Gateway to ideas; 14; The U.S. and the Far East
Need two ideas. The. Gateway to ideas. A new series of conversations in which ideas are discussed in relation to reading. Today's program. The United States and the Far East is moderated by Quincy Howe the editor of Atlas magazine. Today's program is on the subject of the United States and the Far East. Our panelists our own club lecturer in government Columbia University and author of twentieth century China. Also Dr. Hyman Cubbon professor of history at Brooklyn College and executive officer of the Ph.D. program and history of the City University of New York. Dr. Kopans most recent book is Asian revolutionary. THE LIFE OF SAN Kiara. Mr.
club where a sort of colleague's Yara consultant editor on Atlas magazine which we've been working on together off and on for the past four years it's a particular pleasure that I have you here and I've I think you can start us off awfully well by indicating that China is very much a part of the Far East where talking about the Far East today and the United States and the Far East. Now in the course of the 20th century. The United States policy toward China. Chinese American relations have have always been a center of controversy and a good deal of the controversies that are going on now in respect of the United States and China United States in the Far East. They go back a bit I wonder if you could take us back maybe to around the turn of the century are there abouts where you all book the games and show us a little perspective on this whole thing.
The problem as you suggest is hardly new. They 20th century began in China with the Boxer Rebellion in which China opposed the rest of the powers there including the United States. But that period likewise was marked by the Battle of the middle of a couple of years earlier and by the launching of the hate doctrine which governed our relations with China down to the time of the Chinese Communist conquest in this particular period there have been great changes in China. The outstanding feature of the whole development is that China which at the end of the last century was weak. It was not a power had lost its position as the Middle Kingdom in Asia by the middle of this century had resumed a power position and that particular power position is now shaking all of the periphery of Asia East Asia Southeast Asia South Asia.
That's the significant aspect of the matter that I see. I missed the club it seems to me that while what you say is perfectly sound I myself have been very strongly impressed by the fact that during the past 10 or 15 years our interest in the Far East. That is the interest of the United States have changed very very significantly. Up until Let us say the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese War 937 our interests in the in the Far East were to some extent commercial and there of course were great interest was great interest on the part of missionaries in that part of the world. China really did not represent Up until very very recently a security problem for the United States. And it seems to me that since 1945 a good deal of American foreign policy viz a viz China and the entire region of the Far East has sent about considerations of security.
Oh you're quite right. Actually our China policy has changed 180 degrees in the first part of this century we considered ourselves something in the nature of a protector of China. And we were endeavoring to develop our trade expand the area of activities for missionaries. The rest of it we wanted closer relations we want the open door starting however with 1950 the year after the Chinese Communist came to power we shifted by reason of the Korean War to a position of acute hostility that hostility being remarked is matched by Chinese hostility toward the United States. But we are in a distinctly different position. You know politically speaking from what we were in the first part of the century because I think there's also to be taken into consideration that balances of international power in the Far East have changed very very drastically since 900 and 45. We have seen on the one
hand a Japan which played an increasingly important role in far eastern affairs defeated and were then subjected to a military occupation lasting for some seven or eight years and then more recently playing an increasingly close role in American the security arrangements in that part of the world. And secondly I would say there is the factor of Soviet Russia Czarist Russia played a very very important role in far eastern affairs up until the Revolution of 1917 and then apart from ideological factoids namely the extension of communist doctrine into East Asia. Soviet Russia really did not play a major role I would say in the China area. Up until the end of the Second World War and then increasingly since that time the United States and other powers have had to take into account
Soviet Russian interests in eastern Asia. Isn't it worthwhile Mr Clarke also going back for a moment again to 1945 when the big excitement in the Far East was the war between Russia and Japan and it was over the kind of not the dead body of China but over all over Korea was really the thing that was at stake there. It seems to me it would be worth just making some little recollection of that in connection with the things we're doing now. Yes that brings out the outstanding feature of the situation which was that you had a power conflict between expanding empires if you will the colonial powers of the European sector had expanded by sea into the western Pacific and by land that is Saudi structure to the Pacific coast. Then with the battle of Manila Bay you had the United States influence
established in that particular region. All of these converging forces met and you had first of Russell Japanese war as you suggest with respect to Korea but also Manchuria and you had subsequent conflict between Japan and Germany in World War 1. Then of course with the expanding Japanese empire you had the Sino-Japanese War name on thing that happened was that in the course of World War 2 as a war as a result of World War Two I'd better say Japan was knocked out of the picture as a power factor. It was anticipated by the United States it is quite clear that China would take the place of a defeated Japan in the post war balance of power in the Far East on our side. However our calculations went right and instead of being on our side they were on the Soviet side with the Sino-Soviet alliance of 1915 and the Soviet Union
had reached a position of much greater power in Northeast Asia particularly by virtue of the provisions of the Yalta pact the hardiest Russia had ever had. So you have me shifting the balance of power. And this shift was aggravated be it said by the retreat of colonialism from Asia. This meant that the power points. The military establishments of the Western powers were withdrawn and the only remaining western power was American sea and air power. Using borrowed bases we are there at the present time still. As is quite clear. But we are there in a different position from that that existed in Melbourne and inject a word here. I think it is rather evident that for many many hundreds of years the Chinese empire had a paramount influence in Korea. As a matter of fact the Chinese empire was on several occasions are prepared to go to war
for the defense of Korea being the peninsula country being vital to the security interests of the Chinese Empire. But in the Japanese war of nineteen hundred four and five we saw as you well put it a confrontation between two expanding imperial powers namely Russia and Japan. In recent years what I think is very interesting is this that Russia has gradually been squeezed out of the Korean Peninsula particularly North Korea and its influence has been superseded by that of a Communist China. Simultaneously I think it is rather interesting to observe that Japan really has been little interested in developments in the Korean Peninsula and the rule previously played by Japan namely as a counterweight to the influences of either China or
Soviet Russia. Or a czarist Russia has been taken by the United States. So it just seems to me that in the coming years perhaps. Should there be a retrenchment of American power in the Far East and in the Korean Peninsula in particular the place of the United States might well have to be taken by Japan. This is interesting because it suggests that the position of Japan will not radically change in the immediate future. I think that it is changing No. I believe that the Japanese have been very careful. Wise let us say diplomatically in the post-war period they realized that they had been defeated and considerably weakened but they were consequently vulnerable. They have been building up their strength without advertising the building primarily of course along economic
lines but not without regard for the political future. They see themselves as in me. Political combination where they can exercise a considerable amount of leverage by playing one force against another. They are between China and the United States and the Soviet Union and they occupy an excellent position from which to exercise leverage or from which to bargain and at this particular juncture I see them coming up to play a more important role in the Far East in the immediate future than they have in the past decade. Well I think it is quite clear Edmund that since 1945 the situation in Japan has changed very very drastically. There are probably a few countries in the entire world where a social economic and political system have a change just so vitally.
I recall in this respect a very fine analysis of these changes given in Adam and Edward Reischauer was the United States and Japan. Certainly Japan has been enjoying a greater prosperity than she has ever known before. She has made tremendous A industrial progress now being one of the three four or four greatest industrial powers of the world. But while the Japanese I think have been extremely gratified by their considerable success in raising their standards of living there have I think been increasing indications of dissatisfaction of unrest of restiveness and the Japanese have not been I think people willing to play a secondary roles role
particularly in that part of the world namely East Asia which is of a fundamental concern to them. And I think that we may well anticipate during league of the coming years an effort on the part of Japan to play a greater role not only in the Far East but in Asia or in the world at large. In other words I think that what the Japanese will be seeking is a process commensurate with their economic power. I've noticed that Mr Cobb in the press of the area and you follow that as a matter of fact more than I do I'm sure. And I have noticed in the reading I've done in the press there seems to be rather recently since the turn of the year a feeling that the dip that the Japanese may be in for quite serious economic trouble that the Olympic boom is over it wasn't as extensive as had been hoped and that there have been in the early months of this year some rather disturbing and disturbing comments on the future of the Japanese economy.
Could you tell us a little about that. That is correct you have these reports frankly. Of course Dr. Coburn is more the expert on Japan than I. Nevertheless I will make a comment on this because it fits in with the idea that I was expounding a minute ago faced with these particular difficulties which include rather high tariff barriers or quota systems on the part of the United States. They are going to turn more and more to China and to the Soviet Union as well as to other parts of Asia in order to get the economic relief that they need. In the past year 1964 they were able to double their trade with China. That is a two way trade in that same year they were upping their trade with the Soviet Union. This is a very important thing for the future. I do not believe that the Japanese are going to face anything in the nature of an economic crisis because I think that the Japanese will adjust
themselves to this changing position and try to adjust with profit. But I should like to have Dr. Kopans ideas on this. I would agree wholeheartedly with you and I don't believe that the Japanese are headed for any economic crisis. I recall in this respect these a situation which developed several years ago when the Japanese economy was developing at an extremely rapid rate so rapidly in fact that some temporary problems were created and there was talk at that time of economic crisis. At that time one of the officials of the English Government remarked I wish that anyone had the type of economic problems that Japan has. No I think that we can expect to see Japan continue to make economic progress and continue to expand her foreign trade.
The trade as you are pointed out has been mounting rather significantly with respect to Soviet Russia and Communist China. I think it will continue to grow. Japanese traders are also extremely well developed with respect to Southeast Asia. Whether or not Southeast Asia can in the long run provide the type of market that both communist China and Soviet Russia can is I think a rather debatable proposition. No I think that on the whole of the of the prospects economically speaking for for Japan are quite good for the foreseeable future. When you speak of Southeast Asia as you did you're also speaking of the of the Far East and you're also speaking of a subject we've been sort of circling around the Viet-Nam which is you saw what changing explosive. It's hard to say anything very precise about it but still. Isn't that situation there simply and
aggravated at peril at all of the things we've been confronting in other parts of the Far East of these changes that are coming in the Arab new powers of the imperial powers the old colonial ones getting out the communist ones coming in. Isn't it something like that that we're seeing repeated right now in Vietnam. And how would how would you work to gentlemen that. Well what is not that. What is interesting to me in the American involvement in Vietnam and in other parts of Southeast Asia with the exception of the Philippines is that it represents a completely new experience in foreign policy in foreign relations for the United States. We have just been discussing some American concerns in China and Japan and Korea. And these are after all the relationships which go back within the context of American history a quite a long way 75 100 years or more. With the exception of the Philippines the
United States was really not involved in Southeast Asia until after World War 2 when with the destruction of the various colonial systems there were a tremendous power vacuum was created and as a matter of fact I think it may well be said that the United States really started to get involved in the affairs of Vietnam a little more than a decade ago at the time the Geneva Conference of 1954 and little more than a decade the United States has found Vietnam to be one of its major problems in foreign policy. I should like to toss out a somewhat different point of view in regard to that or at any rate a slight amendment. We really became involved in Southeast Asia during World War Two rather than after this because we set up China Burma India theater and we're fighting in Burma. But because also President
Roosevelt was very much interested in the future of China. He distinctly and definitely opposed any French returned to Southeast Asia after the war was over. This is brought out very well I should say by the book by Bernard Paul. On the Vietnam's which was published relatively recently in that part of the world it is quite true we had our military commitment beginning only after the war was over World War 2. But do you see we began to support the French in one thousand nine hundred and fifty there and came out in strong support after the end of the Korean War in 1953 so that by the time of the Geneva Conference of 1954 we were to have a party to the whole dispute if you will and attended the team a conference I guess.
Well I think that the key date is you give it a Edmond namely nine thousand nine hundred fifty is one that might well be borne in mind. We both recall I think that during the course of World War 2 many of the American people were unsympathetic towards the various colonial regimes in Southeast Asia and it was the of the hope of many of us that with the conclusion of the war many of the peoples of Southeast Asia would be given an opportunity to establish independent states. And this feeling of. This level this lack of sympathy for the colonial powers in Southeast Asia I think was characteristic of the period from about 1945 down until 1940 nine thousand nine hundred fifty. We look with disfavor upon the efforts of the French to return to Indochina upon the efforts of the Dutch to return to the East Indies
upon the persistence of a British presence in Southeast Asia. But then as you doubtless recall. There broke out a number of rebellions uprising there was considerable terrorism and guerrilla activity on the part of the Communist inspired groups which led I think the United States to reconsider the problem all of this of course coming to a head with the Korean War in 1950 when we decided that we had to have a more systematic policy of the the extension of communism throughout the Asian continent. And since that time the United States has become more deeply involved not only in far eastern but also in South East Asian affairs. This is a reflection as you suggest of the rise of communism where before that is in any event till the 1930s our position was one
of isolationism in international affairs. It has now become after World War Two one of involvement where there seems to be a communist threat. The threat is very well shown by the history of our involvement in Southeast Asia during world war tours I suggest we oppose the return of the French and refused to help the French Indo-China. And during that same time in the latter part of the war we began to help put him in. Subsequently her team in the communist leader of North Vietnam came into conflict with the French and we began to help the French at the Geneva conference we were happy enough to see the French go. But we discovered that with their going there was left something in the nature of a power vacuum in Southeast Asia. And there we are today.
Well it's very very easy I know to pose these great public confrontations in Southeast Asia in terms of let us say an American Communist confrontation but I recall that there was published recently a book by Edmund Kolob Jr. on the United States and the sign of a Soviet bloc in Southeast Asia a wonderful kid who. Tell us something about the thesis of that book. Actually it did not have one thesis this was done for the Brookings Institute and he considered all of mainland Southeast Asia. He did not consider Indonesia. He considered the various alternatives and if I were to be called upon to sum up and apply it to Vietnam he would have selected I believe the alternative of a political settlement. That of course is the issue before us today in
Southeast Asia are we to that is in regard to the fighting in South Vietnam. Are we to negotiate. Are we to pull out or are we to go farther and make it a bigger war. There are those you know that propose making it a bigger war and calling it into Vietnam North Vietnam. Very reasonable to go out though. Pardon all degrees of a big old war. Yes well isn't this isn't this a repetition of these debates that we've had before. Isn't that the same thing that they were squabbling about in the Spanish-American War and in the First World War the Second World War we were told of Japan first or Europe first. Isn't that the same thing in just a somewhat different context. It's an indoor problem and involves problems tend to become rather controversial in various points of view proposed in this particular situation you've got eight legal involvement. See toys
there. We have certain commitments to seeto United Nations in theory should be consulted if there is a threat of war. We have our commitments under the UN charter. This is not a simple question. It seems fairly clear to me that there are not many alternatives however and one or other or another of the alternatives must be selected eventually. Well I think this is what makes it so difficult really for the American people to come to grips with these issues that are raised in the Far East and Southeast Asia to date as opposed let us say to American experiences in foreign relations and foreign policy before in 1941. Where those situations were rather limited in their possibilities and the types of solutions which could be arrived
at since 1945. Whatever we do in any part of the world this includes the Far East and Southeast Asia of course has ramifications of interests and concerns in all other parts of the world. I think you would agree that whatever type of solution that may be arrived at in cells yet to today or tomorrow will not only affect I think the entire situation of Far East but in Africa and elsewhere. I think you summed it up beautifully. Dr. Coughlan and thank both you and my colleague Joe Edmond club for being with us on this discussion. You have been listening to gateway to ideas. Today's program the United States and the Far East has presented Dr. O Edmund Clubb lecture and government at Columbia University and author of twentieth century China. And Dr. Hyman Codlin professor of history at Brooklyn College and author of Asian
revolutionary The moderator was Quincy Howe editor of Atlas magazine to extend the dimensions of today's program for you a list of the books mentioned in the discussion as well as others relevant to the subject has been prepared. You can obtain a copy from your local library or by writing to gateway to ideas. Post Office Box 6 for 1 Time Square Station. New York. And please enclose a stamped self-addressed envelope. Write a box 6 for 1 Time Square Station New York gateway to ideas is produced for national educational radio under a grant from the National Home Library Foundation. The programs are prepared by the National Book Committee and the American Library Association in cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcasters. Technical production by Riverside radio w Avi are in New York City. This is the national
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- Gateway to ideas
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