ROLAND G. USHER
EUROPEAN POLICIES AND MOTIVES
OUT of past economic and political problems has grown the present war, fought because honest and sincere men of great intelligence and of humane desires saw no other chance of escaping from the dread alternatives which hedged them in. The war will not decide these problems,---economic, political, and moral issues are never decided by fighting,----dispel the difficulties out of which they grew, or remove the specters of economic distress which hover in the background. Victory will merely insure the victors an opportunity to struggle with the very problems out of which the war itself proceeded, with only one change, the elimination of the vanquished. For the right to undertake that settlement, to dictate its terms in their own favor, to impress upon the future their own stamp, are they fighting, and we need not expect that a situation sufficiently tangled to necessitate war for its solution, important enough to all the nations in Europe to make them conclude that this great war was inevitable, and look forward to a victory in it as a solution of their national problems for at least half a century, will not furnish the victor with a grim determination to override any further obstacles which may stand in the way of the solution deemed most desirable for his national future. The victor's interference in the Western Hemisphere, far from proceeding from the whims of kings or emperors, or from the evanescent policies of a militaristic state, will rest upon causes as deep and as far-reaching as history, as complex as modern life in its varied phases, as certain to continue in one aspect or another as the world is to turn on its axis.
Behind the present situation in Europe stands the economic progress of the last half-century,---a progress rapid beyond all previous precedent, beneficial in its results upon nations and individuals beyond the dreams of idealists, marking a more decisive stride in the economic advancement of the race than all the centuries since man began to write the record of his deeds. For the first time in the history of the race the specter of famine and nakedness has been entirely exorcised; there is no longer a doubt that there will be enough to eat and to wear. How stupendous this achievement is we scarcely appreciate. It has made commonplace luxuries for which kings once sighed in vain, and has conferred upon the individual an amount of leisure and an amount of freedom from drudgery unknown since the first Pharaoh began the irrigation of Egypt. With material progress has come an astonishing intellectual advance and the birth of a new corporate soul, of a new nation, of a new individual, who sees with ecstasy the entrancing vision of a great people, imbued with a spirit of self-sacrifice, cooperating in the attempt to advance by conscious effort the temporal and spiritual growth of the future nation. In comparison, the progress of the past seems scarcely worth while; the progress of the present barely sufficient; its continuance so necessary, and its acceleration so obviously desirable as to be beyond question for sane and reasoning men. So keen is the realization of the benefits of this economic growth, so clear the vision of the possibilities if it can be accelerated, that the great nations can scarcely conceive of a sacrifice too great for the attainment of such an object.
For the first time great communities are willing to sacrifice the present to the future; for the first time the patriotism of the present generation is unselfish enough to include the generations yet to be born. We shall ill understand the tendencies of our own time if we fail to appreciate the nobility of this idealism, the splendor of its aim, the marvel of its sacrifice, the fineness of the national spirit which is moved by it, and the strength of its determination to achieve.
The increase of material comforts enormously stimulated the growth of population, a phenomenon which men now realize brought in its train difficulties and perplexities of a nature previously unobserved. It is the determination to insure to the individuals of this greater community all the new economic benefits, to increase their well-being to a point scarcely dreamed of a century ago, and to render certain the possession of at least this degree of comfort by the expanding millions about to be born, which creates the newest, but most characteristic, feature of the present situation. With so much dependent upon the acceleration of the rate of economic progress, the possibility that it is more likely to diminish than to increase is deemed alarming. The astonishing pace at which industry and agriculture have marched has been the product of factors not likely to be replaced in the future by others of equal potency. The great inventions of the nineteenth century---the steam engine, the railroad, the steamship, the telegraph, machinery of a thousand varieties---have worked marvels which can scarcely be repeated, and which have already exhausted the first great impulse. They were applied in most instances to natural resources almost virgin; the railroad and the steamship opened to settlement and cultivation vast areas of soil untrodden by the white man's foot. The new machinery uncovered and utilized new deposits of coal, copper, silver, and iron of unexampled richness. The last two generations, however, have stripped the earth bare of these first resources, have wasted and despoiled with little thought for the future. The first readjustment of industry to machinery is nearly, if not quite, complete, the frontier gone, unoccupied lands in the temperate zone uncommon, and the profit from agriculture and industry is decreasing while population is increasing.
Most European statesmen cannot predicate the continuance of this abnormal rate of progress while the business of the community and of the state is conducted in the old haphazard and inefficient manner, and they see a solution in the conscious utilization of these great forces and factors by a community willing and able to cooperate as a nation in the promotion of the corporate welfare. The individual must find the mean between his interests and those of the greater aggregate, the majority of whose citizens have yet to be born; the present must not despoil the future, or forget that it must sacrifice a little that the future may reap much. The situation has given birth to a doctrine, which may be termed the defense for the future, predicating policies the results of which will require half a century for achievement, and a second doctrine, which may be dubbed the necessity of business at a continued profit. Each year hundreds of thousands of men are added to the nation's workers by the arrival of a new generation of laborers numerically stronger by hundreds of thousands than the generation which ceases work. For them new work must be found, or the workers already employed will be compelled to share with them. To share means less wages, less work, less comforts, the sting of privation, and soon discontent and emigration to some country promising more comforts. To keep the normal increase of the population at home means that the trade of the nation and its industry must develop at a continued profit; the new hands must have work at a profit that the old hands may also continue to work at a profit, for unless both work at a profit, the wolf will soon appear at the door.
On the other hand, no European nation can view with equanimity the emigration of its citizens as long as the strategic and military situation compels it to defend itself against neighboring countries which cherish antipathies and rivalries reaching back through a mist of traditions into the dim past. The country which loses by emigration loses military strength, and if emigration is the result of economic conditions, it will continue to lose military strength, and to that extent fall into the power of neighboring nations whose population is able to stay at home. In time this disparity in size will make aggression and conquest the preliminaries of national humiliation and absorption. Behind military issues and political or diplomatic policies stands the economic problem. With the growth of population, the boundaries of European states and their natural resources have not kept pace; there is less territory per capita in Europe to-day than there was half a century ago. If the population continues to grow at the present rate, there will be vastly less half a century hence. The natural resources of every country are less than they were in actuality, and will be proportionately and actually less adequate each succeeding decade. Yet every decade will provide more hands to be employed at a profit that every decade will be less possible of attainment by the utilization of the nation's own natural resources. There are few statesmen in Europe who really believe that the rate of growth of the last half-century can be continued at all unless the nation can secure outside markets capable of absorbing annually by reason of their own internal development the additional produce turned out by the new workers in Europe.
Every nation knows that the volume of its trade with its rivals is greater than with its dependencies, and greater than it is likely to be in such markets as the less developed continents can afford. Not the volume of trade, but the degree to which it can be developed, is of consequence. England will sell Germany more goods, but she will buy more in about the same proportion, the normal increase in England being offset by the normal increase in Germany, in France, and in the United States. The normal, natural development of all communities in Europe should be; and is, reciprocal, and might indeed solve the difficulty were it not for the fact that only England and France are satisfied to continue at the present rate of development. The other nations regard themselves as already behind in an economic race where the loss of place will spell in time national extinction. To them the status quo is very unsatisfactory, and a normal growth (in the sense of a growth proportionate to the development of their rivals) they regard as objectionable and detrimental to the national interests. An abnormal growth, disproportionate compared with the development of other nations, that will continue until their economic equality with other nations now more favorably situated is an actuality, is precisely what they deem most essential. From such premises there is no escape. Foreign markets, expanding markets, are necessary for the defense of the future, and the greater good to the greater number yet to be born justifies a war of apparent aggression to insure their welfare.
All European nations feel distinctly the pressure for outside markets, though in different states the problem presents itself in different guises. Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy feel that the danger of aggression from their neighbors makes it essential for them to prevent emigration in order to maintain an annual increase of their national strength proportionate to the growth of their enemies. While Russia is growing rapidly, emigration involves peril for Germany and Austria; while Austria is adding hundreds of thousands annually, Italy must increase her strength at all costs. The three nations are so hemmed in by other states that the acquisition of additional territory is impossible, even if the smaller states around them were not experiencing the same difficulty of a rapid growth of population in a limited area the natural resources of which cannot be increased. Russia, an undeveloped country, and therefore anxious to grow at an abnormal rate, finds the problem less acute because of its vast area and the existence of Siberia. In France the difficulty is least because the population has for years been nearly stationary.
Great Britain long ago experienced the difficulty, but for decades was able to view with equanimity the steady stream of emigrants to Australia, to Canada, and to the United States, because she felt confident that her island position and the strength of her fleet made an army less necessary and the retention of the population at home undesirable. From the savings of the past came furthermore an income sufficient to support many thousands of her people at home; from her vast merchant marine, her banking business, and her general services to the world as broker, banker, carrier, insurer, she drew the maintenance of hundreds of thousands of hands; in her dependencies other thousands found occupation and a comfortable livelihood. All these factors, with the steadily increasing output of manufactured goods, have kept England and the English prosperous and contented. But they realize that their prosperity rests upon their access to non-European countries, and that this access depends upon their fleet. The difference between the attitude of England and France and that of Germany and Austria lies not in a fundamental difference in the national problem, but to the fact that their location and their military and naval prowess enabled them to secure the non-European markets that have thus far solved the difficulty. Naturally, they are loath to part with their advantage. The other European nations are grimly determined somehow to solve the same problem, and are willing to contest with force of arms freedom of access to the markets of the world.
Entirely within the bounds of possibility is an attempt to project across the Atlantic into the Western Hemisphere the surplus population inexpedient for the mother country to retain, and its establishment in a favorable location where it could develop without losing its identity as an integral part of the nation. Modern transportation and communication have made possible a degree of cooperation between distant groups which might literally erase even as great a difference in space as the Atlantic between the two parts of the same nation, and render possible a real acquaintanceship, a real sympathy in ideals, an essential identity of speech, administration, and methods. Such a state can certainly be founded, and the question of geographical continuity will be relatively unimportant if these other essentials of nationality exist. England has literally and successfully projected herself into Canada. The Germans have long talked of Das Deutschtum in Ausland as a reality, as an integral part of the German nation, and there is reason to believe that the migration of large numbers of Germans to Cuba and South America would result in a situation similar to that of Canada and Great Britain. This literal possibility of successfully projecting European nations across three thousand miles of water is a significant consideration for us who live in the Western Hemisphere.
The present situation is only a phase of an economic problem which is permanent, and which will probably influence European policies more powerfully decade by decade than it does now. We need not doubt the existence of a motive which may lead the victor of this present war to invade the Western Hemisphere. It may be that the only entirely feasible solution of his economic problems will be found there. We must now see to what extent the Western Hemisphere is fitted to assist him.
THE REDISCOVERY OF SOUTH AMERICA
THERE is no historical fact more trite than the discovery of South America by Christopher Columbus, and none better attested than its barrenness of wide results for nearly four centuries. Although the first continental land seen in the Western Hemisphere, its real features and possibilities remained unrealized until discovered by our own generation, by whom knowledge about it was first effectively disseminated. This remarkable fact has been thrown into strong relief by the outbreak of the European war, for it is in the undeveloped condition of South America, in its marvelous adaptability for European needs, that the victor will find the motive needed to lure him to the Western Hemisphere. The reasons for this neglect of South America during many centuries are striking; the reasons for its rediscovery by Europe and by the United States are significant; a comprehension of both is essential to a grasp of the potentialities and probabilities rendering a clash between Europe and the Western Hemisphere imminent.
In the early sixteenth century the New World seemed entirely to correspond to the expectations of Europeans. True, many had suffered disappointment; the new land was not the fabled territory of the Great Khan nor yet the location of Quivira and the Seven Cities of Cibola: but the precious metals and jewels were found in Mexico and Peru, and by the middle of the sixteenth century the results of conquest loomed stupendous, rendering Spain apparently the wealthiest of European nations. Then all vanished; the interest in South America of the world in general waned, and men began to forget. We have not far to seek for the reasons. The precious metals and jewels were derived from surface mines, which yielded steadily diminishing returns to the feeble efforts of the conqueror, for the crude methods of mining then understood made it possible to utilize little beyond the surface deposits of comparatively free metal. As always, the question of labor was the most difficult to solve. The Peruvians and Aztecs faded away in the mines and fields, and the other Indian stocks proved scarcely better workers. By the third quarter of the sixteenth century a brisk trade in negro slaves brought from Africa had sprung up, and attempts to develop South and Central America were largely abandoned in favor of the production in the West India Islands of the great staple crops, sugar and tobacco, for which a great demand was appearing in Europe. The interest of Europe in Central and South America was slight in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries compared with its vital interest in the West Indies, North America, and the East Indies.
We shall probably not be far wrong if we ascribe much of this indifference to the marshy or moist character of the coast regions, strewn with swamps, morasses, and rivers, abounding in insects and malaria, with a soil not often dry enough to make the labor of clearing it worth while. Such a district was not suited for the homes of white men in a new world, and conquered even stern Huguenots, men and women of desirable stock, whose ability and determination failed to found successful colonies. The few Spanish settlements languished, agriculture dwindled, and finally there were left in a semi-somnolent state only trading posts and factories which communicated with the interior by water and furnished a basis for barter with the natives. Around the Isthmus of Panama always clustered a few communities dependent upon the trade with Peru and the western coast. The whole district was ill-fitted to produce the commodities then in demand in Europe, and there were few or no products except dye-woods in which Europeans were much interested or in the development of which they saw possible profit.
In fact, the existence of North America, its superior adaptability for the home-maker, the vast extent of its fertile lands, stood in the way of the utilization of South America by Europeans until the nineteenth century. Much more accessible and much more understandable, admirably adapted for the production of what the European of that day deemed the necessities of life, colonists of all nations sought the United States in preference to lands farther south. For capitalists and merchants the profits of trade with North America and with the West Indies were so great that the probabilities of profit in the development of a less accessible country were not alluring. Indeed, something like the complete settlement of the United States, something like an approximate utilization of the resources of North America, was necessary to render South America an attractive field for enterprise or settlement.
The achievements of modern science and modern industry, however, are mainly responsible for its rediscovery. They have made South America valuable, desirable to Europeans as never before. The continent itself was inaccessible and was virtually isolated from Europe by time and space in the days of sailing-ships. This, however, was less important than the inaccessibility of the really desirable districts in the interior for the residence of white men and for commercial exploitation. While nearly two thirds of the continent is in the tropics, the prevalence of mountains and high plateaus in its center provides over the bulk of its area conditions by no means tropical, so that much of Peru and Ecuador and the whole of Bolivia are to all intents and purposes in the temperate zone and adapted by soil and climate for the residence of Europeans or Americans. Railroads to carry bulky products to the seaboard, steamships and cheap ocean freights were the prerequisites of the development of the interior of South America. The problem of transportation solved by the nineteenth century opened the whole area to settlement and enterprise. It is now merely a question of time when the whole will be utilized.
Another difficulty, insuperable until the nineteenth century, lay in the inability of European peoples to utilize most of its abounding natural products. It was not merely a question of profit or of transportation; the thing itself had as little conceivable utility when landed in Europe as the famous pocket-handerchiefs intended for the savages in Africa. Like rubber, the market of which is a matter of decades and depends upon the great development of the automobile and the extended use of electricity for a great variety of purposes, a whole class of commodities have been found indispensable to diversified industry which were hitherto useless. Another class the value of which was already known could not have been reached without modern machinery. South America abounds in minerals, the majority of which were non-existent for the Spaniards, partly because it was not profitable to extract the ore unless in large quantities and relatively free, and partly because the valuable metals in low-grade ores could not be separated at all from the foreign substances by the crude methods then employed. Modern drills and dynamite, the steam engine, the new crushers, have been needed to give us access to the mines of the Andes. In the forests are quantities of hardwood suitable for furniture of the finest grades, but too hard to be dealt with profitably by hand and too heavy and bulky to be successfully transported without the railroad.
Not less important has been the growth of the industrial community in Europe and in the United States, the extension of its desires, the multiplication of its wants. As the division of labor became more successful, as thousands of hands were freed from the labor of producing the necessities of life and turned to the task of producing luxuries, a thousand new economic wants clamored for satisfaction for the effectuation of which the community was ready to pay. Nothing short of this rapid expansion of the economic fabric in Europe and the United States, this multiplication of luxuries and new wants, the vital change in the standard of well-being which made the luxuries of the early nineteenth century the necessities of the twentieth, could have provided an adequate market for the South American produce. Laborers now expect to enjoy food and clothes superior to those eaten and worn by royalty not so long ago, and in this extension of the former luxuries of thousands to the millions lay the market for South American produce. The demand must precede the supply, and all the facilities of transportation were unavailing until the demand came into existence.
Access to the coast region has always been easy; residence beyond brief periods has been usually impossible for white men in great districts, while settlements of white men in districts otherwise commercially admirable has been out of the question. For years this barrier of fever-ridden land stood between the settler and the fertile fields and inexhaustible resources of the interior of the northern half of South America. Yet before the interior could be developed on a great scale the coast had to be rendered habitable for white men, because contact with the interior must take place from the coast. We must give due weight to the epoch-making achievements of modern science, which has already worsted malaria and yellow fever, the two dread scourges which closed the coast regions of much of South America to the whites for many generations. It is now merely a question of time when the whole will be conquered by modern sanitation and modern medicine.
The rediscovery of South America has been, and is still, a commercial proposition, and not alone a matter of profit, but of comparative profit, for no merchant normally does business at a loss, and no investor who believes himself entirely sane would dream of putting money into one enterprise so long as a more desirable enterprise was available. On the whole, the rate of profit in the development of a country where crude products must be produced in large quantities and transported great distances will be comparatively small in proportion to the physical bulk of the commodity dealt in. The profit on a pound of sugar, a square foot of timber, a pig of iron, or an ingot of silver is not usually high in percentage, and to make the transaction as a whole really lucrative, the merchant must extend his operations in many directions and produce on a large scale in order that his profit may be certain even if relatively small on each transaction. While rubber companies and mining investors have at times obtained annual profits of fifty or a hundred per cent., and in some cases even larger percentages, such is not the normal profit in South American trade. Before the investor and the merchant would be drawn thither, it was necessary that the rate of profit in ordinary transactions in other countries should fall to a percentage somewhat below that which can be regularly obtained in the production of bulky agricultural staples and natural products. With the profits made in the past in exploiting the United States and the West Indies, South America could scarcely compete, for when opportunities for merchant, investor, or laborer were so great and so near at hand, distant projects were not alluring. Colonial merchants who did not realize at least one hundred per cent. on the year's business thought themselves defrauded. One Baltimore shipowner who lived about the time of the American Revolution purchased a cargo of salt in Bermuda with tobacco, carried it into Baltimore, and cleared a profit of eight hundred per cent. The cotton industry in the South before the war, like the cultivation of virgin soil in the Mississippi valley, produced enormous profits.
Indeed, it might almost be claimed that until very recently Europe and the United States have regarded South America and Central America not as fields for investment and development, but for exploitation and speculation. The attitude of the outside world has changed. Instead of robbing its inhabitants, despoiling the land, and leaving it to its fate, they are now anxious to develop in that continent strong, self-reliant, capable communities which will develop their own resources and with whom ordinary business can be transacted from which the usual rate of profit will be expected and deemed satisfactory., The increase of population in Europe and the United States, the greater keenness of competition, the introduction of machinery, the improvements of transportation, have increased the volume of business and have decreased its rate of profit on individual transactions to a point which makes opportunities for the development of the Southern Continent seem attractive.
The economic independence of South America is at hand; the days of its slavery and degradation are already past; its rediscovery portends the realization of the important part it can and ought to play in the interdependent, international economic fabric. The end of the European war is more than likely to render this fact appallingly clear to the victor.
PROBABILITIES OF GERMAN AGGRESSION
THE circumstances in which Germany emerges from the present war as victor will be more significant for the United States than the fact of victory. Should Germany conclusively defeat the Allies on land and sea, she would in all probability carry out the Pan-Germanic schemes for the absorption of Africa and India, and would find in the development of an administration and in the solution of colonial problems abundant occupation for some years for such endeavor as she could spare from the rearrangement of Europe and the reorganization of Germany and Austria. While such a sweeping victory would by no means prevent her from extending her ægis over the Western Hemisphere, it would render an attempt to do so improbable. A victory by Germany and Austria on land and an English victory on the sea will also send the German armies to India and the far East, and with that eventuality the United States will not be concerned. A naval victory over England and either a stalemate on land or a victory without the annihilation of the French and Russian armies; a qualified victory on land and sea by Germany and Austria not sufficient to humble or crush their enemies but enough to compel the latter to conclude a peace on terms favorable to Germany--- these are the eventualities which the United States ought to view with apprehension. And precisely these circumstances the military and naval probabilities indicate. The English fleet seems likely to retain control of the sea despite diminishing numbers and occasional defeats, and if Germany and Austria win at all on land, it will probably be a victory which will fall far short of the annihilation of the allied armies. This will be the very situation which the United States has most to fear.
In no event is a German army likely to set foot upon the soil of North America to attack the United States, Canada, or Mexico. Though we are told of German plans for the invasion of the United States, no doubt the War Department at Berlin could display in its archives an elaborate scheme for the invasion of every country on the globe, and we shall do well not to deceive ourselves into a belief that the attempt to educate the general staff in various European countries portends an invasion of the United States. Any notion that Germany would even dream of conquering America is based upon a fundamentally incorrect conception of Pan-Germanism.
Economic problems, though not more fundamental than in other European countries, are more pressing in Germany, where the benefits of the economic development of the last decades have been proportionately greater than elsewhere, and where the fear that they may not be durable is based upon a vivid memory of conditions when Germany was less prosperous. Many people now alive in Germany have experienced comparative penury and real prosperity within the span of their own lives, and look upon a possible diminution of the rate of economic progress with something more than a speculative eye. Markets, for the swelling volume of German manufactured goods greater each year by the amount produced by the new generation of efficient hands, Germany is seeking; markets in which she may continue to sell at a profit indefinitely, and so ward off that readjustment of German industry which must involve considerable, even though temporary, suffering to many of her people and probably invite emigration. Rightly or wrongly, she does not feel that the European countries, the United States, and Canada, will offer her such a market. South America and Central America are apparently ideal for her purpose, and she needs merely to remove from her path two technical and artificial obstacles, the English fleet and the Monroe Doctrine. With the one she is at present attempting to deal; to the other she may in due time direct her attention.
Americans who study an atlas but seldom, and who see their own country and Europe depicted on large scale maps, so that Russia, Massachusetts, and Belgium each occupy a full page, and then chance in turning the leaves to stumble across a map of Latin America also occupying a page, have not the slightest realization of its immense size. Its area approximates nine million square miles, about three times greater than the United States, and it contains one state which alone is as large as the United States. Approximately seventy-five millions of people inhabit the twenty republics stretching between the Rio Grande and Cape Horn, but, though they are collectively numerous, it is vital to remember, when we are speaking of the adaptability of various parts of the world for Germany's purposes, that only three fourths as many people as there are in the United States are scattered over an area three times as great. Probably no country so well fitted for development by Europeans is unappropriated by them.
The natural resources of the country are vast almost beyond relief. The land itself is excessively fertile, and the conditions in various parts of the country permit the profitable cultivation of all tropical staples and of most products of the temperate zone, for somewhere the right conditions of soil, climate, and rainfall will be found in conjunction. Its forests produce such commercial staples as rubber, dye-woods, and hard-woods for cabinet-making; its mountains contain minerals in profusion---the precious metals, quantities of iron, lead, and tin, besides many minerals of which relatively small quantities are available in Europe and many of which the supply in Europe proper is steadily diminishing. As a field for enterprise, South America is unsurpassed in the world and without a peer. Its resources have been scarcely uncovered, and the ground has barely been scratched. While in southern Brazil and in the northern Argentine Republic are highly developed areas, much of the coast is entirely undeveloped, and the greater part of the interior is almost virgin because it has not yet been reached by modern transportation. There are thousands of miles of railroads in South and Central America, but the area to be covered is three times as great as that of the United States, the number of people to be reached is nearly seventy-five millions, and the mileage necessary to meet their needs is enormous. Yet upon adequate railroad facilities depends the profitable development of the interior and the coast, for when the railroads are in operation, the rapidity with which the country can grow will depend solely upon the amount of capital which can be drawn thither. That degree of rapid development which the Germans believe essential for their new market is entirely feasible in South and Central America.
As a field for emigration, South America is unsurpassed by any similar area outside of Europe and North America which is not already crowded to bursting with population. Vast areas await settlement---vast areas with a temperate climate, fertile soil, abundant mineral resources, everything necessary for the comfort of a European population.
The South Americans are naturally zealous to win favorable opinions about their country from foreigners,---quite as anxious as the inhabitants of Chicago, London, and Berlin,---and they resent with perfect justice the representation of South America as an uninhabited country. In all fairness we should emphasize the existence of broad bands of highly developed territory where conditions are essentially the same as in Europe and in the United States. If some towns and districts are unprepossessing, there are tank-towns and mining cities in the United States of America consisting of a few saloons and one-story shacks, and the domestic architecture in the Middle West and even in well-known Eastern States has not yet attracted the commendation of artists. Candor will extort from Americans who see nothing but the pictures the admission that Rio Janeiro and Buenos Aires surpass from an architectural point of view the great majority of American cities, and contain certain districts, finer than anything in America, which compare favorably with the show places of Europe. Travelers insist that the reality far surpasses the pictures, and that the hotels and accommodations in the larger cities are luxurious to a degree unknown in a good many parts of the United States. At the same time that we insist upon these facts, we must also stress the existence of vast areas as yet undeveloped, where the population is ignorant and crude when it is not literally savage. The most vital fact to keep in mind about Latin America as a whole is the juxtaposition of the developed and the undeveloped, of civilization and barbarism. Both exist in Latin America.
Were it not true that millions of these people are highly civilized and accustomed to satisfying a very great variety of economic wants by the importation of European manufactured goods, Latin America would offer a conspicuously less favorable opportunity to German trade; for the German problem is in reality a future problem---to expand her trade as fast as her population can possibly grow, to increase her exports in proportion to the increase of industrial efficiency in production, and to sell all at a profit. Not much consideration is needed to show us that South America is naturally better fitted than most European dependencies to afford an expanding market. The population in Morocco and Egypt, like the population in India, has not been accustomed to a high degree of comfort, judged by European standards, and is not easily and rapidly educated in varieties of new wants that European endeavor and capital are essential to satisfy. The pace at which such markets can be developed is difficult to accelerate, and the more expensive and complicated manufactured products are less easily sold there. A market for pianos is more difficult to develop in India than in South America, where European Music is a passion with a large part of the native population, where there are opera-houses the architecture of which puts to blush our structures for similar purposes, and performances are usually comparable with our own. The markets for European goods in South America are already developed; the volume of trade is already enormous; it has grown in the last few decades with leaps and bounds, affording proof of the pace at which it will continue to grow under favorable conditions.
The inability of Germany to wait until the day when her navy can beat the English fleet in open battle has compelled her to seek markets outside Europe which can be reached by land and the trade of which cannot be controlled by sea-power, and has aimed Pan-Germanism at Egypt and India, at the fertile valleys of the Tigris and Euphrates. But inasmuch as this assault upon Africa and Asia involves highly unpleasant consequences for other nations, Germany's success may conceivably raise almost as many problems as it will settle. While she has already achieved powerful allies, and in the event of victory may acquire more, her expansion into Africa and Asia has already insured the enmity of two powerful nations, and may probably arouse the apprehension of others. Such a solution of her problem is undesirable as long as another method is available. Such an opportunity is presented in South America. As it is not strategically a part of Europe, its control by Germany would not menace in the least any of the existing coalitions in Europe, Africa, or Asia, and would threaten neither the political welfare nor the independence of European or Asiatic powers. Its possession could not possibly make Germany politically stronger or strategically more dangerous in Europe than she would be without it. This, indeed, may not improbably be the really vital fact which the war will make astoundingly clear. In the event of a sweeping German victory, the occupation of South America will be easier than interference elsewhere; in the event of a victory over the English fleet, whether or not that fleet is annihilated, the control of South America will afford the simplest, readiest, and most expeditious solution of Germany's economic problems.
Above all, in the eventuality which seems most probable,---a German preponderance on land sufficiently clear to compel the granting of concessions by the Allies,---South America will be the easiest thing for them to concede. There is nothing on the globe that would cost the Allies so little without threatening them at all. It is the only thing on the globe, in fact, which they can afford to surrender to a victorious Germany. All the powers except England and France will give away what they never possessed, a sort of giving which most people find easy, and even for England it is a much easier concession from every conceivable point of view than Egypt, India, or South Africa, where the roots of English rule are older, deeper, and better established.
It may not improbably be the only concession which a due regard for the future will enable Germany to accept. If there is one thing more essential for her than another in the preparation of a lasting peace, it is a solution favorable to Germany which does not require concessions involving the honor of other nations. The loss of Morocco, of Egypt, of India, would be serious blows to the pride of the English and French people, and would be so unpopular and lead so inevitably to a demand for reprisal and revenge that German statesmen may well hesitate before demanding or accepting them. No nation's pride would be involved in the cession to Germany of South America, because no European nation has political dominion in South America, outside Guiana, and no control or overlordship of that obvious technical nature the loss of which is so impossible to conceal. All European nations have relations with Latin America of such subtlety, and relations with other parts of the world so public and avowed, that a compromise reached at the expense of South America would surely be agreeable to them all. They cannot, indeed, confer upon Germany privileges of ownership they do not possess, but she will be abundantly satisfied if they covenant not to interfere with her development of the country and with her acquisition of the lion's share of the trade. They can easily come to a tacit agreement to turn their attention elsewhere and leave her unmolested.
From the economic point of view such a solution would be exceedingly advantageous for Germany. South America is so safe from military interference and so easily protected by the victors' fleet from European aggression that it will provide a particularly secure place in which to develop, with German capital in the hands of German merchants, the expanding market on which Germany places her future dependence. No conquest by arms would be desired; no military rule of any sort would be expedient; no army needed to retain the sort of right upon which she would be prepared to insist---a preferential tariff or some sort of trade monopoly or preference which would be as profitable to South Americans as to Germans.
Nor would the acquisition by Germany of England's peculiar supremacy be likely to arouse opposition or even apprehension in South America. The Latin American is well acquainted with the German and finds him personally much to his liking. He is apprehensive not of German merchants, of German fleets, or German commerce, but of German colonists, who would attempt the erection in South America of das Deutschtum in Ausland. When he comes to understand that the new Germany will frown upon emigration, he will lose his suspicions of her. The South American, therefore, Germany has not to fear; with Europeans in South America she will be able to deal with maximum ease.
Such a solution would be peculiarly adapted to the maintenance in Germany of an army large enough to hold France and Russia in check. Pan-Germanism is intended to make possible the retention of enough men in Germany to recruit indefinitely an army of sufficient strength to hold in check the swelling hordes of Russia. A victory which compels the vanquished to pay the price in Africa and Asia, will mean the military protection of the new dependencies and their administration by German hands, which, while it will furnish employment for a good many Germans, will draw from Germany a good many men whose loss it may not be easy to replace, and whose number, indeed, may have to be considerably increased as the years elapse. If the day should ever come when a new coalition should rise to wrest from Germany her new empire, the defense of an empire scattered over Europe, Asia, and Africa would in all probability be so difficult as almost to predicate failure. On the contrary, the defense of an empire based upon a German army at home and upon commercial interests with a country like South America, inaccessible to Europeans, making no demands for military protection, and quite capable of administering itself, would be so entirely feasible as to leave almost no ground for hesitation in the contemplation of alternatives.
Quite within the bounds of possibility will be an assault by Germany upon the far East. The Panama Canal, if she can secure it, will afford access to the Pacific by a route eminently safe from European interference. Through it would be feasible, an attempt to free the Eastern nations from English and French domination, to restore to India and China their national independence, free from curtailment or interference, in exchange for that same shadowy commercial supremacy which Germany would like to obtain in South America. She could thus strike a crushing blow at her adversaries' prosperity without herself assuming the sort of burdens which render her enemies vulnerable, and as she would control her own approaches by way of Panama to the far East, dependent upon nobody's consent or permission, she could in the future extend her trade unchecked. Than this no more deadly blow could be struck at England, and it could be dealt with entire safety and without creating future problems. The dream of German statesmen would come true---the disruption of England's artificial and abnormal empire and the restoration of freedom to South America and the far East, with the lion's share of the trade in German hands.
There would remain the United States and the Monroe Doctrine. We have at present the most explicit diplomatic assurances that the Germans intend to regard the integrity of our possessions and do not contemplate an assault on Canada. On the whole, the Germans do not expect opposition from the United States. They realize it would be a gross blunder for them to attempt actually to monopolize the whole South American market, for they cannot supply everything the latter wishes to buy nor consume all the raw produce she must export; but they feel it would also be a sorry blunder to share it with England and France, where the profits of the trade would strengthen Germany's foes and help in the solution of economic problems the insistence and difficulty of which would otherwise weaken them. The United States is different. She neither threatens Germany nor is likely to develop an economic fabric which Germany would need to fear, whatever its size or rate of progress. An alliance with us she would gladly have, and she would willingly purchase it at the price of concessions in South America beyond those dictated by economic prudence. That some such reasoning would influence German statesmen is quite within the bounds of probability.
What, then, would the United States do? Suppose we should decline such a German offer? Shall we not delude ourselves if we suppose that with such interests at stake, such problems to solve, such foes already vanquished, the Germans would hesitate to challenge the Monroe Doctrine?
POSSIBILITIES OF ENGLISH AGGRESSION
FROM present indications most critics conclude that the end of the war will find England still supreme upon the sea. They point to the natural ability of the English as sailors, to the preponderance in size of the English fleet over the German, to the centuries of successful experience behind the English leaders, to the possibility of another Nelson or a new Drake. Victory will not change our fundamental relations to the sea-power nor yet the fundamental premise that the sea-power itself is for England a defensive arm, the use of which for aggression would endanger its own existence. The same considerations which have hitherto made politic England's generous use of her authority would still dictate little if any interference with other nations. Nevertheless, the defeat of the German navy---and in all probability its defeat will mean its destruction---will affect a substantive change in those factors of the situation most essential to the safety and prosperity of the United States.
The restoration of England's supremacy as an actual fact will destroy the balance of power in European waters which has long rendered inexpedient the aggressive use of England's navy and immunized our coast and island possessions from attack. The aftermath of every great European war has found England utilizing the sea-power for the extension of her dominion wherever possible without the cooperation of an extensive military expedition. Without doubt all German colonies will be in England's hands before long, and she will expect to retain the bulk of them at the end of the war; but she will then be able to undertake aggression against others. We must not forget, therefore, that victory will automatically restore to England the supremacy of the Western Hemisphere. Once more her fleet will take physical control of our waters and will be able to exercise in fact the true supremacy which we have had during the last decade and a half. Nor will there be any longer a necessity for generosity; with the defeat of her great rival her imperative reasons for conciliating us will have disappeared. She was anxious for us to hold the sovereignty of American waters because she was anxious to keep it out of the hands of Germany; once victorious, she will prefer to retain it herself.
Why, too, should she not extend her present possessions in the Gulf of Mexico? The most desirable possession in the world at the close of this war will be the Panama Canal, the new roadway to the English colonies in Australia, to the English possessions in India, to the marts of trade in China; a new roadway which the fleet alone can control, and one which Pan-Germanism, Pan-Slavism, and Pan-Islam are incapable of threatening. Its approaches are already in England's hands: the Bahama and Bermuda islands, easily controlling the approaches to the gulf from the Atlantic Coast; the really advantageous route through the Windward Islands; the road along the South American coast past Barbados and Trinidad. All these converge upon Jamaica at the very entrance of the canal, commanding its approaches from Europe, from the Atlantic coast of the United States, and from our gulf ports. With the keys of the situation thus in her hands, with an English squadron in active control of the sea, with the notions of expediency dictated by the exigencies of European policy no longer counseling so great a degree of caution, to take possession of the remainder would be a matter of the utmost simplicity and a step clearly advantageous.
At our influence in the Gulf of Mexico she has always looked askance, regarding it from the earliest times as contrary to her interests. Trade with the West Indies she was glad to foster while the continental colonies were subjects of the British crown, but the moment they broke from that allegiance she became hostile to the extension of American trade, and opposed it by means of statutes and regulations which her navy was completely adequate to enforce. The Monroe Doctrine and the diplomatic negotiations which preceded and followed it convinced her statesmen that the United States cherished a desire to extend its authority over the whole of the gulf and the adjacent territory, an impression strengthened and confirmed by the happenings and diplomatic statements of the ensuing decades. We need not suppose that this was forgotten when the understanding was reached which placed the supremacy of the gulf for the time in our hands, nor that the events of the last fifteen years making the United States the dominant power in the Gulf of Mexico have escaped notice. England herself still holds the strategic and naval stations, but the present English possessions are not as commercially valuable in themselves as those of the United States, and the retention of strategic control premises a return to her earlier policy of controlling the gulf as soon as the exigencies of the European situation permit. When the German fleet has been destroyed and the victory of the Allies has shifted the balance of power in Europe and left England free to pursue her earlier policies and recoup her losses, will it not be entirely natural for her to turn once more to the Gulf of Mexico and to expect the United States to surrender a supremacy which she received as a loan, one might almost say, rather than as a gift?
The northwestern extremity of this continent is the province of Alaska, valuable because of its great deposits of gold, coal, and other minerals. Geographically, it is a part of Canada and not a part of the United States; our title to it rests upon purchase rather than upon conquest or discovery, and upon a purchase made at a time when the mineral deposits were scarcely suspected. The simplicity of the operations required to add Alaska to Canada will be apparent to the least informed. Separated as it is from the United States proper, easily approached from any part of western Canada, and inhabited at present by a sparse and cosmopolitan population, it would be difficult indeed for us to defend.
Our relations with Canada have rarely met with English approval. Scarcely had the French been expelled and the American Revolution begun than the thirteen States were negotiating and scheming to add Canada as a fourteenth state, and the project has often been revived since. In 1812 invasion was attempted, with the probable purpose of conquering the province and offering it to England in exchange for the commercial rights for which we had negotiated in vain. Such, at any rate, was the version accepted in England. Further difficulties were occasioned when the present Constitution of Canada was made, while the recent attempts to provide a customs agreement which should give the Canadians greater privileges in the United States than English merchants possessed in England have been thought to be the preliminaries of annexation. To such notions credence has been lent by men in the highest American public offices. Recently a campaign was fought in Canada over the issue of loyalty to England and the rejection of the commercial treaty or its acceptance with the understanding that a closer connection, if not annexation, with the United States was desirable and probable. Rumor is once more busy with similar schemes, and is proceeding from quarters whence the news will certainly reach England. Any attempt during the war or at its close to establish a more intimate connection between the United States and Canada will not be viewed with approval in London.
The potential power of England is enormous, and in the present circumstances ought to be better understood. Our whole foreign trade is in her hands, all our approaches are at the mercy of her fleet once that fleet is victorious over its present enemies, and an army could invade the United States from Canada with ease and probably with success. It could not, indeed, hope to hold the country or conquer it, but a dash at New York, Chicago, or Seattle is eminently feasible.
An English victory will also predicate a great change in England's attitude toward the growing trade of the United States with South America. Until comparatively recently, Great Britain paid little attention to the United States or to its assertions of interest in South America because we had neither the manufactured goods nor the capital which the Latin Americans needed, and were unable to use in our own industries any considerable amount of their products. Then from the magic of the industrial inventions of the nineteenth century came the transformation of the United States and of South America. From a power whose commercial influence England might safely disregard, the United States had become a dangerous rival; from a customer whose trade the South Americans need scarcely consider, the United States had become one of their most important buyers. Physically we are able, entirely able, to compete with England in South American markets, and have proved ourselves capable of getting rather more than our share in some of them. During the last fifteen years we have so enormously increased our trade that in Central America nearly seventy per cent. is to-day in American hands, and in parts of South America the United States stands either second or third in volume of trade.
Of these facts, however, the European situation forbade the English to complain. The trade was a necessary consequence of the supremacy of the Western Hemisphere which the building of the German fleet had put into American hands and which, indeed, the English were not at the time in a position actively to dispute, because they were not able to despatch from Europe adequate force to make good their claims. Once the German fleet is destroyed and the supremacy of the sea is again incontestably in England's hands, the control of the water routes to the Western Hemisphere hers beyond dispute, will she not take into account the new relationship between the United States and South America, and be driven to ask whether it is to her interest for the United States to possess so large a share of the trade? We shall not need to assume her intention of monopolizing the trade to the total exclusion of the United States and other nations to see that she may well object to the proportion of it which we at present have, and will in particular not view with favor any future increase. She will be able to challenge her new rival's position, and it would not be at all surprising if she objected strongly to sharing with us the trade which Germany has had. During the war American trade with South America will undoubtedly increase in volume, because we may absorb part of England's own market as well as the lion's share of Germany's. When England wishes to resume her normal business at the close of the war, what then? Will American merchants be willing to cede their vantage without a struggle? Will they not fight valiantly for the trade the vanquished have had? Will there not be here ample material for disagreement and dispute, for recrimination and diplomatic difficulties, and, it may be, for arbitrary restrictions and acts leading to war?
In all probability, too, more fundamental factors than these will counsel the extension of English trade with South America. England's home land in the British Isles is not only more restricted than Germany, but utterly incapable of enlargement; additional territory is out of the question. Its natural resources are much smaller than Germany's, for much of its surface is not arable land, and much of its arable land is not naturally fertile, and much of it shows clearly the working of the law of diminishing returns; the mineral resources are neither varied nor inexhaustible, and there are no adequate indigenous supplies of any of the raw products in the manufacture of which England excels. Yet her population is increasing at a rate only somewhat less than Germany's and Austria's, at a rate, although somewhat smaller than in the immediate past, still greater than the resources of the British Isles can possibly support. England does not now feed herself, already imports the great bulk of the materials which keep her factories going, and actually depends to-day upon exporting the greater part of the output. If there is a country in the world entirely dependent upon the possession of foreign markets and of ready access to them, it is England. Indeed, it is the English solution of this problem of a rapid increase of population within a restricted area normally too small to support it and impossible of increase that suggested Pan-Germanism to the Germans. The English have encouraged emigration, and have thus kept the population in the British Isles within certain bounds; they have assiduously sought and developed foreign markets in Asia, Africa, and South America; they have taken care of thousands of individuals by means of their merchant marine and their vast exchange business. In these ways they have coped with this problem successfully ever since the time of Elizabeth, when the problem first became clear. But it is to-day exactly as vital for England to retain foreign markets large enough to permit her citizens at home to continue manufacturing at a profit in the ratio at which population increases as it is for Germany and Austria to accomplish the same end by the acquisition of markets which they do not now possess; the consequence to England of losing markets will be not less serious than the effect upon Germany of an inability to attain them.
If the war leaves England with the control of the sea, but compels her to hand over to some other nation or nations or to share with other nations some of the markets which she at present virtually monopolizes, it will be imperative for her to replace this loss by the prompt development of a new market elsewhere. It is also conceivable that the growth of her self-governing colonies and dependencies has reached its maximum and will now proceed at a somewhat slower pace. Although the market for manufactured goods in a new country settled by Europeans is at first large, it normally diminishes in the ratio by which the new settlement produces for itself, so that the greater complexity in the economic life of the English self-governing colonies will naturally result in a proportionately smaller demand for English goods. Nor must we forget in this connection the growing sentiment in the English colonies that they ought not to be expected to purchase commodities from the mother country which they can obtain more cheaply from England's rivals; more and more as the decades pass are the self-governing colonies likely to insist upon their economic freedom; more and more will this diminish the demand for English products. The shortage from these varied causes ---and let us remember always that a proportionately smaller demand will be fatal even although the actual sum total of goods sold may still show an increase---will compel England to seek new markets in order to maintain the rate of commercial progress essential for the preservation of prosperity in the British Isles.
We may add to these probabilities a quite normal anxiety to increase the pace of England's industrial development considerably beyond the rate of the last few decades in order to replace as soon as possible the capital spent in waging this war. England's comparative inability to maintain her normal rate of production during the war, the comparatively larger number of men taken from industry for the army than in Europe, where standing armies have normally kept large numbers of men outside of the economic fabric, will probably make the drain upon English capital relatively heavier than in the case of other nations. The desirability of replacing it as speedily as possible will be so evident, and the method of doing it by the manufacture in England and the sale elsewhere of increased quantities of goods is so thoroughly well understood, that an English victory almost predicates an attempt to accelerate the development of English industry by the opening of new markets.
Political or international complications may make it impossible to satisfy all these impulses in Africa or Asia, while economic changes in the self-governing colonies may render a solution, by a proportionately increased trade with them out of the question. True, we must suppose that Germany's defeat will transfer a certain part of her present foreign markets to the victor, at least until German industry can recover from the war, but it is probable that Central and South America will offer the most favorable opportunity to the English for solving these varied problems and for recouping as soon as possible their losses in the war. If England could sell them, in addition to her present exports, a considerable proportion of what Germany and the United States combined have sold, she would be quite likely to create there the most valuable and dependable market that she has ever had. The geographical isolation of South America both from Europe and from the United States would place the monopoly upon the firm basis of England's supremacy of the sea. If the present war renders English bankers chary of investing capital in Germany, partly because of the possibility of wars in the future, partly by reason of a desire not to help the Germans on their feet too quickly, they will look for some country freed from the possibilities of alarms, unaffected by European complications, not strategically dangerous to other nations or strategically necessary to them, a country in which the new economic development based upon that capital would not make it possible to create a new political and military power likely or able to threaten England's own position. There is only one such possibility on the globe sufficient in size, in richness of resources, in the present degree of development attained by its population, to meet this requirement---South America. And there will be on the globe no place where the English can as easily, with as little effort or danger, increase their markets. The war may, therefore, produce a chain of circumstances which may almost force the English to draw into their own hands a considerable proportion of the trade with Latin America which the United States now has, and to resist with determination America's attempt to increase its commercial dealings in that attractive El Dorado of the twentieth century.
RIGHTS OF NEUTRALS
THE United States is already seriously at odds with the power which seems likely to be the victor in this war. That the crisis will lead to war with England is not necessarily true; that it may result in war, as it has before, we shall be wise to remember. The interests of the United States as a nation dependent upon the merchant marines of other powers for its intercourse with the rest of the world cannot fail to differ in time of war from those of the power controlling the sea.
In times of peace the actual supremacy of the English fleet has been rarely asserted, and its interference with complete freedom of intercourse between nations has been neither frequent, insistent, nor burdensome; but the outbreak of this present European war has shown the English, as always, the important part which the control of the sea, if rigidly asserted, might play in the campaign upon land, and has led them to change promptly their attitude toward neutral shipping as well as toward that of their enemies. Indeed, it was immediately clear that if the decisive factor should prove eventually to be the possession of the greater resources, the English would win because to their own they could add by means of the seapower those of neutral nations, and could by the same means limit their enemies' resources to those within their own boundaries. If the German, army should demonstrate in actuality any such degree of efficiency as had been claimed for it, a defensive campaign would become essential until vast preparations could be made to bring the superior numbers of the Entente to bear in the field. By preventing exportation to Germany and Austria of anything at all useful, the sea-power could render a military service of the first order, greater in significance beyond all compare than the levy of troops and manufacture of munitions of war in England. If in the end the armies are unable to decide the issue, the sea-power alone, as in other wars, will decide the issue in the Allies' favor.
The English Government, therefore, promptly assumed precisely the position in regard to the use of the sea by other nations which it had hitherto taken in European wars, and which had invariably proved in the past of the utmost consequence and importance. Napoleon ascribed his failure chiefly to the English control of the sea and their use of it to supply themselves and to interfere with the trade between France and neutral nations. Virtually the English regulations permit complete freedom of trade only with England and her Allies. With her foes all trade is strictly limited, their own ships and those of neutral nations ordinarily being allowed to import only such commodities as are of no possible utility. Upon the trade of neutrals with one another England has always laid certain restrictions intended to prevent the importation of goods by one neutral nation from another which the former could then sell to belligerents. Strict contraband of war, therefore, she has rarely allowed neutral nations to export to one another and within this category she has ordinarily written down everything directly and indirectly essential to the prosecution of war. If the limitation of supplies is to have any effect upon her foes, it must be as complete as possible.
To enforce these provisions and to insure a continued observance of them by all the shipping on the seas, she has invariably insisted upon her right to search any and all vessels of neutral nations, to view their cargoes and papers, to inspect their crews, and to arrest the subjects of belligerents. Contraband of war thus discovered has been promptly seized, and the vessel carrying it has usually been detained until such time as the English prize courts could deal with the case and establish clearly what was contraband and what was not.
Nor have the English ever admitted any right in the neutral nation concerned to interpret their regulations for itself or to interpose any regulations of its own. Their regulations have been enforced invariably by English officials upon English ships or in English courts according to their interpretation of the intention of the English Government and of the interests of England at stake. They have been war measures, pursued for military rather than for naval purposes and have amounted, always to a literal enforcement of the English control of the sea on the basis of English interests.
The complaints brought by the United States Government have ostensibly grown out of specific acts done by English officers and courts in pursuance of these regulations; but these in reality are merely the examples upon which the Government hangs broad general contentions, identical in character and form with those urged by neutral nations against the English claims for upward of three centuries. The fundamental tenet of neutral nations is the freedom of the sea, the contention that no one owns it, advanced by Grotius more than three centuries ago. Outside the immediate waters of any nation, there should be no rules and no interference by one nation with the ships of another unless the two are at war. Neutral ships should have full right of transit, and neutral nations should always have the right to send in one another's ships or in the ships of belligerents goods of all nations, for neutrality ought to place all neutral nations on an equality with both belligerents and confer upon them the right to trade with both upon the same terms. In preparing the list of absolute contraband, defining articles which should be contraband wherever found, neutral nations have included only the absolute essentials of war, while England has invariably insisted upon the broadest possible interpretation of what was useful in time of war. The United States Government accordingly claims that copper, for which there are a thousand uses, is not necessarily contraband of war; the English Government, on the other hand, knows that copper is a most important metal for which there is in many cases literally no substitute in the preparation of munitions of war.
With technicalities, too, the English have had in the past little patience. They have always claimed the right to look at the facts and to form their own conclusions from such evidence as they judged pertinent as to the real destination of the article in question, and as to its real importance for the belligerent for whom it was intended, and, while they have usually listened respectfully to the views of neutral shippers and their governments on these questions, they have never treated them as conclusive. When, therefore, they see a neutral country, like Holland or Denmark, begin as soon as war breaks out to import large amounts of a great variety of commodities which they ordinarily import in small quantities or not at all, they promptly conclude that the commodity in question has not reached its destination when it arrives in the neutral country. The mere technical fact of its consignment to a neutral merchant is not necessarily conclusive, and they wish something more than paper evidence that their foes will not ultimately receive it.
This clash of interests, which is so irreconcilable, is older than the United States, and dates back, indeed, before the days when there were any colonies here. We have no new issue to fight; we occupy upon it a very old position, which neutral nations and their subjects, whether merchants or scholars, have invariably concluded was logical, sound, and just, and one which English statesmen, merchants, and scholars have commonly decided England could not accept. For three hundred years no European war has failed to produce this clash between the English and neutral nations. Never have the English conceded the position and never have the neutrals succeeded in forcing from them a recognition or acknowledgment of their rights. According to the precedents of neutrals, according to the position which we ourselves have previously assumed, we occupy to-day a position logically unassailable, beyond all question equitable and just; but according to past English precedent, our contention is one they cannot grant.
It is not difficult to see the main trend of the English argument that the fundamental demands of the United States are inadmissible. For us to demand freedom of trade with Germany in many of the articles on the English list of contraband is tantamount to a request to allow us to prolong the war in order that we may make profit out of it. England, they will insist, is fighting for her life and is not considering questions of profit or loss; by limiting her foe's supplies from the outside, by cutting off rigorously everything conceivably essential to war, she can strike him a deadly blow. Undoubtedly this means that neutrals are not to send him the things he really wants, the things, therefore, for which he is willing to pay the most and of which he would use the largest quantities, the things obviously for which the English search must be the most active and the confiscation of which must be the most rigid. That this involves a certain amount of inconvenience and probably actual financial loss to a good many American citizens the English readily admit, and they regret it, but they still insist that the measure is a war measure, aimed at Germany and not at us, and that England is willing to pay for such damage to American citizens as can actually be demonstrated. More than this she cannot concede without sacrificing a great military and naval advantage, which may conceivably decide the war in her favor, in order to increase somewhat the profits in business of certain American citizens. The matter is vital to England, they will insist, involving her independence, her integrity, and, it may be, her very existence. It is for Americans a mere matter of profit and loss, affecting only a few Americans and probably only the degree of their profit. How, they ask, can a sane man hesitate between such alternatives?
Yet, the text of the American note of December 26, 1914, made public with the consent of the English Government on January 1, 1915, shows that the difference of opinion between England and the United States virtually amounts to a request to England to admit the validity of our opinion as to the necessity of certain specific things to her safety. Our interpretation of the established rules of international conduct is also emphasized as something which she should regard. Above all, the Government asks that seizure of goods as contraband should take place only after actual evidence has been produced that its technical destination is false and a belligerent destination intended. "Mere suspicion is not evidence"; mere presumption or a likelihood that such goods may eventually reach a belligerent is not sufficient warrant for detention. These issues involve certain very obvious and exceedingly practical difficulties, as the English answer pointed out. To produce evidence which a prize court could recognize might be entirely beyond the power of the English officers, although the main facts of the situation might show that a small neutral nation is entirely unable to utilize in a year in normal ways the amount of certain commodities consigned to it from the United States in a single month. Nor can the English Government verify the correctness of the ship's manifest without bringing the vessel to some port where careful examination can be made by qualified officers, who can weigh bales of cotton for concealed copper, and open boxes marked "machinery" to make sure they do not contain rifles. A certain delay is inevitable unless the inspection and search is to become perfunctory. To attempt in time of war to decide questions of public safety and military expediency by rules of evidence and regulations agreed to beforehand has always seemed inexpedient, because the cases which actually appear defy classification; the ingenuity of merchants is great and the ease of outwitting any technical requirement obvious. A demand by the United States that the English Government should accept the manifest as accurate until clear evidence appears of its falsity, therefore, is asking them to countenance smuggling in defiance of their regulations, unless they can produce a type of evidence which the very nature of the case renders almost impossible.
Certain facts clearly writ in the situation make it probable that the English will give serious attention to the formulation of a compromise as favorable to the United States as the exigencies of the situation will admit. They are considerations, however, which have nothing to do with the demands, their technicalities, or their justice. The English, French, and Belgian nations are at present dependent for a considerable proportion of the necessities of life upon imports from the United States. They are counting definitely upon equipping Kitchener's army with munitions of war and clothing manufactured in the United States, in pursuance of the practice which permits private persons in neutral nations to sell armament to belligerents. If strained relations between the two countries interfere in any way with the stream of imports or with the fulfilling of these contracts, the consequences to England and France will be exceedingly serious. A cessation of intercourse might prevent the adequate reinforcement and even the maintenance of the armies in France, give the German preparedness an importance which it has not hitherto had by exhausting the supplies of the Allies while the German accumulations are still considerable, and thus weaken and perhaps defeat the Allies. This is quite conceivable. Intercourse with the United States is indispensable if the Allies are to win. No doubt, too, the English would consider an unfavorable attitude toward them of public opinion in the United States, which has hitherto been favorable, as something to be avoided if possible. To lend countenance in any way to the agitation of the Germans and Irish is undesirable.
Should the difference of opinion come to an open breach and result in war, the United States navy, even if it did not cooperate with the German navy, would at once give the English navy foes to meet so numerous as to deprive it of the preponderance in numbers which the English regard as essential. To send a detachment from the Channel Squadron to keep the American fleet in American waters would effect precisely that division of the English fleet for which the Germans have been praying, and which might result in the annihilation of the British sea-power and the downfall of the British Empire. These are possibilities only, but so eminently possible as to cause reflection in London. They may well stir the minds of the Americans who are anxious for the Allies to win and who might not be quite so anxious for the United States to press its demands if they realized that the logical conclusion might be a victory for Germany. Such are the factors which counsel the English to yield.
Who, now, are those who urge the administration at Washington to remain firm? Great pressure has probably been brought to bear upon the administration by the interests most affected by the new English list of contraband. The copper interests in particular have been injured and have been no doubt proportionately active; but in all probability the political pressure has been greater than that of the business interests, for the war has as conspicuously favored some interests as it has injured others. As a whole, the United States export trade shows growth, and the continuance of the war will lead to a truly astounding development. Something may plausibly be ascribed, therefore, to the lessened majorities of the Democratic party at the November elections, which showed clearly that no votes can be lost if the party is to win in 1916. Already there are powerful interests in important States which have been alienated from the Democratic party by the attitude of the President upon Belgian neutrality and other issues. The Germans and the Irish are exceptionally strong in such important campaign States as New York, Ohio, and Illinois, in which any close election may be won or lost by a few thousand votes. In Wisconsin and in Missouri are great numbers of Germans, and both have been joining the doubtful column. A strict and watchful attitude toward England, therefore, is at present a good political move, and to this supposition the publicity given the American demands before they had been presented to the English Government lends color. So far as the English Government is concerned, the publicity must have had an unfavorable effect, because it precipitated ill feeling in the United States without giving the English Government an opportunity to yield and thus obviate the difficulty. Certain business interests, however, and the Irish and the Germans have so actively assailed the administration's neutrality that the Democratic leaders probably felt some clear and public demonstration was needed to reply to charges which might have adverse political effect if not denied.
When we view the probability of the pressing of these demands by the United States, we become at once aware of results more serious to her than those with which a quarrel would threaten England. In a word, war or even a serious quarrel with England would probably ruin American commerce, foreign and domestic. At present only the markets of the Allies and of neutral nations are open to us, and the inability to export also to Germany is actually serious. If now we quarrel with England, the markets of the Allies will be closed, and we shall feel promptly a lessening demand for American products abroad compared with which the present difficulty is entirely negligible. We are so accustomed to the fact that we constantly forget that American exports are carried at the moment entirely by English and French ships. The shipping of the United States and neutral nations in the Atlantic trade is negligible. Without the use of the English merchant marine, the bulk of our trade would be absolutely unable to reach neutral ports in Europe or in Africa, South America, and the far East. Our own facilities for dealing with any of this trade are utterly inadequate. Furthermore, much of our trade with Asia, Africa, and South America has been consummated by means of exchange on London or Paris, a matter of custom rather than one of necessity, a practice followed because understood and agreeable to our foreign customers. Nor must we forget that all the American firms who have signed large contracts with the English and French governments for every conceivable variety of commodity would be totally ruined by war between England and the United States. The magnitude of the commercial disaster which would immediately ensue is staggering to contemplate.
For England to set in motion factors which would involve such destruction would be simple. She has merely to pass a statute of the character of the old Navigation Acts, requiring English ships to carry all goods of other continents to England and France. The whole English merchant marine would then accept American goods only when consigned to England and France. We should be robbed of our trade with the rest of the world, and if, as a result of the quarrel, we declined to export to England and France, we should be in the same situation in which we found ourselves in 1808---unable to trade at all. It is the English merchant marine we need, and the loss of which we have to fear far more than the encroachments of the English navy. If the quarrel develops into war, all English ships would promptly become belligerent shipping, and would as a matter of course decline to carry our trade anywhere; all American shipping would become lawful prizes of the English commerce-destroyers; American cargoes and consignments on the high seas, in England, or in English ships, would all be subject to confiscation and seizure; and American cargoes found anywhere would be immediately regarded by the English as contraband of war. The commerce of the United States in transit would be a total loss, and all American goods shipped subsequently would be so obviously in danger that no insurance company would take the risk. The only American trade that would remain would be such as the English would permit the small fleets of neutral nations to carry under such conditions as they laid down. The American navy might conceivably protect the few ships we have and possibly, in conjunction with the German navy, defeat the English fleet; but the navy could not take the place of the English merchant marine, and before the English navy was beaten we should be irretrievably ruined.
To count upon the English necessity for American imports and to suppose that their need of our food-stuffs and munitions of war will compel them to grant our demands is to forget the equally obvious fact that we are so entirely dependent upon exporting to them, that we ourselves cannot in our own interest press the issue to a point which threatens to interfere with our trade with them. So serious for the United States will be the results of a quarrel between England and the United States that the Government may not deem it wise to force this issue upon England. The political consequence would be of a nature which the Democratic party can hardly contemplate with calmness. The votes of the business community as a whole are vastly more important than those of the Germans, the Irish, and the few interests at present injured. There should be, in fact, no hesitation in recognizing that the present inconvenience under which American trade suffers, and the losses of a few persons, are far less important than a truly formidable array of consequences extending to the ruin of American business. To secure by diplomacy such adjustment as the English feel able to grant is wise and necessary, but to attempt to force the English beyond diplomatic negotiations can proceed only from a failure to appreciate the gravity of the situation.
JAPANESE EXPANSION AND THE PACIFIC
"THE Pacific will be the storm-center of the future," the Prime Minister of New Zealand recently declared. He gave expression to a belief prevalent in Japan, where an armed conflict with non-Asiatic powers is widely regarded as inevitable, and where popular opinion has singled out the United States as the first foe to be met. Many of the political and economic difficulties experienced by European nations are pressing upon Japan. The rapid growth of population in islands limited in area has raised the question of markets and new territory, the founding of colonies and the issue of emigration, with an insistence almost as great as in Germany. The outbreak of the European war has furnished the Japanese an unexpectedly favorable opportunity for attempting the solution of these pressing economic problems.
The strategic position of Japan is commanding. She occupies an island group which makes her virtually invulnerable as long as Europeans must wage war from a distance and the Chinese army and navy are neither large nor efficient.
The area of the islands is not inconsiderable---much larger than Americans suppose. In this invulnerable position lives a population as large as that of the British Isles, nearly half as great as that of the United States, and almost two thirds as extensive as the entire population of Latin America, a people, physically hardy, military in temper, willing to be organized and to submit to authority. They are incredibly energetic and industrious, sustaining life on an amount of food almost unbelievably small, and content with an aggregate of comforts which most Americans would regard as scarcely better than subsistence. To these qualities they add an unusually sensitive and artistic intelligence, a literary taste and appreciation subtle in the extreme, together with a sense of beauty of line, form, and proportion which surpasses beyond much doubt anything Americans or Europeans have to show. They are a powerful people, an industrious people, a highly civilized nation, and have more than once proved themselves to possess the courage, the endurance, the élan of conquerors. They are thrilled by the achievements of the last two generations; they believe they stand at the beginning of a great period of prosperity, achievement, and dominion, and are eager to insure their national future by any and all means within their power.
Chance has located this extraordinary people in a very peculiar strategic field. The islands grouped along the Asiatic coast do not seem to have exerted that vital influence upon its trade that England has had upon European development. There is, of course, the passage through the straits at Singapore through which has streamed for centuries the commerce between China, Japan, and India. Its possession, however, has little significance for the defense of either China, Japan, or India, and is certainly of no great assistance in a military or naval sense to a power attempting to take the offensive against any one of them. Nor is it by any means as difficult for shipping to avoid the passage of the straits as it is to evade the passage of the English Channel. Indeed, the geography of Asia, the area and height of its mountain chains, the great size of India and China, the pacific teachings of their religious philosophers, have made naval and military operations rare, and have left Europeans in undisputed possession of what they have deemed the strategic points for the control of the trade between Europe and Asia and between India, China, and Japan. To the English the control of the Red Sea, the Cape of Good Hope, and Cape Horn seems desirable, because they are the approaches to Asia for Europeans and enable their possessor to hold Europeans at a distance. So far as Asia itself is concerned, their possession is of little consequence. The European occupation of the Spice Islands, the possession of the Philippines by the United States, the colonization of Australia and New Zealand by the English, have yet to demonstrate that they placed their possessors in a position of strategic advantage giving them or promising them control of the Pacific. So large an ocean, flanked by such enormous continents, with such large groups of islands on the Asiatic side, and so very few between Asia and America, creates a strategic problem of great peculiarity. The land is so placed that it does not control the water except in so far as it provides a basis of operations for a strong fleet.
Such a fleet the Japanese possess, the only fleet of a resident power in the Pacific, with not merely naval stations, but a true base of supplies, sustained by an industrial fabric capable of building new units and of repairing old. No doubt the Japanese, when they undertook the creation of a really large fleet of European type, were well aware that they would infallibly obtain in time the control of the Pacific, whether or not European nations continued to hold what they believed to be strategic points. While England claimed the supremacy of the seas, they saw very clearly that her control of the Pacific had depended largely upon her ability to keep other European nations at a distance through her control of the passages between Europe and Asia. The supremacy of the Pacific had been won in European waters, had been maintained there, and had never been challenged by an Asiatic power. The English had kept in the Pacific enough vessels to patrol its waters, apprehend pirates, and deal with such stray cruisers as might slip through the cordon in Europe. So long as competitors in the Pacific were limited to Europeans who could be disposed of by the fleet created by England for home defense, such a supremacy was easy to maintain. Such a supremacy it would be easy to overthrow. The Japanese saw correctly that the control of the Pacific rested not with the land, but with the water; and saw with peculiar clarity that, upon the control of the water would depend the admission or exclusion of European nations. The building in Japan of a fleet of modern ships, the teaching to the Japanese themselves of methods of European warfare, therefore, would revolutionize the conditions upon which the English supremacy had been based and would promptly put them in a position to control the Pacific. Unless the English could send a fleet into the Pacific sufficiently large to destroy the Japanese, the Japanese would actually control the situation, because they would possess the largest fleet actually afloat in Asiatic waters. Still, they would do well to avoid a clash with the English and would be wise not to risk annihilation.
The fleet would make possible the realization of Japanese ambitions and enable them to cope with the pressing economic problems of rescuing the population from penury and insuring the possession of foreign markets. To the south they saw immensely valuable islands, the Celebes, Java, and others of the great group known as the Spice Islands, from which for generations various European nations had drawn a great revenue, which still produced in profusion natural products much in demand in Europe, and which were still the basis for an immensely profitable trade. The Japanese were quite able to read, and found no difficulty in learning from the commercial history of Europe, as written by Europeans, that the economic progress and strength of the greatest nations in Europe was supposed to be based upon the trade with the far East. They saw the English, the Germans, the French eagerly extending their possessions in Africa and in Asia solely for the purpose of developing markets.
It was not difficult to draw the conclusion that, if the superior economic position of Europe against Asia was due to the trade with Asia, Asiatics might not improbably expect from the development of their own trade with Europe benefits in some measure similar to those already achieved by the Europeans themselves. In Japan the crowding population lived in penury because of the lack of fields to cultivate and of work to perform. Why should not they as well as the Dutch direct the labors of the natives in Java? Why should not they as well as the English carry Asiatic produce to Europeans? Why should not they as well as Germany or the United States be acquiring islands along the China Sea or dependencies on the mainland? They saw in Europeans no qualities they themselves did not possess or could not develop; they knew themselves capable of performing efficiently all the work Europeans did in the far East; they admitted no moral superiority, no artistic supremacy, no intellectual capacity greater than their own. Why should these crude Westerners sup from their dish, drink from their cup, grow rich from their labors? Why should Asiatics of any race or condition labor through long years to create profits for European merchants?
"The East for Asiatics," became the slogan of a great national movement; the absolute, definitive exclusion of Europe from Asia became its object. They would deny that Europeans possessed interests in Asia of a nature Asiatics were bound to recognize or respect; they would insist that Asiatics had rights in their own country paramount to any possessed by European nations or individuals, and the extent of which was to be judged by Asiatics and not Europeans. To take possession of the Philippines, the Spice Islands, Borneo, Sumatra, Java, and the like, they saw would be easy and profitable. A small expenditure of force, and the thing was done. Its doing would solve all Japan's problems, furnish an outlet for her energetic population in places safe from the aggression of European or American, and permit the upbuilding in the islands fringing the Chinese coast of an empire of Japanese states, governed by Asiatics, developing Asiatic territory in the interests of Asiatics. It was and is a great ideal, a splendid nationalistic vision the achievement of which they deem well worth sacrifice and suffering.
Already they see dawning the day when this vision is to become a reality, in the development of Japan, in the growth of the Japanese navy, and in the exigencies in Europe, forcing the English to recognize and tolerate the growth of the new power. The new development was carefully timed to coincide with the growth of the German fleet and the German army, for the ability of England to protest effectively against the creation of the Japanese fleet was in direct proportion to the size of the fleet which she could spare from European waters for service in the Pacific. The growth of the German navy in very fact robbed the English of their boasted control of the Pacific. To meet the aggression of the Germans and successfully defend England, they were compelled to withdraw the effective English ships from the Pacific as well as from the Gulf of Mexico, and to concentrate them in the North Sea and the English Channel.
Here is the real condition on which is based the Anglo-Japanese entente. The fact that they were no longer really supreme in the Pacific, the English saw it futile to deny, and futile to invite its challenge by the Japanese. They told the latter frankly that while they would prefer to maintain their own control, they were not in the least minded to hand over to the Germans the control of the Pacific as the result of a defeat in the North Sea, and were anxious to arrange affairs in such wise that their own downfall as a world power should not result in the acquisition of their authority by Germany or any other nation. In this way alone could they effectively limit the unfavorable results of a defeat. To facilitate Japanese success in case of their own defeat in European waters, they proposed to hand over the actual physical control of the Pacific without more ado. As their own naval stations and factories were not of naval importance to Japan, these they would expect to retain, but all except a few English ships should be withdrawn from the Pacific. On the other hand, they did not fail to intimate that the continuance of Japanese control would be entirely dependent, in case of their own victory in Europe, upon the manner in which it had been and was about to be exercised. Victorious in the Atlantic, they would no longer be foreclosed sending to the Pacific a fleet easily large enough to defeat the Japanese and extend English sovereignty as far as they desired. Until the issue was decided in Europe, the Japanese should rule; but they should consult the English and act invariably as the mutual interests of both powers dictated. Naturally, they should not use their sea-power to England's detriment; the punishment for treachery would be condign when the victory in Europe untied England's hands.
If the Germans won, the Japanese were to take possession promptly of the English possessions, and it is just conceivable, though of course upon such questions as this we can simply make plausible conjectures, that they were also to have a reversion to the English tenure in India. The ambitions of Russia have long been viewed with apprehension in London, and the fear has been, and is still great, that should the Germans win in Europe, the Russians would reach India first: they are already a mere few hundred miles from the frontier defenses, while the Germans have great distances to travel. Truth to tell, England is quite determined that neither of them shall have it. An English defeat is to break up the British Empire. The self-governing colonies will of course retain their independence, and the Japanese are to succeed to the English overlordship in the far East, or at least make certain that other European nations do not obtain it. Should England win, her position in the Pacific and perhaps in India will be due to the Japanese, and the debt of gratitude will no doubt be adequately discharged by the cession to them of the Dutch and German possessions in the far East. In reality, the Japanese have undertaken the protection of the English interests for the present, with the clear understanding that everything they do will accrue to their own advantage in case the English are defeated, and will be suitably rewarded in case the latter win. Whatever happens, the Japanese cannot lose.
We may well ask, therefore, what effect this situation is apt to have upon the United States, the Panama Canal, and Central and South America. The strategic position of the Philippines as the next link in the island chain which the Japanese wish to create might almost be said to make them essential to Japan. No doubt the energy and industry of the Japanese can make the Philippines one of the garden spots of the world and a really valuable economic asset. For the development of a Japanese merchant marine and an extensive trade with the United States across the Pacific, as well as for the naval control of the Pacific, the Japanese will need the islands in midocean, particularly Hawaii, which the United States at present possesses. To secure these islands, war is regarded in Japan as inevitable, for they cannot conceive of the voluntary sale or cession of such property by the United States. To occupy all of them is obviously an easy task; the United States fleet in the Pacific and the army in the Philippines are neither of them large enough to cause the Japanese anxiety, while any grief on the, part of the Filipinos at our dispossession seems problematical. The real difficulty which the Japanese fear is that of obtaining the formal cession from the United States, and they believe it may be necessary to extort it from us by operations of their fleet against our Western harbors, or perhaps by a timely invasion of the Japanese army which would seize San Francisco and as much land as it deemed essential to create a district for the surrender of which the Philippines and Hawaii would be a worthy ransom. The protestations of the Japanese that they have not the slightest intention of conquering the United States or of waging an aggressive war against us are in all probability sincere and truthful, but the least experienced student of diplomacy can hardly fail to see that they by no means exclude some such program as this. If advices from Japan are reliable, there are considerable portions of her people who regard a nominal war with the United States for the obtaining of these objects as the inevitable first step in Japanese national expansion. Another question which has attracted far more attention, but which in comparison is scarcely worthy of mention, is the attempt of Japan to colonize in the United States, Mexico, and South America. The opposition in California to the settlement of perfectly respectable and well conducted Japanese citizens has caused a breach by the State of the United States treaties with Japan, and has led to the formation of a public sentiment which denies the Japanese social equality and the right to own land. This the Japanese resent keenly. They say with truth that we ourselves expect and demand in Japan not only equality, but privileged status, and in return are not willing to accord them in the United States the barest elements of equality. They believe their national honor is involved, that they ought not to accept from us anything less than the fullest and frankest recognition of legal and social equality.
On any other basis they feet they must decline to deal with us. So much they have felt sufficiently offensive, but for the United States to interfere on the strength of the Monroe Doctrine with the settlement of Japanese in Latin America they think positively beyond the bounds of international decency. That we should decline to accept them in our own country was at least understandable, but that we should insist upon excluding them from Mexico they felt to be a position which neither logic nor reason, to say nothing of international law, could defend. As the projection across the Pacific into South and Central America of large colonies of Japanese is to-day perfectly feasible, and may indeed be from the point of view of the Japanese and of the South Americans eminently desirable, the Japanese have no intention whatever of recognizing any prerogative in the United States to question or investigate their right to colonize South America or of permitting any interference with it by the United States.
There are in these issues plenty of grounds for a war between Japan and the United States in which all the logical and technical rights would be on the side of Japan. We are distinctly inviting reprisals and armed opposition by persistently advancing claims which the Japanese cannot admit consistently with their national honor as they conceive it. Unless we are prepared to recede from such positions as we have recently taken, a conflict with Japan is only a question of time. Whatever the outcome of the European war, so powerful a nation will scarcely be willing to allow such claims as ours to go long unchallenged.
There are therefore vital interests which may lead the Japanese to seize the occasion of the present war in Europe as an admirable moment for an attempt to drive Europeans from Asia in the interests of Asiatics. While Europeans are so busy at home, she will have no opposition to meet. Should the war continue several years, an active alliance between Japan, India, and China might put Asia into the hands of Asiatics in such a fashion that Europeans would be unable to regain a foothold. In several years' time adequate military dispositions to deal effectively with Europeans could be completed. It would not, in all probability, be necessary to do more than render the conquest of Asia a hazardous and difficult task to prevent the victors of the European war from undertaking it. So far as Asia has been conquered at all, the work has been done by small bodies of Europeans with the cooperation of large bodies of native troops. To fight a war in Asia which would require an army of European soldiers large enough to meet a determined army of Asiatics, equipped with European guns and officered by men trained in Japan, would be a task the magnitude of which might well cause the victor to hesitate.
Nor should it be forgotten that the financial indebtedness of Japan, which taxes the capacity of that country to meet the interest and principal payments, is all owed in Europe and America. So far as any tangible evidence of that capital is in existence in the world, it is in Japan, where the logic of the Pan-Germanists is just as good as it is in Germany. The Japanese have only to repudiate their entire indebtedness to free the nation from a staggering load and put it at once in the possession of its whole economic development at the price of what they have already paid. The control of the Pacific, the annexation of the Spice Islands and the Philippines, the expulsion of foreigners, the assurance for all time of financial independence---these are indeed things to conjure with. And we who can see clearly so much at so great a distance with so little aid, may well pause to wonder how much more the Japanese themselves can see, and how long caution and prudence will counsel them to wait before attempting the attainment of such desirable ends.
Book Three : Pan-Americanism
Table of Contents