Almost a century ago Theodore Roosevelt wrote, "I believe our future history will be more determined by our position on the Pacific facing China than our position on the Atlantic facing Europe." While today there is no unanimous acceptance of Roosevelt's geopolitical forecast, even now there is but little reason to dispute his later observation to the effect that "the American public is extremely dull on the question of China."
Ever since the turn of the century, events on the western rim of the Pacific have jeopardized world peace, posing increasingly dangerous threats to the security of the Western World and particularly the United States. It is surprising, therefore, that Americans have done so relatively little, even in the face of the growing strategic importance of the Orient, to disprove Teddy Roosevelt's opinion of his fellow countrymen's understanding of China. That such should be the case is unfortunate, for today there is far too little effort to understand what is transpiring in the Far East.