however, had barely regained possession of her own country and was absent from Asia in 1945. Today we know that at Yalta Stalin made strenuous efforts to bring President Roosevelt to eliminate France from the concert of the Big Five. General de Gaulle, then head of the French Government, asked America for ships in order to transport French troops for the occupation of Indo-China after the Japanese surrender, but he was unable to get them. Thus a vacuum was created in Southeast Asia which, it became evident, was favorable to
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