A Sino-American War would not last more than a few months and, if it did not end in a nuclear conflagration, military operations would cease in days or weeks under international pressure and the overwhelming desire of the two governments to avoid any possibility of nuclear escalation. With the entire world focused on the need to contain the violence, no great civil mobilization would be needed in the United States. Chinese nationals who recently entered the United States would be interned. Some Chinese immigrants would probably be put under observation as security risks.
No one would even contemplate action against Chinese-Americans. First, because the interning of Japanese-Americans in 1942 is widely considered to be one of the greatest offenses against American freedom in the nation’s history. Second, because there is no basis in security doctrine or culture to suppose that any number of Chinese-Americans would be a threat to the United States. Most, after all, are descended from refugees from tyranny, war, and oppression in China and have no separate loyalty to the regime in Beijing.
Japanese-Americans in 1942 were put into internment camps, not concentration camps. The accommodations there approximated those of German and Italian nationals that were interned at the same time and followed international guidelines for internment of foreign nationals. The constitutional failure involved was that the people interned were Americans and not foreign nationals. It was specifically an offense against American legal and moral standards. Most nations and empires of that period would have acted with much less fuss if their government felt the need and would have treated the victims far worse.
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