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to their promises. In fact, the official rec- he was at the helm than in all the previous ords and common sense point in the oppo- history of our country. We, or he, parsite direction. The Monroe Doctrine ticipated in the Hague conferences, we would be stripped of all justification if we mediated between Russia and Japan, and claimed to be a world power.
we were “among those also present" at peremptorily tell the Europeans that they Algeciras. It is an open question if we have no police power in the Americas, and accomplished anything by these intervenit is a poor rule that does not work both tions which could not have been done ways.
quite as well by Switzerland, but we did Uninformed public opinion in the na- get ourselves, and Europe, accustomed to tions of the Entente group would like to hearing our name at roll-call. see us abandon our traditional attitude It is hard to combat the argument that and protest against the German violation sooner or later we must accept world reof her treaties, but the British diplomats sponsibilities, but I for one find it even certainly would not. We should also have harder to see what we stand to gain by to protest against their occupation of the hurrying. The more we succeed in putneutral Greek isles. The French Foreign ting our own house in order, the more we Office certainly remembers that we did can hope to have an uplifting influence on not protest when they tore up the Alge- benighted Europe.
benighted Europe. Unfortunately, we ciras Treaty, and the governing clique in have been rather slack in arranging our Russia are not anxious to have us start
own affairs. any judicial inquiry into atrocities. They There is much to be said in favor of have ravaged too much of East Prussia withholding advice until it is asked for. and Galicia themselves to be enthusiastic In a score or more phases of life the peofor atrocity protests.
ple of Europe do accept us as models. For us to claim rank as a world power They copy our shoes, our dentistry, our is clearly an abandonment of our oldest juvenile courts, and our hospital organidiplomatic tradition. But there is no vir- zation; but they do not copy our munitue in mere age. Conditions have changed, cipal governments or our administration are changing, with the shrinking of the of justice. They have heard more of our world. Steamships, submarine cables, lynchings than of the small parks and wireless-plants are all drawing in the ends playgrounds of our progressive cities. of the earth. It is an entirely safe On the whole, they think of us as rather prophecy that the time is coming when a uncivilized; but as fast as we give them purely European policy or an American something worth copying, they copy it, or Antarctic policy will be provincial, and and much more quickly than we have when local interests will be absorbed in copied their good points. And if we are the greater politics of the race. Sooner able, in our dealings with our neighbors or later the Monroe Doctrine - American on our side of the world, to develop a new particularism -- will lose all meaning. It scheme of international relations which is is necessary for us to decide whether that as much superior to their methods as our time has already arrived.
sanitary plumbing is to the traditional Mr. Roosevelt loudly affirms that it English "tub," they will copy that, too. has, and Mr. Roosevelt is a phenomenon If in our own bailiwick we practised the of American life which cannot be ignored. “peace of justice” more, and talked about Whether one likes or detests him, it is it less, it would be better. impossible to forget him. And one of the This war has plunged us and all the most outstanding features of his long ad- world into deep water. It is a time to ministration was his insistence that the hold fast to old customs rather than to time had come for us to play a rôle on the experiment in innovations. stage of world politics. More infractions We stand pledged to Europe. In reof our traditional policy occurred while turn for their abstention in American affairs, we have promised not to mix in help the Russians to their freedom, but it theirs. Of course a bad pledge is better is not our business to help the czar out of broken than kept, but it is well to be very a hole. sure the pledge is bad before we break it. The issues involved in this war are in
Is there any preponderating sentiment tricate in the extreme. We would resent in our democracy in favor of taking sides any European power taking sides in the on the issues of this European conflict? I Mexican muddle. Our intervention in think not. There is hardly one of us who Europe over the moral issues of this war has doubts as to which side he wants to is equally uncalled for. see win, but there is a long step from this But there is nothing in the Monroe personal partizanship to the conviction Doctrine-in our pledge not to act as a that our Government should identify it- policeman in Europe - which implies that self with, and give unqualified support we will never fight a European nation. to, either the Triple Alliance or the En- To change or abandon our theory of "neutente group. The issues involved are far tral rights” in the midst of the war would from clear. They visibly change as the be quite as grave a departure from our war progresses. All the belligerent coun- traditional policy as for us to take sides. tries are divided internally over the vital In the accepted custom of international issues of the war. Is it a war of offense law the procedure of protest is virtually or defense? In England are we to believe automatic. If a citizen has plausible the Liberal "Manchester Guardian" or complaint against some other country, the frankly reactionary “London Morn- there is little option left to his Foreign ing Post”? Both try to tell us what Brit- Office. The complaint must be registered. ain is fighting for, but their conclusions, It is the duty of his government to see are worlds apart. And after the war are that his evidence is heard, and if his claims we to find Russia revolutionized or more are established, to demand compensation. deeply retrograde? There are too many And the general practice is to err on the unknown quantities - "unweighables," in side of over-protesting. In a synopsis of Bismarck's phrase--for us to form a really all the international protests issued in united public opinion on the purely Eu- 1910, a relatively peaceful year, it would ropean issues of the war.
be found that a majority was received, inIf we are to fight whole-heartedly, we vestigated, and settled without the least must be convinced that we have chosen hard feeling. Trouble is more likely to the side of progress.
We admire im- arise from the hostile mood of the conmensely the scientific achievements and tending nations than from the gravity of social ameliorations of Germany. In the the complaint. Doubtful and important last generation we have borrowed more issues, like our recent controversy with of value from Germany than from any England over the Panama Canal tolls, other European country, but few of us, may be settled by common good-will, care to risk our lives for the greater glory Insignificant incidents, like the breaking of Hohenzollernism. We have a century- of the cane of a German vice-consul at old tradition of peace with England, but Casablanca, may lead to the verge of war. more than once official relations have been As a general proposition, it can be laid sorely strained, and we are often shocked down that no liberal, democratic nation at the callous commercialism of the pres- dreams of fighting over a commercial proent ruling class of England. Why should test which can be arbitrated and settled we fight for the landlords of the London by an award of damages. Most of our East End? In our home politics we are protests addressed to England since the fighting against, not for, such people. We outbreak of this war have been of this have severe penal laws against the sellers nature. If we had been spoiling for a of opium. We would be utterly untrue fight, it would have been easy to start one to our own ideals if we were not keen to over the bizarre British doctrine that they can play fast and loose with our generally theless, they order her to go into a British admitted trading rights in order indirectly port, and with exasperating leisureness to hurt Germany. The idea that, because try to make up their mind whether or not the English do not approve of the way the they had any right to stop her. Germans fight, they can inflict reprisals A German submarine shoots a torpedo on neutral nations is indeed original. At into a great merchant ship that is susthe first opportunity we shall certainly "go pected of carrying aid to the enemy. And to court” about this, and have this brand- of the hundreds of passengers aboard, new pretension threshed out. But if the most of whom are strictly non-combatEnglish are ready to live up to their arbi- ants, a large
large number are uselessly tration treaty with us, we certainly do drowned. not intend to fight about it.
Both acts are utterly illegal, but it is However, August, 1915, finds us tot- idle to contend that we ought to feel tering on the verge of a very much more equally outraged over both. serious conflict with Germany, and it is Our real quarrel with Germany is that apparently difficult for the Germans to her statesmen cannot, or will not, see this understand our attitude.
distinction between venal and mortal lawThe Roman Church made a very con- lessness. This clash is more fundamental venient classification in distinguishing be- than the immediate hard. feeling over spetween mortal and venal sins. There cific incidents. The solution of the Arabic are many peccadillos that, while techni- affair does not really solve anything. The cally wrong, cannot be taken very seri- real conflict is in the attitude of mind of ously; and there are other acts that, even the two nations. if we cannot cite the chapter and verse If we come to a rupture with Germany, where they are forbidden, seem at once it will not be because she has infringed on shockingly wrong-heinous.
our rights,-England, also, has done that, Great Britain and Germany have both - but because the way Germany did it violated international law by armed in- was unbearable. vasion and occupation of neutral terri- An autocratic government might postory. Armies have settled down unwel- sibly follow the dictates of logic and pure comed in the little grand duchy of Lux
It might act on the basis that emburg and in the Greek isles near the law is law and that one violation is as bad mouth of the Dardanelles. Necessity as another, and so expect the rest of the knew no law. In both these cases the world to be just as indignant over the weaklings submitted sullenly to
illegalities of the British immaterial blockwhelming force, and as far as one can dis- ade as at the sinking of the Lusitania. But cover, in both cases the invaders have rec- democracies are not ruled by this process ognized all the rights of the invaded ex- of mind, which the Germans call "pure cept their right not to be invaded.
reason." Our newspapers-as good a The American attitude toward both mirror of our national mind as we possess these cases is that they are most regretta- are remarkably unanimous. The British ble. But the case of Belgium is in another have lost heavily in our sympathy by a category altogether. It was no more "il- procedure which seems to us stupid, arlegal" for the Germans to enter Belgium rogant, and decidedly unsportsman-like. than for them to enter Luxemburg, but The German methods have seemed to us there has been a general wave of horror inhuman and horrible. over the tragic fate of Belgium.
And so, after a year of this European A British cruiser fires a shot across the War, there seems little chance of our bebow of an American ship. Officers board coming involved in serious trouble with her, go through her papers, find every any of the Entente powers, but there is a evidence that she is bound for a neutral depressingly grave possibility of continual port on non-contraband business. Never- conflict with Germany.
But even if the ultimate misfortune faction short of a complete victory. But befalls us, and our young men set out to the matter of coördinating military effort war, it does not necessarily imply an during the war would be simple compared abandoning of our traditional policy of to maintaining harmony during the peace non-intervention in purely European proceedings. Especially in this matter it issues. We fought Spain without getting will be well to keep to our traditions. involved in any entangling alliances. Europe will have to decide whether the
Those who believe that because we are town of Temesvar shall be Hungarian, bigger than Italy, stronger than Austria, Serb, or Rumanian. The harbor dues of more numerous than France, we also Triest will be a matter of importance to ought to accept the responsibilities of Europe. There will be passionate discusworld power will certainly argue, if we sions over the fate of the Dardanelles and become involved in a quarrel with any the drawing of the new frontiers of European nation, that now is the time to Poland. A thousand similar questions accept our true rôle. Either side would will arise. If we are a world power, we welcome our help, and a recognition of ought to have an opinion on such points. our coming of age would follow their vic- It is barely possible that some of our tory. If we are to abandon our traditions, diplomats have the special knowledge to this war furnishes a plausible excuse. fit them to deal with these matters, but
But if the worst should come to the there is no public opinion at home to guide worst, and a war be forced on us, it would them. Beyond the broad fact that we are be quite possible to carry it on against the a liberal nation and would prefer to see aggressor without tying ourselves up with democratic counsels prevail everywhere, either of the European groups. Italy we have no interest in these European iswas able to pick her enemies; for sev- sues. To find ourselves fighting over this eral months she fought Austria without would be to find ourselves in a ridiculously joining the Ententes or fighting Austria's false position. allies. We could, if attacked by Ger- If we take part in the peace proceedmany, carry on effective war without iden- ings, or have the misfortune of being tifying ourselves with the cause of the czar. drawn in before the peace, we shall have We could make a clear statement of our to come to a clear decision. Are we, or reasons for fighting and the specific satis- are we not, a world power? It is necesfactions we demanded. We might, for in
sary to choose. stance, insist on formal apologies and some. We might, for instance, become an ally trophies to set up in one of our parks. of France and instruct our diplomats to There could be complete military coöpera- vote with the French on all questions tion with the other enemies of Germany which do not involve our interests. This without tangling up our diplomacy with is virtually the attitude adopted by Mr. any pledge to go on fighting after our aims Roosevelt at the Conference of Algeciras. had been obtained,- to pull chestnuts out We were remarkably like the tail of a kite. of the fire for them,-or to stop as soon
Or, refusing any alliances, we may keep as they had had enough. There are ample to our traditional policy and, even if we precedents in history for such a dual war become involved in the war, reaffirm our in the midst of a general conflict, and it Americanism and our disinterestedness in would be much more in accordance with the police problems of Europe. We shall our traditional policy.
certainly be freer in solving our own probWe will not go to war lightly; and if lems if we do not become involved in we go at all, our demands will be such Europe, that there is small chance of their satis- It is necessary to choose.