1940s >> 1947 >> no-515-july-1947

Editorial: The Ways of Imperialisms

If nature abhors a vacuum so does capitalism; the “vacuum” for this purpose being a weak State with a stronger neighbour, especially if the weak State has within its borders such a valuable prize as uranium deposits needed for the production of atomic weapons. The Chinese Government complains that Sinkiang is being invaded by troops from Outer Mongolia, aided by planes bearing Soviet markings. (The Soviet Government denies this.) According to a Chinese Government spokesman Soviet agents had been discovered before the attack making “unauthorised mineral surveys” in an area where uranium deposits were recently reported (Manchester Guardian, June 13th, 1947), though the explanation given by the Mongolians for the invasion was the arrest of eight of their soldiers.

It all reads like the customary procedure when a powerful State has designs on its neighbours. Outer Mongolia is a Russian puppet state and between 1933 and 1939 Sinkiang too came under Russian influence, “when the province was governed by Sheng Shih-tsai, who won his position with Russian aid after a brief but bloody civil war” (Manchester Guardian, June 16th, 1947). As Sinkiang, though ostensibly part of China, is separated from that country by over a thousand miles of semi-desert and is more easily accessible from Russian-dominated Outer Mongolia, it looks as if Russian expansion is bound to gain the day unless some other major Power, equally interested in uranium, considers it of sufficient importance to take a hand as welL

The people who are least likely to be consulted by any of the Governments concerned are the inhabitants of Sinkiang, who probably only want to be left alone to live their own lives in seclusion, free from interference by China, Russia, or any other Power.

Perhaps, if this position develops further, the puppets of the Russian Foreign Office (foreign Communist parties) might do worse than consult Lenin’s “Imperialism” published by themselves.