Had the U.S. invaded China during the Korean War, what would have been the most likely outcome?

Mudassir Ali
Jan 19, 2020 04:58 PM 0 Answers
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Mudassir Ali
- Jan 19, 2020 04:59 PM

Let me tell you a story — and I apologize to those who believe Be’er Rabbit is a racist character, but the story makes a point:

Be’er Rabbit is walking through the woods one day and he spots someone sitting on the side of the road. What Be’er Rabbit doesn’t know is that this is a tar baby left by Be’er Fox to trap him as Be’er Fox wanted to eat Be’er Rabbit.

Be’er Rabbit pauses and says, “How’s you?” Nothing but silence from the tar baby. Be’er Rabbit stops and walks closer and says, “I said, ‘How’s you?’”. Still nothing but silence. Be’er Rabbit goes to where the Tar Baby is sitting. “You should respond when someone speaks to you!” he shouts at the tar baby. “How’s you?” Still, only silence from the tar baby.

Be’er Rabbit’s angry. He punches the tar baby and his fist sinks deep into the tar and he can’t get it out. So, with his other hand he punches the tar baby and kicks at the tar baby with his feet. Soon, he is totally trapped in the tar baby.

China, in 1950, had a population of just under 552 million people, right under 400 million more people than the United States. Further, China is about 5,500 to 6,000 miles from San Francisco, although we were occupying Japan at the time. Even if Truman had drank MacArthur’s Kool Aid, it wouldn’t be easy to invade China and it would have been much harder to sustain an invasion of China. Our invasion forces would be swallowed up the way the tar baby swallowed up Be’er Rabbit. We might kill hundreds of thousands of Chinese — it’s estimated the Chinese lost 400,000 men in Korea — but our forces would still get swallowed up. Quantity has a quality all of its own and, traditionally, Chinese military leaders have bet their opponents would run out of bullets (or arrows, spears, and swords in antiquity) long before they ran out of men.

In 1950, China did not have nukes, nor did they have a Navy. So, they wouldn’t have threatened the United States. But, we would lose every army we sent over there. The very best outcome for the United States would be a bloody stalemate: the U.S. would be pouring thousands of men into a meat grinder but unable to conquer China. And, I don’t think the Soviet Union would help us out of the tar baby by either invading Western Europe or by intervening with nuclear weapons. They would be content, I believe, by the Chinese bleeding us dry.

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