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with America if she thought she could take from us by force anything she needed, a thing which she could do as easily as an efficient thug lifts a watch and wallet from a fat millionaire, unworthy heir of virile grandsires. Never will Great Britain, Russia, Germany, or Japan arbitrate a vital dispute with America if they have power to dispense with arbitration and to smash us to our knees with a sudden blow. Arbitration without preparedness for selfdefense is ridiculous; it is indeed a contradiction in terms. A sacred agreement resulting from solemn arbitration is certainly of far greater value than any mere prospect of such arbitration, for it is in fact the realization of the most sanguine hopes of the arbitrators. Yet within this very year the futility of depending solely upon such agreements has been proved upon the naked bodies of unprepared Belgium, Persia, and China. Last year, when the war broke out, brave and thrifty Switzerland was fully prepared to defend her freedom and her honor, despite the fact that both were already supposed to be protected by the most solemn international treaties that can be produced by successful and fair-minded arbitrators. Belgium, preoccupied with business affairs and with the making of money, trusted almost entirely 1 to sacred treaties, also the product of calm arbitration. For America the fate of Belgium is as a writing on the wall which plainly proclaims that the only valid insurance against unprovoked attack is reasonable military preparedness. Had Belgium been reasonably prepared to resist military aggression, then, and then only, would Germany have respected arbitration and its sacred treaties, and have invaded France across the Franco-German border. For treaties between nations are like contracts between persons: an unscrupulous person will re
1 Despite sentimental exaggerations in the Allied press, the Belgian army was so small and ill prepared that it succeeded in retarding the main German advance into France only about four days. Theoretically, the Belgian first line of fewer than 80,000 men could be reinforced by as many more reserves, just as our line is theoretically backed by many thousand militia. Actually, Belgium's reserves were so inefficiently organized that few of them ever got into action, and those that did were nearly useless.
frain from breaking a contract only when the penalty attached thereto is greater than the gain. This is so generally recognized that men invariably attach penalty clauses to contracts which they make with one another. The only penalty attached to Belgium's contract was the insufficient one of British intervention. From Germany's point of view this intervention did not offset the manifold advantages to be gained by a surprise attack upon France, which would result in confining the horrors of war to the enemy's territory. Had Belgium been prepared to defend her borders, this fact, added to the probability of British intervention, would have constituted a prohibitive penalty; for it should be remembered that even a small country may successfully defend herself from invasion, as has been amply demonstrated by Serbia. This is due to the deadliness of modern weapons which makes it possible to defend a frontier with fewer than 2000 men per mile, if these men have been properly trained and organized. It is a well-known fact, for instance, that Germany has for more than eight months held the western battle-line of nearly six hundred miles with fewer than 900,000 men, although opposed by the entire armies of France and Great Britain; and a German staff officer boasted to me that on the defensive they could hold it against the world. A small country may defend herself against a big assailant, because her frontiers are short in proportion to her correspondingly small number of men of military age.
Belgium's case and its applicability to the United States may be aptly illustrated by the following example: burglars are unscrupulous persons who consider that the prospective gain incidental to robbing. a house is greater than the penalty attached to the breaking of their implied. contract with society, the penalty being the danger of arrest and prosecution by the police. My own family residence is situated in a New York City block which has of late years been a favorite raidingground for summer burglars, who have made a practice of breaking into and pil
laging houses left unoccupied during the hot months. My father, concluding from this circumstance that the New York police did not provide a sufficient penalty, prudently decided to be prepared, and so every summer has had the house wired by a protective association. The association's sign in the front window furnished a threat which, taken in conjunction with the danger of arrest by the regular police force, protected the house from attack for several summers, during which many neighboring unprepared houses were looted. In the summer of 1915 the electricians who wired the house neglected to place their warning sign in the window, thus removing the visibility of the threat. A few nights later, a burglar mounted the front stoop, "jimmied" the outer door, and, entering the vestibule, began the destruction of the lock of the inner door. The instant, however, that he had attacked the outer door, an alarm had been rung at the central office of the protective association, and two private detectives had departed on the run. On their rapid way to the house they found time to summon the corner policeman. The three together outnumbered the thug, whom they overpowered on the very threshold and frontier of the house, which he had not yet succeeded in crossing. As he was led away to prison he protested vehemently that it was unfair to wire a house without posting it with warning notices.
To apply this illustration to Belgium, the British army may be represented by the corner policeman and the two detectives may represent the reasonable military preparedness for lack of which her house was broken into. It is inconceivable that Germany could ever have been ignorant of the exact state of Belgium's preparedness; but could such have been the case, Germany, repelled from the Belgian frontier, would doubtless have been as indignant as the burglar who was being led to prison.
It is probable that within the next thousand years there will be evolved some system of international police capable of furnishing a sufficient penalty to insure the
observance of treaties. I no more think of gainsaying this than of denying that within the same time the New York police may perhaps constitute a penalty clause capable of deterring robbers. In the meantime both our country and our houses are in need of reasonable military preparedYet America still persistently refuses to read the writing on the wall, which plainly proclaims that the only valid insurance against unwarranted aggression is reasonable military preparedness. To the countries engaged in the great European struggle, America seems wilfully to have closed her eyes to the extent and dangers of the present crisis.
To-day the United States is the single peaceful-minded great nation of the earth, but she stands unprotected amid a gang of calculating international robbers. Although no such thing as a police force of nations exists, she nevertheless refuses to arm herself, because, as she naïvely declares, she has no desire to attack any of the burglars. She lives, as it were, in at time of pestilence, when all her neighbors have already been smitten with disease, and yet she fatuously claims that it will be time enough to begin to train physicians when the black death grips her own vitals. She stands in the midst of the greatest conflagration of history, which surrounds and already scorches her, and instead of organizing fire departments, she idiotically sings, "I did not raise my boy to be a soldier."
Her people know little and care less about the complications of international diplomacy, and remain serenely confident that the question of war or no war will ever rest in their own hands. Within the last two decades every important nation in the world has been involved at least once in a war "to the finish," and Russia, Turkey, Japan, and Great Britain have participated not merely in one such war, but in two. Despite this, America's leading politicians still stick their pudgy hands into the breasts of their frock-coats and loudly orate that for America war is obsolete. The Government has allowed
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ne of decense which exists the eastern part of our country. It is indeed min a length, being about a ung 29 the battle-line now drawn across France from the North Sea to the ༢ B. the present battle-front in writers Europe is entirely across teaept for the short * along the riser" Aisne, a stream than, self-respecting American farmer would call a "erick." It has been construct trenches that amount almost to Sege fortifications along every foot of its length. By contrast the dead-ine across the Northeastern States comprises only 215 miles of land, while the remaining 385 miles follow such effective natural barriers as the Potomac, Susquehanna, and Hudson rivers, and Lake George and Lake Champlain, none of which can well be classified as creeks. Such a line, once occupied, could easily be held by 400,000 German, British, or French troops against any army in the world. If an enemy landed at various
Let us however meet the anti-preparationists upon their own ground. They point with pride to the immensity of the United States, and remark cheerfully that mere size would prevent its subjection. I used to argue in that way myself until February, 1915. I then tried it in discussion with a responsible staff officer of one of the great European powers. Af- points along the coast, he could defeat the