US Help Red China Revolt?

During WWII, the US helped Chinese Nationalists resist the Japanese.  Soon after the war, Communist rebels took over China.  Did the US assist or resist communists taking over China?  Wikipedia seems to disagree with my colleague Gordon Tullock.  Wikipedia says:

The Soviet Union provided limited aid to the Communists, and the United States assisted the Nationalists with hundreds of millions of dollars worth of military supplies and equipment (now surplus [Communist] munitions), as well as the airlifting of many Nationalist troops from central China to Manchuria.

Wikipedia elaborates:


In Manchuria the Japanese surrendered to the Soviet Union. … [Soon after] the 700,000 Japanese troops stationed [there] surrendered. … [Nationalist leader] Chiang Kai-shek realized that he lacked the resources to prevent a [Communist] takeover of Manchuria following the scheduled Soviet departure.  He therefore made a deal with the Russians to delay their withdrawal until he had moved enough of his best-trained men and modern material into the region. [Nationalist] troops were then airlifted by the United States to occupy key cities in North China, while the countryside was already dominated by the [Communists]. The Soviets spent the extra time systematically dismantling the extensive Manchurian industrial base (worth up to 2 billion dollars) and shipping it back to their war-ravaged country. …

The total Soviet weaponry and Japanese weaponry captured by the Soviet Union that was given to the communists was only enough to equip … a mere 20,000 communist troops out of a total of 400,000 … and the Soviet aid to Communists completely stopped by the end of 1947. … The United States assisted the [Nationalists] with hundreds of millions of dollars worth of new surplus military supplies and generous loans of hundreds of millions of dollars worth of military equipment. 

But in chapter 3 of his book Open Secrets of American Foreign Policy, my colleague Gordon Tullock, an almost-Nobel-winner who was back then a US diplomat stationed in China, paints a different picture:

With the collapse of Japan and the invasion of Manchuria by Russia, everyone tried to occupy the newly vacated areas.  The Communists withdrew the bulk of their forces into Manchuria where they were re-equipped by the Russians, mainly with Japanese arms. … The nationalists then moved north and invated Manchuria.  The Communists tried to stop them and at Su Pin Kai the Nationalists won a major victory.  The United States quickly slammed an arms embargo on the Nationalists.  What led General Marshall to do this has never been explained.  …

I remember seeing a newsreel in which reporters asked President Truman why he was trying to set up a coalition with the Communists in China and trying to prevent similar coalitions in France and Italy.  He responded simply by saying that a coalition between the Nationalists and Communists in China was very important … Chaing, now being short of ammunition, sopped his offensive in Manchuria and began efforts to negotiate a coalition with the Communists, essentially because he thought it was necessary for even reasonably good relations with the United States.  He even arraigned to elect a national assembly.  The embargo stayed on.  The communists, having plenty of ammunition, refused to negotiate on a coalition, and switched to the offensive. … The embargo … was only relaxed after the outbreak of war in Korea. …

I sometimes hear that the United States gave the Nationalists $10 billion in arms after the Japanese surrender. … All of the equipment left on the Pacific Isles when our troops went home was given to the Nationalists about two years later. … It was … auctioned off to junk dealers in the United States … total receipts from the auctions was about $200 million.  Since this money was in the United States, it was subject to the embargo and could not be used to buy … military supplies. 

Tullock goes on to describe how US diplomats in China personally favored the communists.  Even if the truth is somewhere between these pictures, it seems quite at odds with the usual US-fighting-communism story.

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  • http://lightskyland.com Matthew C.

    According to Moldbug, Foggy Bottom has always tended to support the communists. . .

  • http://blog.greenideas.com botogol

    Just as British experiences with the IRA in the 70s and 80s were quite at odds with the normal US-fighting-terrorism story. (If you think terrorists are scary, imagine US-funded terrorists…)

  • Constant

    What is it with the odd grammar of many titles in this blog?

    Title: “US Help Red China Revolt?”

    Seems to omit the words “Did the.” Alternatively, could have been written, “US Helped Red China Revolt?”

  • josh

    I know you are busy, but have you edited the wikipedia story to include this perspective?

  • Alex J.

    Who says the US Gov’t acts as a unitary body? It’s plausible that the US diplomats in China at the time favored the Communists. Recall that Alger Hiss worked for the State Department at the time.

  • Nick Tarleton

    bogotol: link? A search only turns up discussion of funding of the IRA by private US organizations (admittedly, without interference by the US government).

  • Andrew Clough

    Many people on the ground in China during WWII favored the Communists as allies against the Japanese because the Communists were relatively competent and the Nationalists were relatively incompetent. For instance the communist generals didn’t have to be given cash bounties to be persuaded to let the high command use their forces in battles. I can’t really speak about what happened after the war, however. Most of what I know about the situation comes from Barbara Tuchman’s biography of Stillwell, which I’d heartily recommend.

  • Former 1L

    Mr. Tullock may think Gen. Marshall’s actions “have never been explained” but the explanation I have heard is that most of the US government had become convinced that further aid to Chiang would be money down a rathole, and that significant amounts of US-provided materiel was in fact ending up in Communist hands.

    Having glanced through the rest of Tullock’s book, I am reluctant to accept his characterization of the US policy as an “embargo” at face value. Tullock says, quite incorrectly, that the US had imposed “what amounted to a blockade on Japan” by late 1941 and that therefore “since blockades are normally thought of as acts of war (it was possible to do it at long range, like the British blockade of Germany in World War I), it could be argued that we initiated the war” (pp. 43-44). Tullock also quotes the laughably hoaxed “memoirs” of Heinrich Muller, which claim (as Tullock fails to mention in discussing their credibility) that Hitler escaped from Berlin and got safely to Spain (see p. 6).

    I respect Mr. Tullock’s contributions to economics but see little reason to take any statement in this particular book very seriously unless well-sourced (unlike most of the book).


    Former 1L

  • http://entitledtoanopinion.wordpress.com TGGP

    Freda Utley wrote a famous book about just this claim. It was called The China Story. I wrote a short review of it here.

  • http://unqualified-reservations.blogspot.com Mencius

    1L and Andrew Clough, I definitely suggest you follow TGGP’s link. Consider it a credibility contest: Tuchman vs. Utley. If nothin’ else, it’s girl on girl.

    “Who lost China?” Basically, what’s creepy about modern history is this phenomenon in which the discredited hard right wing of early postwar American politics appears, in hindsight, to have been – well – right.

    The tone of this review makes me pretty confident that Professor Hanson has never read, say, None Dare Call It Treason, or any of the other old Bircher classics. (My absolute favorite is Sisley Huddleston’s France: The Tragic Years, a defense of Vichy France by an American reporter who actually lived in Vichy France.) Perhaps my perception is wrong, but I certainly don’t perceive Professor Hanson as a close student of Robert Welch.

    And yet he seems to come to the same conclusions – at least, if he had any preinstalled view of the dispute which conflicts with Tullock’s recounting, he does not mention it. Of course, perhaps Professor Hanson should just be reading more Barbara Tuchman. I am certainly not claiming that he is right about everything. It is just an interesting data point.

    Because normally when you look at history, you don’t think of it as a discipline in which accurate views are discredited, reviled, and forgotten, and inaccurate ones are widely published, professed in academia, and generally distributed to the public. I would be very curious as to whether Professor Hanson can find a history textbook that shares Professor Tullock’s primary-source perspective on the events of 1945-48 in China. Or, of course, Freda Utley’s. My guess would be: no.

    As for George Marshall, he is a bit of a mystery. I think the best picture on Marshall is given in the memoir of his subordinate, General Albert Wedemeyer (Wedemeyer Reports). Wedemeyer – no fan of Marshall’s China policies – was in general an admirer of Marshall, but admitted that Marshall revealed nothing of his private life or personality. I don’t think it will ever be possible for historians to say anything conclusive about the professional relationships of, say, Marshall and Lattimore. (The conclusion that Lattimore was an “agent of influence” strikes me as pretty sound.) The simplest answer may be that if George Marshall knew one thing, it was how to find the people with real power and get on their good side, and when he was at State he just let State do its thing.

  • http://unqualified-reservations.blogspot.com Mencius

    BTW, the story about the Communists being competent and the Nationalists being corrupt and inept has a grain of truth in it.

    It’s important to recognize, first and foremost, that this tale was and still remains State’s cover story for their general culpability in the sack of China. As Utley recounts, the Kuomintang were doing quite well against the Reds until State, in Steve Ballmer’s wonderful phrase, “cut off their air supply.” (It was more than just an aid cutoff, it was a full weapons embargo – Chiang’s government, which had been an American client state for decades and was publicly acclaimed by FDR as one of the four great powers of the world, was not permitted to buy weapons from anyone.) The death of the Chinese Republic was not a stab in the back – it was a shot in the neck.

    Nonetheless, as Tullock recounts, the people involved in these policies did not in any way think of them as evil. Nor were the “China hands” of the State Department ignorant of the reality of the place – in fact, many of them were children of Protestant missionaries in China. The US’s relationship with China in the 20th century was always split between two communities: the businessmen, and the missionaries. Basically, the missionaries won. Communism is generally recognizable as Puritanism for export, and Chinese Communism especially so.

    For anyone who was forced to read Pearl S. Buck’s nauseating The Good Earth in high school, this is the missionary perspective of reactionary old China. Chiang, while originally a darling of the export-democracy crowd, by 1945 had come to represent the last remnants of the old regime in China. This simply could not be allowed to survive in the American Century. And, yes, the KMT was very reminiscent of the old regime in, say, France – corrupt and inefficient. Bourbonesque. Everyone was on the take. But that didn’t mean nothing got done. Everyone is on the take in the PRC today, and where was your iPhone made?

    The grain of truth is that the Communists were certainly less corrupt. But, as they soon demonstrated, this is only because they were more evil. History also provided another object lesson in the survival of the KMT on Taiwan (no thanks to Dean Acheson). If China has recovered to some extent from the disasters of Mao, this is because the PRC has imitated the KMT – certainly not the reverse. (American influence in China has always been nefarious and subversive. Without it, there might still be a Qing dynasty.)

    But the fact that the KMT could not fight a war without bullets does not provide any Bayesian information about its ability to fight a war with bullets. In fact, in 1946, if you believed that the struggle for power in China should be settled by violence, you were on the side of the KMT – presumably if they had actually been weaker than the Communists, they would have been suing for peace. The retroactive judgment that might makes right, so easily discerned in the Wikipedia case against Chiang, is extremely typical of State Department information tactics: almost impossible to follow, but breathtakingly ruthless once you do follow it. If State is truly responsible for the crimes of Mao, its institutional guilt is surely in the same class as that of the SS.

    BTW, Herbert Hoover (of all people) in his biography of Woodrow Wilson reveals that the relationship between the US and the Russian Revolution was pretty much the same. Britain and France were working with the Whites and pretty close to suppressing the whole thing, when Washington threatened to call their loans Suez style.

    What most Americans still don’t understand about the Cold War is that Americans who worked with the Soviets before the US-Soviet split did not consider themselves Soviet tools. Oh, no. To them, the Soviets were the tools. And indeed in Russia itself, the fact that their regime was part of a grand international movement, not some shabby peasant uprising, was always essential to the Bolsheviks’ story. It is simply impossible to imagine Communism without the international influence of the United States in the first half of the 20th century. It’s as American as apple pie.

    I know a little bit about this because my father’s parents were CPUSA members. What their work in the party gave them was access to a social circle about three floors up from what you’d expect for a small-time Jewish garment manufacturer in Brooklyn. Their Party friends were not other Yiddish tailors. One was, for example, an international film distributor. People in the arts or with artistic pretensions, very rich people, etc. Conclusion: the higher up in American social status you get, the more lefty the lefties. Wouldn’t one expect a nation’s “apolitical,” “nonpartisan” foreign policy institutions to reflect this bias? Indeed one would. So the truth should be no surprise at all.

  • Former 1L

    I have read Utley’s book. She confirms some of my doubts about Tullock’s work–there was no “embargo” that lasted until the Korean war.

    The progressively rising difficulties between Chiang and the Roosevelt and Truman administrations are well known to those familiar with East Asian history. I don’t agree that Robert Welch’s interpretations of the period have been borne out; Welch called Marshall a Communist agent. This has not been supported.

    The analogy between the SS and the US State Department is completely unconvincing–members of the SS committed millions of murders. I am unaware that the same is true of the State Department, although I would view evidence to the contrary with interest.

    Much of the Wikipedia material quoted by Hanson is accurate–the US did provide massive sealift and airlift assistance to Chiang in the immediate aftermath of the Japanese surrender. Chiang’s problems in Washington came later.

    Political disputes are quite common in historiography. The southern white supremacists were able to get their version of the US Civil War’s origins to be the standard account for a surprisingly long time. And, more recently, I think it very likely that the USA’s postwar leadership will be more harshly judged with regard to its policies toward the USSR and the Chinese Communist Party–although this may be countermanded (in the PRC case) by the continuing power of the at least nominally Communist leadership of China.

    In just about any revolution, there are those claiming that they were on the verge of victory had not their supporters abandoned them (I have read claims to this effect by Tories in the soon-to-be USA, for instance). The Whites in Russia are no exception. They may or may not be right, but I’m not inclined to take Herbert Hoover as the final arbiter of that question.


    Former 1L

  • http://unqualified-reservations.blogspot.com Mencius

    I have read Utley’s book. She confirms some of my doubts about Tullock’s work–there was no “embargo” that lasted until the Korean war.

    As anyone who has actually read Utley’s book knows, this is a deliberate distortion of it. Quite typical, I’m afraid.

    Welch called Marshall a Communist agent. This has not been supported.

    Nor has it been refuted. History is about comparing possible pasts, each of which must be weighted equally.

    Nor am I postulating that Welch is infallible. I am claiming that, in any dispute between the Barbara Tuchmans and the Robert Welches of history, it is your postulate that the Tuchmans are infallible. One white raven refutes the claim that all ravens are black.

    The southern white supremacists were able to get their version of the US Civil War’s origins to be the standard account for a surprisingly long time.

    That’s because the southern white supremacists were right. For a corrective, try George Lunt’s Origin of the Late War – published in Boston, I’ll have you know, in 1866. Were you in Boston in 1866? And if not, what are your grounds for assuming that your perspective of events is accurate, and Lunt’s are not?

    Herbert Hoover was there, too. After the Great War, he was the man who fed Europe. And he didn’t much mind telling Europe what to do, neither. Whether Hoover allowed the American Relief Administration into a country pretty much decided whether its government stayed or fell. So yes, in fact, his opinion is indeed germane. But I see you know him only from the caricatures. Your condition is, again, not atypical.

  • http://unqualified-reservations.blogspot.com Mencius

    Also, it was Eisenhower whom Welch accused of being a Communist agent, in The Politician. I am not inclined to believe this about Ike, but there certainly could have been some kind of relationship with his brother Milton. Milton was an OWI man, and the OWI was red to the gills.

    The figure who accused Marshall was, of course, McCarthy – although the speech, later distributed as a book (America’s Retreat from Victory), was actually ghostwritten. By J.B.Matthews, I believe, though I would not swear to this.

    Both works are a lot of fun for the 21st-century reader. I recommend them highly, not because I guarantee that everything they say is true, but because their general hit rate is high enough to keep one in a pretty continuous state of suspense. Another fun book in this category, although later, is Curtis LeMay’s America Is In Danger. You can pretty much get all of this stuff on Amazon for a penny – so there’s just no reason not to.

  • Former 1L

    Me: I have read Utley’s book. She confirms some of my doubts about Tullock’s work–there was no “embargo” that lasted until the Korean war.

    Mencius: As anyone who has actually read Utley’s book knows, this is a deliberate distortion of it. Quite typical, I’m afraid.

    Ooh! I’m “quite typical”, and apparently that’s a bad thing. The truth of my factual assertion, that Utley does _not_ describe any embargo on Chiang’s government lasting until the Korean war (as claimed by Tullock) does not appear to matter to Mencius. I made no claim to describe Utley’s work overall in that sentence, I merely pointed out an instance it which it disconfirms Tullock.

    Me: Welch called Marshall a Communist agent. This has not been supported.

    Mencius: Nor has it been refuted. History is about comparing possible pasts, each of which must be weighted equally. It is not a criminal proceeding, and the presumption of innocence does not enter into it. Everyone involved is dead.
    Nor am I postulating that Welch is infallible. I am claiming that, in any dispute between the Barbara Tuchmans and the Robert Welches of history, it is your postulate that the Tuchmans are infallible. One white raven refutes the claim that all ravens are black.

    I’ve never called Tuchman (or the “Tuchmans”, whoever they may be) infallible, and in fact you’re the one with a thing about Tuchman, as can be shown by the fact that I haven’t previously mentioned her.
    Nor do I agree that possible pasts “must be weighted equally”. It is possible to imagine a past where Jimmy Carter, awakening on July 5, 1977, decides to launch a pre-emptive nuclear strike on the USSR. Such a past is not worth spending much time thinking about in detail.
    Finally, having seen an albino raven once, I’ve certainly never claimed that “all ravens are black.” I wish you luck in pursuing your argument on that subject with whoever’s disputing it with you–not me.

    Me: The southern white supremacists were able to get their version of the US Civil War’s origins to be the standard account for a surprisingly long time.

    Mencius: That’s because the southern white supremacists were right. For a corrective, try George Lunt’s Origin of the Late War – published in Boston, I’ll have you know, in 1866. Were you in Boston in 1866? And if not, what are your grounds for assuming that your perspective of events is accurate, and Lunt’s are not?

    For one of many possible counter-“correctives” try Isaac Arnold’s _The History of Abraham Lincoln and the Overthrow of Slavery_–published in Chicago, I’ll have you know, in 1866. Were you in Chicago in 1866? And if not, what are your grounds for assuming that your perspective of events is accurate, and Arnold’s are not?

    To answer the actual question behind the meaningless “Hey, I can find an old source I like, and which might intimidate someone completely unfamiliar with library research” game, I (like everyone alive today) have access to a lot of information available to almost nobody in 1866.

    Mencius: Herbert Hoover was there, too. After the Great War, he was the man who fed Europe. And he didn’t much mind telling Europe what to do, neither. Whether Hoover allowed the American Relief Administration into a country pretty much decided whether its government stayed or fell. So yes, in fact, his opinion is indeed germane. But I see you know him only from the caricatures. Your condition is, again, not atypical.

    I didn’t say Hoover’s opinion wasn’t germane, and I’m well aware of the outlines of his career (your default assumption that anyone who doesn’t agree with you is a fool is, to quote you, both “typical” and “not atypical.”) Stating a disinclination to accept one person as “the final arbiter” of a particular question is quite compatible with accepting that the person in question can have germane opinions.

    Mencius: Also, it was Eisenhower whom Welch accused of being a Communist agent, in The Politician. I am not inclined to believe this about Ike, but there certainly could have been some kind of relationship with his brother Milton. Milton was an OWI man, and the OWI was red to the gills.
    The figure who accused Marshall was, of course, McCarthy – although the speech, later distributed as a book (America’s Retreat from Victory), was actually ghostwritten.

    A universe in which the fact that Welch accused A of being a communist agent is evidence that Welch did not also accuse B of also being a communist agent, or in which the fact that McCarthy accused A of being a communist agent is evidence that Welch did not also accuse A of being a communist agent must be a strange and interesting place, and I’d like to visit it.
    In the real world, both Welch and McCarthy accused Marshall of being a communist agent, and Welch accused both McCarthy and Eisenhower. (As I recall, Welch’s statement that Eisenhower was a communist agent was deleted from _The Politician_ before publication–but it got wide publicity anyway).
    “I defy _anybody_ who is not actually a Communist himself, to read all the known facts about his career and not decide that since at least sometime in the 1930s George Catlett Marshall has not been a conscious, deliberate agent of the Soviet conspiracy.” –Robert Welch, _The Politician_, p. 15 (1964 printing).

  • http://entitledtoanopinion.wordpress.com TGGP

    Doh!

    Didn’t Woodrow Wilson also send American troops into Russia to aid the White forces?

  • http://unqualified-reservations.blogspot.com Mencius

    The truth of my factual assertion, that Utley does _not_ describe any embargo on Chiang’s government lasting until the Korean war (as claimed by Tullock) does not appear to matter to Mencius. I made no claim to describe Utley’s work overall in that sentence, I merely pointed out an instance it which it disconfirms Tullock.

    Again, you were intentionally misleading the reader. A large section of Utley’s book, as I’ll be kind enough to presume you know, is devoted to describing the de facto embargo which State imposed. Quibbling over the details of whether this “lasted until the Korean war” is meaningless, because it was never an explicit policy – in fact, it was concealed behind a program of apparent aid, which State did its best to sabotage. Even if the point is relevant and even if it can be distinguished at all, it is a miniscule contradiction in a broadly synoptic picture.

    Yet the uninformed reader (jury?) would be very likely to expect from your statement that Utley’s perspective of the US-China relationship refutes Tullock’s. Which in fact it confirms, in far more detail. Is this how they teach you to argue in law school? Have you tried it? Does it work? Lord, I hope not.

    For one of many possible counter-“correctives” try Isaac Arnold’s _The History of Abraham Lincoln and the Overthrow of Slavery_–published in Chicago, I’ll have you know, in 1866. Were you in Chicago in 1866? And if not, what are your grounds for assuming that your perspective of events is accurate, and Arnold’s are not?

    I haven’t read Arnold, but I’ve read a decent amount of 1860s antislavery propaganda and, on skimming, it strikes me as – well – typical. I appreciate the reference. I think the modern, skeptical reader would gain tremendously by reading both Arnold and Lunt. It would certainly be a much more productive experience than anything you can get by reading conflicting 20th-century accounts.

    When evaluating conflicting testimony about a past I have not seen and cannot visit, I try to read both sides and see which strikes me as most credible. What, sir, do you do? I suspect you’d find it quite interesting to read both these books – the contrast in tone, especially, is notable.

    A universe in which the fact that Welch accused A of being a communist agent is evidence that Welch did not also accuse B of also being a communist agent, or in which the fact that McCarthy accused A of being a communist agent is evidence that Welch did not also accuse A of being a communist agent must be a strange and interesting place, and I’d like to visit it.

    I apologize – I was not attempting to impugn your credibility by mentioning that Welch accused Eisenhower. Obviously, this is the better-known accusation because it was more spectacular and less plausible. For anyone who could swallow Eisenhower the Communist, Marshall the Communist was a mere hors d’oeuvre.

    I think the truth of the matter was best expressed by the diplomatic historian Carroll Quigley, who wrote that the McCarthyists (mainly Roy Cohn, J.B. Matthews, and the like – McCarthy himself was not a significant intellectual figure) made the mistake of attacking the American establishment, thinking that they were attacking a nest of enemy spies. (McCarthy’s tactics were in fact very similar to those the New Deal used, much more successfully of course, to purge the “isolationists,” with Nazis in the villain role.) The relationship between the Soviets and the WASP ruling class which gave us the New Deal was complicated, but the two are not to be equated, and the American side always considered itself the senior partner. Marshall and Eisenhower can certainly be described as New Deal political generals, and they knew what side their bread was buttered on.

  • http://unqualified-reservations.blogspot.com Mencius

    TGGP, yes, the US sent troops. In a half-hearted effort designed to fail. See under: Bay of Pigs, Vietnam, Somalia, etc, etc, etc…

    When the American establishment really wants to fight a war, there is indeed (in Douglas MacArthur’s words) no substitute for victory. A small example in our time: Serbia. Compare the State Department line on Milosevic to the State Department line on Ahmadinejad, and you’ll see the difference.

  • Douglas Knight

    Welch accused both McCarthy and Eisenhower

    and I thought Condon was the only one to accuse McCarthy.

  • http://unqualified-reservations.blogspot.com Mencius

    For those allergic to Google Books, I thought it’d be fun to paste in some text from the introductions to Arnold and Lunt respectively.

    Arnold:

    In regard to the truthfulness and impartiality of the work, the author will only say that, while acknowledging frankly that all his convictions and sympathies have been with the cause of liberty and loyalty, he has not, consciously, done injustice to any.

    The great struggle between liberty and slavery in the United States, substantially terminated with the martyrdom of ABRAHAM LINCOLN. The blow of the assassin which struck down the great apostle of freedom, was the last, malignant, expiring effort of slavery. The shot which pierced the heart of Lovejoy at Alton, Illinois, and that which penetrated the brain of LINCOLN, were alike aimed by that institution. The eradication of slavery from the republic was made certain by the death of the Great Emancipator.

    It seems a fit occasion to pause at the end of this great drama, to look back over the record of the conflict, to recall the leading events which have marked its history; to do proper honor and justice to the great actors, and, especially, to trace the life and career of the greatest hero of the drama, by whose wisdom, fidelity to principle, truth, singleness of purpose, and boldness, the triumph of freedom has been accomplished…

    Lunt:

    In writing this book, I have endeavored to trace, in a manner which I trust will be intelligible to the general reader, the interior course of the long controversy, sometimes active, and again much subdued, but never absolutely at rest, between the North and the South. It was my purpose to make known whatever the facts of the case should of themselves indicate, without any regard to party interests or prepossessions.

    As the negro was, at the beginning, more or less conspicuously concerned in the question, and on considerations relating chiefly to the master rather than to the slave, either personally or morally ; so he is still left in an uncertain condition, after a war which has destroyed more than half a million of men who were fellow-citizens, and probably twice as many of those who were made the occasion of the contest. This contest also placed the free institutions of the country in a state of peril still furnishing grounds of just apprehension. I have discussed negro-slavery in its own special relations, and the future which apparently awaits the negro race itself in this country, without consciousness of any prejudice, and only so far as those points were inevitably connected with the order of the narrative.

    If it should appear that the antislavery agitation, leading to such terrible public and private evils, was actually factitious in its origin and character, so far as its positively efficient agents have pursued it, and was, in reality, the fruit of a struggle for political power, instead of a moral or philanthropical demonstration, a very grave question is thus presented for the consideration of the American people…

  • http://entitledtoanopinion.wordpress.com TGGP

    Somalia? There was nothing of importance there, it was just supposed to be about ensuring the flow of aid (so I guess it was a defeat for State). It didn’t even rise up to the level of Grenada or Panama. I don’t think even you believe that LBJ intended to fail, and the unfolding of the mess hardly deserves the term “design”. And in the Bay of Pigs we just sent Cuban exiles. The lack of U.S support is what got them pissed off at Kennedy and supposedly resulted in has assassination (though in keeping with my theory that history-is-one-damned-thing-after-another-for-no-good-reason I think Oswald acted alone).

  • http://unqualified-reservations.blogspot.com Mencius

    TGGP,

    For the Bay of Pigs, see Decision for Disaster by Grayston Lynch, one of the CIA planners. Basically, what happened is that State abused the interagency policy process to nibble away at a military plan which obviously would have worked (not counting the original, absurd, constraint of plausible deniability), until it turned into a plan which obviously wouldn’t work. Similarly, Curtis LeMay once characterized the US effort in Vietnam as “trying to dress and undress at the same time.” The US government can hardly be described as the personification of LBJ’s personal will.

    It’s true that in Somalia the US didn’t even really have a definition of success. Kind of an extreme case. However, if you take the last success in subjugating that territory, Il Duce’s colonial effort, you can use that as the yardstick. Making the Italian army look effective is a pretty impressive demonstration of artificial ineptitude.

  • http://entitledtoanopinion.wordpress.com TGGP

    If Bay of Pigs “obviously” wouldn’t work, why didn’t anybody with authority cancel it (or the exiles refuse to go)? My guess is that they wrongly believed it would work.

    LBJ made the decision to send in troops, so the buck stops at his desk.

    Comparing Black Hawk Down to the subjugation of territory is silly. They weren’t an occupying army but Special Forces in helicopters sent to kidnap somebody (a person unimportant enough that nobody remembers his name). Also, Il Duce did not conquer Somalia, which had been an Italian territory since the 1880s. He did conquer Ethiopia, but the minor setbacks in the course of it claimed more lives than the U.S lost in Somalia.