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Reader comment on item: Symposium: The Showdown [with Iran]

Submitted by Peter J. Herz (Taiwan), Aug 7, 2005 at 01:45

One reason I'm wary about intervening in Iran is because it could easily turn out to be something like China in World War II.

In the 1920's and '30's, most of China probably hated Jiang Jieshi (aka Chiang Kai-shek--thanks to the Cantonese-speaking interpreters Western Journalists employed when the man started rising in the Nationalist stronghold of Canton). He came to power by beating the warlords militarily or by co-opting them, while an alienated intelligentsia went whole-hog for the more radical reform promised by the Communists. China plunged into civil war, which Jiang was winning during the period from 1927, when he broke with the Communists, to 1937, when the Young Marshall Zhang Xueliang kidnapped him and forced him into a United Front with the Communists. Tempted by China's internal chaos, Japan first seized Manchuria in 1931, then invaded the rest of the country.

True, Chinese forces tended to retreat throughout World War II, and performed badly. At the same time, the "United Front" was often honored more in the breach, and renewed civil war was inevitable (thanks more to an intelligentsia intoxicated with Marxism than China's smallholder peasantry). Yet China nonetheless tied down roughly a million Japanese troops who might have been freed up for action elsewhere had either the Communists or Jiang's Nationalists made a separate peace with Japan.

I suspect that no matter how much the mullahs are hated, the people of Iran love their own country more than they hate their current crop of leaders, and the mountains and deserts of Iran would be a tougher geographical nut to crack than Iraq--where the rough, mountainous country was already run by an American semi-ally.

Hence, if Iran goes nuclear (which it probably will, with Russian, Chinese, and Pakistani help), the USA should declare a MAD policy--and, since China wants to help Iran's nuclear weapons program, remove China from the list of states receiving MFN.

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