"Letters to the Editor"
The Wall Street Journal
The bias of James Hornfischer in his review of Daniel Kurtz-Phelan’s book, The China Mission, is evident in his failure to mention the fact that in 1946 the United States Government, up to the White House, and George C. Marshall’s mission to China were riddled with Soviet and Communist Chinese agents and sympathizers. It is too late to deny this now, but apparently the strategy is to forget and ignore it instead. And we find Mr. Hornfischer beginning with a gratuitous swipe at Joe McCarthy, who must plague Hornfischer’s mind, since later he anachronistically refers to “McCarthyites,” in what must have been 1949 or 1946, even though, of course, there were no “McCarthyites” before 1950. This betrays, not just a bias, but a certain kind of distorted narrative, of the anti-anti-Communist sort. This will make Mr. Hornfischer untrustworthy as a Cold War historian.
Also unmentioned in Mr. Hornfischer’s review is the fact that Communist sympathizers were in the business of sabotaging the Nationalists in China, had been doing it or some time, and would continue to do it until 1949. Marshall’s mission to China in 1946, whatever his “idealism” and purposes, was used as part of Communist strategy. People like Hitler at Munich, Mao, the North Vietnamese, and today the North Koreans and Iranians, have never had any intention of observing treaties to which they agreed. The purpose of negotiations was always to neutralize or disadvantage their enemies, as part of an ongoing strategy for victory. Chiang Kai-shek knew this well; but George Marshall was clueless, and he obviously did not pick up on the bad faith of an urbane and witty agent like Zhou Enlai. Americans continue to be duped by such people, right down to John Kerry.
Kelley L. Ross, Ph.D.
Philosophy of History