Owen To Events Beyond His Control
Bitter-ender believers in Owen Lattimore’s guilt of….something have found solace in recent years on the interwebs, where a lively trade in half truths and recycled 50s bilge re-convict him on a daily basis. But now, the success of the right wing book trade lets the folks at home learn truths they’ve never forgotten without all that typing and clicking.
Serial offender Stan Evans is back on the market with a tome which rips the lid off that Joe Stalin fellow: apparently he wished ill of the United States! Evans’ latest adventure in these uncharted waters takes him to the best Lattimore Did It tale of all, in which Lattimore caused Pearl Harbor.
You read that right. Owen Lattimore caused America’s entry into World War Two with his trademark tool: the memo.
In 1941 Lattimore was advising Chiang Kai Shek, while the US tried to work out a deal with Japan. Lattimore told Washington Chiang thought the proposal would collapse Chinese resistance to Japan’s invasion. In this maximum crackpot history, such was the authority Chiang Kai Shek wielded in Washington that the State Department dropped negotiating with Japan, insuring its attack on Hawaii. Thanks a lot, Professor!
Why would the wily academic want Japan to turn their guns on America? In Evans imagination, to protect Joe Stalin from a Japanese attack on Siberia. Pretending this was a live option in 1941 requires ignoring 1939, when the Soviets had smashed Japanese forces at the Mongol boarder. And wishing we had dumped Chiang fifteen years early.
“as has been their practice for decades, the authors equate presence at an event—e.g., Roosevelt, Stalin and Churchill at Yalta—with the covert wielding of tremendous influence…When the authors stray from Soviet influence within the United States and shift the focus to the rise of communism in China around the same time, their speculation about the allegedly traitorous activity of named individuals feels even shakier.“
Evans makes his case the same way all the McCarthy Was Rightists do: a tease about new material, claims the Venona Papers proved something unspecified about Lattimore, and a rush into the familiar arms of the McCarran Committee, which concocted its Lattimore indictment from perjured and re-engineered testimony.