Archive for December, 2010

The fall of the GMD

Monday, December 13th, 2010

Bonus question.  What do the stars stand for?  Extra secret double bonus question?  How do you reconcile the answer to the first question with your understanding of Marxism?

Terms in this chapter that I count;

Guomindang                 CCP                Chiang Kai Shek

Mao Zedong                George Marshall           Lin Biao                       fabi

Deng Xiaoping       PRC                Liu Shaoqi                Zhou Enlai 

So askl yourself, what did Lin Biao do here?  What about Deng Xiaoping and George Marshall?  Keep focused on the terms and their relation to the chapter and you’ll be fine.  Good luck!

China in WWII

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

The above image, part of the hagiography of Mao, the Long March, is something referred to again and again, as it was here, in your first chapter of Spence.

A word of advice with Spence.  K.I.S.S.  Is “Suiyuan” one of your terms?  No.  Is Chahar one of your terms?  No.

Your terms are, in this chapter;

Guomindang                 CCP                Marco Polo bridge                   Chiang Kai Shek

Long March*               Burma Road     united front                              

“New Fourth Army Incident”                Gen Joseph Stillwell                  “Hongkew”

Mao Zedong                    fabi

So, place each of them in context in the chapter, the fabi is the Chinese currency, part of their nationalism, that the Japanese seek to undermine.  The “united front” is the alliance of the nationalists and the communists against the Japanese which is effectively ended with the “New Fourth Army Incident.”

Keep an eye on those terms.  They should make life easier here.  Questions, comments, confusions?


Friday, December 3rd, 2010

“When North Korea unveiled a secret uranium-enrichment facility with thousands of centrifuges last week, and then shelled a South Korean island, killing four people and wounding eighteen, it seemed like a reasonably safe bet to dust off the seats at the U.N. Security Council in anticipation of a powwow. Perhaps even an earnest conversation. Or, dare I say it, a statement.

And yet, day by day, that prospect has slipped further out of view. ”

The above quote is from FP magazine’s “Duck and Cover” blog and is of course exploring not just Korea, but the UN’s role, which is very interesting, sine the UN had such a role in the conflict 60 years ago.

“Truman won” Ambrose said and yet here we are, 60 years later, worried about war, in Korea and beyond, so I ask… did Truman (we) really win?  MacArthur of course wanted to invade China.  What might have happened then?  Attlee wanted “peace”,  but then confrontation in Europe.  What might have happened then?  Once North Korea crossed the 38th parallel Truman got his bow wrapped gift top sell NSC-68 and create the military-industrial complex that so dominates our life today.

What exactly did we win?


Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

If you’re following the news these days you should recognize the photo here.  This is Korea now.  Over 60 years since the conflict began, North Korea just shelled South Korea and killed four persons.  China has asked for calm and talks but the US and South Korea have refused saying, in essence, that this sort of action goes beyond talking.  There is a US aircraft carrier right now patrolling the coast.  The war began back in the era of Stalin, and Truman, may end now, in the era of Obama and Putin.  Let’s hope cool heads prevail.

No peace was ever signed in 1953.  There have been conflicts before most natably the “god-damned tree” incident, as I heard it called at a Society for Historian of American Foreign Relations meeting, which is worth a look.

Here, in Kissinger, you need to see him, gleaning lessons for us, from Korea, vis-a-vis Vietnam, and US actions there 20 years hence.  We will bomb North Vietnam, the infamous X-mas bombings, not just during, but after peace negotiations had supposedly been concluded, to avoid what he points out here as American ignorance to halt aggression and allow an almost defeated enemy to dig into positions of strength.

What other lessons does Kissinger have for us here in this early Cold War conflict, that has gone on, like Iran, and Cuba, to extend for beyond the Cold War years?