Read This Book!
If the United States in 1945 had been able to ...shed some of its illusions about China, to understand what was happening in that country, and to adopt a realistic policy in America's own interests, Korea and Vietnam would probably never have happened....We would not still be confronted with an unsolvable Taiwan problem....And Mao's China, having come to power in a different way and not thrust into isolation by a hostile West, might be quite a different place.
Those words by US State Department Foreign Service Officer John Service sum up the essence of this very important book. Service was one of just a handful of American government officials who had any real clue about China and was in the end fired by President Franklin Roosevelt (the grandson of a 'China-trade' opium dealer) because he dared to speak out about US China policy.
I learned so much from this book - it opened my mind in so many ways. For example it changed the way I now think about FDR. He was totally clueless about China and was a complete captive of the 'China lobby' at the time which was led by Christian fundamentalists in the US who thought their mission in life was to bring China to heel and turn it into a replica of the US - a Christian and capitalist nation.
The disgusting reality of the absolute corruption of Mao's rival Chiang Kai-shek was something I knew a bit about but the back story around Chiang having Roosevelt, Congress, Time Magazine and the 'Christians' wrapped around his finger was more than astonishing - to the tune of massive amounts of US taxpayer dollars and a completely doomed Asia policy.
The book reads easily and I could not put it down during our flight from Boston to Beijing - even though a string of movies were available to me during the long flight. I kept reading.
I urge everyone to read this book - I got it for $4 online and that included the postage.
You will learn so much - especially how our system works overtime to ignore reality and to remain mired in illusion and corruption.