Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Victory Through Dispersal

(fm the BC thread "The Ghost of Donald Rumsfeld")

Subotai Bahadur,
There are precedents for successful dispersal and reconstitution programs, just none that I am aware of in Korean history. The Soviets moved much of the government, and much of their industrial capacity, from Moscow to East of the Urals in 1941-42. The propaganda value in giving everyone something to do during a national crisis, as opposed to allowing them to be passive observers, was as important as the preservation of assets. In that case it resonated with the existing Russian national mythos of triumph following the withdrawal before Napoleon in 1812.

More closely attuned to the Korean story might be that of their cultural big brother China in WW-II. The withdrawal of the Nationalists to their National Redoubt in Szechuan was intended as a similar unifying epic. While it has since been overshadowed in the popular imagination by the victory of the Communists following the Long March educated Asians may appreciate the symbolism, as Americans did when they watched Frank Capra's monumental "Why We Fight" series episode The Battle of China.

China could trade space for time. Unfortunately Korea lacks both. As an aside years ago I took several classes from Tang Tsou, the author of America's Failure in China: 1941 - 1950. He had received his undergraduate degree in Kunming when dispersed in the face of the Japanese invasion. Properly executed a program of national survival in the face of invasion can help unify a nation and build credibility for the leadership. The reverse can also happen.

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