The Charlotte News

Tuesday, November 9, 1937


Site Ed. Note: Query: Is Iraq today, through the looking-glass of Time, Spain circa 1937-38?

If so, what does that portend for the world?

"No Great Loss" brings to mind an analogy between what occurred regarding Quemoy and Matsu, mainland China and Taiwan, of which Mr. Nixon made an issue in mid-October 1960 in the presidential campaign.

China, confronted with Japan’s superior mechanized might, retreated inland when Shanghai was lost to the Japanese in 1937, having been declared at that point by the Chinese to be indefensible without substantial loss.

In 1958, intermittently a problem for several years, Red China began shelling Quemoy and Matsu, the two island bulwarks, close to the mainland, possessed by Formosa as hedges against attack by Red China, a sort of advance-warning system against the horde shipping itself over to the larger main island, considered a front line to protect the primary backfield. The United States, after six weeks of air and naval fighting over the islands, threatened nuclear retaliation if the islands were taken. For a time the tension lessened with a ceasefire.

But, by fall 1960, the Eisenhower Administration had determined that the two islands, given their lack of strategic significance in a nuclear world, and their being indefensible without a war, one which at the time could trigger conflict with the Soviet Union as well, should be allowed to pass to Red China. Senator Kennedy agreed with this position, but Mr. Nixon did not, and tried to make it an issue, suggesting Kennedy would not stand up to Communism.

Typically in human experience, when someone puts a weapon to your head which is stronger than any weapon you presently have, you may drop back and find some shelter somewhere further inland to which to retreat and regroup. But, eventually, you are probably going to come back with a bigger weapon to hoist against the head of your opponent, either to conquer or neutralize them.

Thus, Red China, in 1964, after growing tension with the Soviets left them vulnerable from the east as well, developed their own nuclear weapons program.

And so was kindled by the two nuclear powers a third nuclear power in the world with which to have to deal.

We have to wonder further why it is, if Mr. Nixon would have handled things so much differently from President Kennedy over the Bay of Pigs, that there was a long forgotten failed invasion of Cuba just weeks before the 1960 election, also without formal U.S. military support, Americans from that group of insurgents having been shortly thereafter executed without U.S. reprisal.

Thus, could anyone say with a straight face, possessing all the facts, that the Eisenhower Administration, under which Castro came to power after all, dealt any differently or any more effectively with Cuba than did the Kennedy Administration prior to the missile crisis of October, 1962?

Or, was the feeling by some Cuban nationalists of betrayal by the Kennedy Administration stimulated in much the same way a similar animosity grew within the South—that there was a feeling that since the election of 1960 had been close, these groups had been sine qua non for a Kennedy victory and thus expected payback, support for removal of Castro in the case of the Cuban-Americans; and, in the case of the Southern segregationist forces, to move slowly and deliberately on civil rights, meaning little real movement at all?

Or, wasn’t it that the segregationist elements within the South, who never really in truth lent much support to Kennedy in the first place, if they voted for him to any great degree at all, lending their support instead to separate states rights candidates in some of the Deep South states, candidates originally from within the Party, or crossing party lines to Nixon, those, while finding Nixon saying the wrong words in lending verbal support to civil rights, to placate, at least drawing hope from his having advertised the right symbols, while making a point of de-advertising the wrong symbols, used that intensely existing fervor of the anti-Castro Cubans to fuel mutual sentiment, first within the broader Cuban-American community, also then stimulating the more generalized perception of Kennedy weakness in the face of an immediate Communist threat, to try to appeal to the emotional hot buttons of recondite Southerners, the old neatly dovetailing xenophobic fears, raised especially to anything susceptible of being called Red, that being suggestive of unions, communal living, integration, equality, all leading to a perceived threat to job security, especially among holders of blue collar occupations; and wasn’t this attempt to create a perception in those separate constituencies that Kennedy was soft on Communism ultimately born of the late campaign issue raised by Nixon over Quemoy-Matsu?

Was Quemoy-Matsu, therefore, as apparently insignificant as it was in fact to the outcome of the 1960 election, and to the overall campaign and to history, ultimately the attempted tap of the hotpoint source of the intense discord developing within the South, out of, and mutually fueled by, both of these two intensely emotional constituencies, sometimes intertwined, usually separate, substantially aided and abetted by such programs as Operation Northwoods, and by 1963, disgruntled retired generals such as Edwin Walker and his Birchers in Dallas, attempting to fulfill, essentially, formally or informally, the planned domestic objectives of Northwoods, promising also the planned similar objectives, within Cuba itself, of Mongoose in the bargain?

So, was Quemoy-Matsu an attempt at least to form, however ineptly in terms of effect, a stalking horse behind which, cleanly, without the catch-phrases of old, used by the race-baiters and Red-baiters, the latter of course including Nixon himself in his Congressional campaigns before becoming Vice-President, could develop the probe to provoke the same old sore wounds over race and class struggle which had beset the psyche of the South since colonization and the introduction of slavery?

And is that not why Nixon adverted to the ghost of Quemoy-Matsu when the Cuban missile crisis arose during the latter stages of his gubernatorial bid exactly two years later?

The truth is that few people then knew about or cared a hang about Quemoy or Matsu, even during the 1960 campaign itself. Wasn’t it simply a stimulus, a probe, that hotpoint, something on which, late in the process, to try to centralize intensely felt emotions, emotions which gravitated to other concerns, primarily race and Cuba?

The rest of the editorial page for the day is here.

Wait and See

Fewer than the usual number of drunks were arrested by both City and County police last month, the City police collaring only 315 citizens on charges of being drunk or drunk & disorderly or driving drunk, and the Rurals only 95. This was a great improvement over the preceding month and the same month last year, the which Acting Chief of the Rurals Henry Mosely attributes to the padlocking of Mecklenburg road-houses. That is a plausible explanation, borne out by the observations of State Patrolmen. Their arrests for drunken driving have shown a marked decrease.

But one month's experience may or may not be indicative of a trend. There is something unpredictable about drinking and arrest for drunkenness. For instance, though people had more money with which to buy liquor in 1934 than in 1933, that alone does not explain why the City police arrested nearly twice as many drunks in the latter year. And as for variations between one month and the next, they are unaccountable.

The safest thing to do, before drawing any conclusions from a decrease in arrests for drunkenness, is to wait a while. And, of course, 410 drunks arrested in one month in a Prohibition stronghold is still a lot of drunks.

The Voice of Jacob

There have been rumors about for several years--probably started by the Democrats--that somebody was writing Herbert Hoover's speeches for him. The rumors began, as we recall, when in the Republican convention of 1936 the former President suddenly appeared in the role of jokesmith and punster. That, the boys argued, was so obviously and grotesquely out of character that it can only mean that he had succumbed to the practice of employing a ghost-writer. But for ourselves, we have always a little doubted it. Somebody had told him, maybe. Somebody had told him what was supposed to be a good joke, and the right place to insert it--though nobody could ever tell how to time those jokes so as to make them effective. But about his speeches there always remained something that can only have come out of Herbert.

And anyhow, if Mr. Hoover ever did succumb for a moment to the ghosts, it is clear that he is now once more doing his own stuff. For speaking last night at Waterville, Maine, he had to say:

"It was a paradox that we find every dictator who has ascended to power has climbed on the ladder of a free press and free speech except his own."

Nobody could have said it like that save Herbert.

Site Ed. Note: For another piece on this topic of Mr. Hoover's unmistakeably unique eloquence, worthy of Yogi Berra and Miss Malapropich, free in Mr. Hoover's case of speech and free in case of Mr. Hoover's thought, see "His Own, Anyhow", December 21, 1939.

Mr. Nixon, incidentally, sought to claim that Mr. Kennedy employed ghost-writing for the debates. Maybe so, maybe not. If so, Mr. Nixon could have certainly profited from utilizing the same ghost, rather than the one he did at O'Hare, or relying as he did usually on a whole passle of advertising men who gave him such voluble and indispensable advice as what color suit, shirt and tie to wear to appear in the most appealing light on black and white television. Of course, whoever he used, they forgot to tell him to shave away his shadow.

In any event, in this great can-do and can-deed land of ours, full of free radicals awaiting capture in reactivity, we happy few who have speech free of thought and mind are mostly numerous and free in happy dales' and mountains' majesty, of majestic highnesses highly free, as a high in a high allya, relativityly.

Bargain in Bullion

Something is in the air about gold. Nobody knows just what it is, but for a couple of weeks now the price of gold has been going up in Paris and London, and the dollar has been going down. Yesterday the franc would buy 3.416 cents and the pound sterling would get you a five-dollar bill plus a couple of cents. Gold was bringing $35.23 an ounce against the United States' standing offer of $35 flat and the price of $34.76 at which it is profitable to buy gold in London and pay shipping expenses to New York. Incidentally, the President still has authority to devalue the 59.05-cent dollar down to 50 cents.

Fortunately, this country has gone into possession of such a great safe of the world's gold supply that it can look with perfect aplomb, and with relief, on a redistribution of it. In fact, there is another precious metal of which we have plenty and some to spare, and that is silver. For several years, at the order of Congress, we have been subsidizing domestic silver mining and buying in world markets, until we are overrun with the stuff. And is the world looking covetously at our silver stores as well as our gold?

Not so you could notice. The world price of silver yesterday was 44.23˘ an ounce. In other words, gold, far from nearing the 16-to-1 proportion with silver, is still worth 80 times as much per ounce and going up. And still the Treasury is compelled to buy it and store it under the ground.

Won't somebody put in a higher bid for our silver?

No Great Loss

Shanghai stands to Northern China very much as New York stands to the United States. It's a great port of entry. Nevertheless, its fall is probably of little military importance, and may in fact leave the Chinese in a better fighting position than they were. The town had already been blockaded for several months, of course, and such supplies as China has been receiving by sea have been finding their way in elsewhere. Moreover, it is poorly fortified, and the ground about it lies so as to make it very difficult of defense. Indeed, the parallel with New York will hold with special force here. For the position of the Chinese in Shanghai was equivalent to that of an American army attempting to operate within the confines of Manhattan island with an enemy fleet in control of the harbor.

And so the Chinese have probably done the very best thing in retiring--to the marshes of Jersey, shall we say? Certainly, the danger of international complications ought to be greatly lessened after this. And on the other hand, the country back of Shanghai is well adapted to defense. As marshy as Jersey itself, and cut up with a maze of canals, it will offer almost insurmountable difficulties to the use of tanks and other mechanical equipment, and, of course, it is precisely in this mechanical equipment that the Japanese have been the superior of their opponents. Man power will count more on this terrain, and Man power is what China has in abundance.

Not Worth the Trouble

Nature was kind, almost too kind, to cotton growers this year. Each acre planted to cotton produced 259 pounds as contrasted to usual yields ranging anywhere from 151 to 213 pounds. But what the farmers saved in cost reduction, they have more than lost in value, for the price of cotton goes up or down in geometrical progression according to the size of the crop, and this year's crop will bring, at present prices, only about three-quarters of a billion dollars. In the good old days of 1916-1929, crops worth a billion and a quarter or a billion and a half were the rule rather than the exception.

And here is a remarkable thing. We are told that all wealth must, by the very nature of wealth, come originally from the soil or the earth or the air or the sea; and yet here is all this wealth--tough little fibers that may be spun into thread for a thousand uses--which avails only poverty. Why, it would take nearly four such cotton crops to equal the amount spent by the Federal Government (which toils not, neither does it spin) in the four months since July 1.

Surely it must sometimes occur to cotton farmers that there is little sense in breaking their backs and their hearts laboring with cotton when the politicians, merely by writing down a few legalistic words, can raise a dozen times as much money with practically no labor of their own at all.

Johnny on the Spot

One of the most puzzling stories which has come out of Europe in a long while is that one which has it that England, having concluded that the Valencia government is doomed and that Franco is going to win in Spain, is now busily attempting to play ball with El Caudillo and detach him from Italy.

It may very well be that Franco is going to win in Spain. But that the English leaders--presumably hard-headed politicians--can imagine that they can detach him from Italy seems on its face preposterous. Nothing is clearer than that if Franco wins, it will be mainly because of the aid given him by Italy. Germany has helped a good deal, but her role has been a secondary one. What is more, Franco, having won, is going to have to have large bodies of troops from somewhere to maintain his power. He has little support left among the Spanish people. And the Spaniards are an intractable and a long remembering people.

The Franco regime, if it is established, is going to be seated on a volcano perpetually about to explode. And for some time at least, the only possible way to retain its hold will be through an army of foreign troops quartered upon Spain. Italy, of course, is already on the ground with a sizable army which, in all likelihood, will stay there.

Site Ed. Note: Incidentally, in reading some of this stuff, if you, too, feel as though you may have, at times, been shipped, prestissimo, to within the walls of Red Wing, the town, the boot, or the sealing wax, please bear in mind, you aren't alone. The times are sometimes like that, now and then.

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