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In political evolution Europe is far behind the United States, China, and Japan. Europe, until recent times, has been torn by wars of religion. Such wars are unknown to us, and to Chinese and Japanese they seem absurd. Chinese and Japanese persecutions have been purely political in motive.
Europeans, in their old habitat, have shown no capacity to make any great combination in which the parts shall be friendly and equal. They do not know how to make a partnership, but they do know how to get a strangle-hold. They make short friendships and long hatreds and kaleidoscopic alliances, always for some temporary advantage. The small cities and states of ancient Greece, the Italian cities, the German principalities, the Balkan States, have exhibited, among the most brilliant and vigorous of Europeans, a weary succession of race wars and group wars. It is significant that to this day the history of the Peloponnesian War is the prime text-book of the budding English statesman. Even Norway and Sweden, even Belgium and Holland, could not hold together.
It is an index of Europe's incapacity to cure race conflicts that, after mismanaging Ireland for four hundred years, the British colonized northern Ireland with Scotch, as representatives of Ireland's conquerors, thus ingeniously infecting wretched Ireland with a new problem of conflicting religions and a new problem of conflicting races.
Has England learned anything from that object lesson or from the race conflicts that make Europe a museum of political disease? Wilson learned the lesson and preached it. What lure of ambition has led him not to practise it?
When we shout and fight for the "principle" of "nationality," I suppose we mean that men of one race should be free to make themselves into one nation. We ourselves, despite our blacks, are, as regards unity, a bright contrast to Europe; but China proper, the eighteen provinces, is the supreme example of the principle.
China, though herself a continent in area, has reached our ideal of coterminous race and nationality. China
has no undigested Irish, Germans, blacks, or Jews. Like fossils that tell the geologic story, she has only a few picturesque traces of aborigines, Hakkas, Lolos, and wild mountaineers in Yunnan. In India the Black Jews of Malabar are still Jews. The Jews of China are Chinese. Through war after war, through centuries of wise administration, by the Chinese genius for combination, and by the art of the schoolmaster, she has made into one people all her tribes and nations. "The Han dynasty, B.C. 206, maintained nationalism against feudalism by the justice of its rule." Fur-clad trappers of the Yenesei head waters, rude mountaineers of the Chinese Himalayas, hardy sailors that brave the typhoons of the Southern seas, nomad herdsmen of the Northern plains, rice-planters and monkey-hunters of the tropic South, lumbermen of Yunnan, students of Ningpo, silk-weavers of Soochowall are Chinese, believers in the philosophy of Confucius, reverent of age and learning, and schooled in that filial piety which is the foundation of China's social system. Yet they are still various in character and habits. A Chinese proverb says that customs change every ten miles.
Japan also achieved unity three hundred years ago; but China's unity has no parallel on a great scale except the glorious unity of these United States.
Despite recurrent famines and wars, China, alternately conquered and conquering, has maintained in each of many centuries an empire that might well be regarded as the greatest of its time. Even so late as the eighteenth century, when the statesman Kien Lung was emperor, and the muttonhead George III was our king, China was richer and more formidable than any other state. Siam, Ryu Kyu, and Korea were friendly and sent her tribute. Tropic Burma, rugged Nepal, and the chilly deserts of Turkestan heard the imperial thunder of her war-drums. Her three hundred millions of industrious and orderly people were free from opium and free from drunkenness, a paradisaic state to Europeans inconceivable. The splendor of this empire has faded, but the intrinsic unity of the
people, despite all temporary discords,
is still unbroken.
Some contend that by the Shan-tung award China loses nothing; that one of her provinces merely changes masters. The intrusion of the Germans, French, and English never drove the Chinese to despair. The Chinese knew them to be an ephemeral evil. Europe's brief day, indeed, may be already drawing to an end in a blood-red sunset. The Japanese, however, once planted in Shan-tung, are there forever. As Ulster is to Ireland, so will Shan-tung be to China; but where Ulster has tens of thousands, Shan-tung has millions.
Partitioned between France and England, each half of China might grow rich with railroads and factories, and then, with explosive force, the two nations would join, and the aliens would disappear. The importing, however, into China of Japanese, prolific, multitudinous, near at hand, means turies of a new continental race war, another age-long struggle, the repetition on a giant scale of Norman against Saxon, French against Germans, Spanish against Dutch, Christian against Moor. It means the destruction of the unity of the Chinese and the downfall of the race, which is to-day perilously weakened by our having battered, poisoned, and undermined it for eighty years with every weapon of war and peace, with smugglers, diplomatists, and artillery, with opium and morphine. The young men of America carried our flag to a splendid victory. The old men of Paris bemired it in diplomacy. Four men in Paris, in the intervals between their more serious labors, pronounced the doom of the Chinese millions and of Chinese millions yet unborn. They plant with care the seeds, the dragon's teeth, of new war, eternal war. We went to war to set men free. These men
enslave three hundred
The old men of Paris, weary with a lifelong struggle for place, hardened by human suffering, by frequent disillusionment, their consciences seared by the habitual practice of diplomacy, have taught us new views.
One fifth of mankind, with blood and patience, has already lifted itself in its
slow progress upward above the degrading afflictions of race conflict. Compared with the statesman who now plants in that nation a new race conflict, the distributor of typhus germs is a philanthropist.
The dissolution of the democracy of the East has been planned for many years, and was plotted with precision before the outbreak of the Great War. The crime of Paris is the latest in a long series of offenses. China is weak, unarmed, and backward in the use of modern machinery. This is the fruit of a process begun by England eighty years ago, in which we have all shared; in which the Romanoffs took the place of head devil, and in which Japan has now become the directing force.
The progressive partition of China went slowly because of the wealth at stake. It was sufficiently obvious that whatever outsider could annex China could rule the world. Russia hoped to get all of China for herself, but England, France, and Germany could not agree to that, nor with one another. The survivors are at last ready to agree.
Europe got the drop, to use the language of highwaymen, on China, through the happy chance of stumbling on steam. That led to modern arms and to the means, still diverted by statesmen to other uses, to better the lot of all men. With our modern weapons we forced opium on China and poisoned her people. The Japanese continue the practice with morphine. No modern improvement is neglected.
We throttled Chinese patriots somewhat as if we had interfered in behalf of the Duke of Alva against the Dutch; we caused civil wars to be prolonged, and cut down the strength of China with famine, sword, and disease. We crippled her finances, and imposed our own tariffs. Corruption follows impoverishment. It is not centuries since that an English king was in the pay of France. The Romanoffs, experts in corruption, bought influence all the way up to the throne. They fomented the Boxer War. To-day we take from every coolie in China some of his salt and rice to pay for this Romanoff crime. The Japanese have inherited the place of the
Romanoffs as purchasers of power and creators of disorder.
The Japanese know how to make medicine of their great revenges. We cannot grudge them their secret rapture when they lay the whip across the Chinese back and know that each lash has a sting in it for arrogant America. For our abject submissiveness to Japan
have ourselves to blame. Our moneyed men, with that unerring instinct for making political blunders that has always marked the breed, sent Perry to tear open the door of peaceful, cloistered Japan, and now she must arm herself; and some of us will be stepped on before she is done with it.
Japan's history shows that she has heretofore been led toward conquest, and has heretofore deliberately turned away from it. By the light of that history we may learn how Japan may be persuaded again toward peace. The Japanese, now the terror of the East, have been lovers of peace. In former times Japan sought conquest only to ward off conquerors. It is true that the soldier who brought unity to Japan laid plans for world-wide war. He said in 1577: "China, Korea, and Japan will be one. I shall do it all as easily as a man rolls up a piece of matting and carries it under his arm." In 1587 he said, "Invading the country of the great Ming, I will fill with the hoar-frost from my sword the whole sky over the four hundred provinces." To the viceroy of the Philippines he sent a message commanding him to leave the islands.
But after him came Ieyasu, the great shogun, whose sacred ashes have lain for three hundred years under the solemn cryptomerias of Nikko. Like Washington, he had clearness of vision, freedom from prejudice, freedom from old ideas. He had notable powers of observation, reflection, and action. A man of less originality would have pursued the enticing path of conquest marked out by Hideyoshi. Japan would have made good the boasts of Hideyoshi and conquered China, then passing through one of her paroxysms of disorder and helplessness. Seeking all information, the shogun sent a secret envoy to Europe. The Europe of 1600 was a dove-cote to the Europe of 1919. Yet
the envoy's report filled him with horror. Thereupon, Japan, under his guidance, made her marvelous decision to turn away from all foreign adventure either of commerce or war, to hold no intercourse with Europe, to pursue the arts of peace, and to devote her energy to the welfare of her own people.
We have had our Washington and Jefferson, who have warned us against the politics of Europe as the source of all evil. After a hundred years we have forgotten them; after three hundred years the Japanese have forgotten their great shogun.
We have been taught to detest ambitious conquerors, who add land to land, make slaves of free men, and rob nations of their riches. We cannot withhold, then, our admiration of the great Japanese pacifist, the statesman, who resolved on a perpetual policy of non-interference. He gave his people solemn injunctions against ambition, and "employed scholars in constructing a solid framework of peace."
Two hundred and sixteen years of peace is a boon that neither God nor statesmen ever granted to any great modern nation but Japan. If the lesser Tokugawas, rulers at Yedo after Ieyasu, had followed his example, they could have enjoyed the peace he created, and at the same time, in their seclusion, could have moved forward step by step in the use of engines and steam and steel as fast as England, and been safe.
Before our Great War, Western nations had begun to prosper through the use of the scientific spirit, love of truth, and knowledge for its own sake. But to-day among us the scientific spirit is dead. Free research and the uncensored distribution of knowledge are no more. The lesser Tokugawas were like the small, modern Metternichs that now try to blind our souls. The Tokugawas made no error in continuing to exclude Europeans, but they made the fatal error of excluding knowledge. They saved about two hundred dollars a year by not even hiring people to read the books that came once a year to Desima. Perry's invasion and Japan's humiliating subjection to the powers were the retribution for this neglect, falling on
them with the suddenness and horror of a thunderbolt from the blue sky.
By another of those swift, decisive, and complete changes of policy of which Japan alone seems capable, she changed the very foundations of her society, held fast to what she treasured of the old, and acquired quickly all the virtues and some of the vices of Europe. She has not only made herself one of the great powers, but she seems to have determined to become a great conqueror, fattening on vassal nations. If she pursues this course, we may be sure that, with her fine Japanese hand, she will from time to time form all the combinations necessary, and with her military skill will win, and win cheaply, all the necessary battles. She has proceeded one by one against her enemies, and one by one, the nearest first, they have fallen in ruins, all the way from Fusan to Strasburg. If she does not again become pacifist, the process of toppling over empires that trampled on her when she was weak may not stop at Strasburg.
She plays in steady good luck, because She plays in steady good luck, because now she uses every weapon, and despises no knowledge, high or low. She studies the character of our elder statesmen, from Washington to Wilson, and of our younger patriots, from Nathan Hale to Hard-Boiled Smith. She knows how to set Kodama against Kuropatkin, Togo against Rojestvensky, Ishii against Lansing, and Saionji against Wilson.
The solution does not lie in compressing a great race within narrow islands. Nor does the solution lie in helping them to enslave another great race, and to lift themselves, at the expense of a groaning world, into the possession of an empire like Great Britain or Russia.
The Romanoff Empire was a disease; the British Empire is an accident. Such empires carry in their hearts the seeds of ruin. Such empires are of evil example. The welfare of the world lies in Japan's turning away from following after them.
The remedy lies in persuading Japan to direct her energies towards eastern Siberia. Eastern Siberia is at this moment such a desert, in many respects,
as was our famous "Great American Desert." China is like a rich thickly inhabited plain. Japan is like an overflowing mountain lake, ready to burst in an irresistible, destructive torrent over the rich inhabited plain. If the flood can be diverted and directed to the desert, peace and prosperity will follow. I pray that those who are of my way of thinking as to Russian policy will not oppose this remedy.
Fear and hatred of the Romanoffs has been with many of us all our days. We look with horror on Koltchak and Sazonoff. We deplore the temptations that led our Government to send men or munitions into Russia and Siberia. We regret, however, that some who are of our way of thinking in this regard have expressed the fear that the acquisition of land in eastern Siberia by Japan is a dismemberment of Russia and an interference in her affairs.
Eastern Siberia is no more a part of Russia than the Philippines are a part of our States. Russia's title to eastern Siberia, including Transbaikalia, Kamchatka, and those provinces which make the basins of the Amur and Sungari, is purely technical. Some of this land the czar got by bribery and coercion; other regions by the sending of an explorer with a flag to claim them. With all its wealth of minerals, forests, farm-land, and fisheries, the czar has never effectively used this territory. There has been but little effective settlement except in such towns as Vladivostok and the railway towns. After all these years, the population is only four times as dense as that of the Sahara. A traveler in the air will see only four times as many people in eastern Siberia as he sees when he crosses the Sahara. Most of the inhabitants are Japanese, Koreans, Chinese, Mongols, and Buriats. Most of the immigrants are of the adventurous sort that could get along just as well with Japanese settlers as they ever did with the czar. The czar used to keep down Mongolian immigration by a sort of periodical pogrom. Such acts forfeit title.
Our true course, our only honest course, is to propose that France, England, America, and Japan withdraw all coercion from China, and that she be
left free to develop as she pleases her commerce and her manufactures. The Chinese are, as everybody knows, the most enterprising, the most honorable, and the cleverest of merchants. We can safely leave it to them to decide whether they will use junks or steamboats. We no longer would need to choose between Mr. John Hay's policy of the open door, on the other side of which we always found a smiling Japanese, firmly seated, and Mr. Wilson's policy of the open purse, never open to China, but always open to anybody who would assure us that he could never pay.
It has always been as clear as a map that eastern Siberia is the "manifest destiny" of Japan. Similarly, it was clear to people of so diverse minds as Jefferson and Hamilton that the Mississippi Valley was marked out by nature as the manifest destiny of our own United States. Even if we had not found a happy chance for the Louisiana Purchase, no technical titles, no modest colonies like New Orleans and St. Louis, no weapons, and no diplomacy, could ever have kept our people from moving westward. So, also, when our people felt a desire actually to colonize Colorado and California, we could not be kept out by any technical claims in favor of a far-away political power claims founded on discovery and military occupation, and not supported by civilization's use.
The time has gone by when bureaucrats, wrapped in red-tape, could sit behind their desks in Petrograd or London and dictate from motives of petty official profit that continental areas shall remain white upon the map, to the perpetuation of the misery of contiguous sweltering millions. Saghalin, an island bigger than two Denmarks, was kept for a convict settlement to please some small official speculator.
It ought to have been Japanese always. Japanese soldiers doubtless secretly occupy it to-day. I hope they do. Under the czar the north half of Saghalin was the worst place on earth. Under the Japanese it will support people of a high civilization and will produce wealth.
We have lately noticed how uneasy
Italy is about the opposite shores of the Adriatic. It is absurd to ask a great modern power like Japan to be contented while the opposite shores of her narrow seas lie empty, waiting to be fortified by some hostile power. It is in the course of nature for the Sea of Okhotsk and the Sea of Japan to be Japanese lakes.
When swarming multitudes are waiting in Japan to enter on rich, vacant lands, an artificial policy of holding those lands idle in the hope that immigrants from Europe will at some remote period travel five thousand miles, over hundreds of miles of empty land, to settle on the shores of Okhotsk is a policy that cannot prosper.
Unimaginable evils come from the setting up of technical claims against the natural movements of the human race. Natural justice requires a bargain by which all of us intruders shall withdraw our guards and soldiers from China, and let the Japanese into eastern Siberia. Such a bargain can be made attractive to such investors, speculators, and bond-holders as have interests, or think they have, in China or Japan or eastern Siberia. Political objections could be easily handled. is not unlikely that Japan would gladly give up her dreams of conquest and enter on an entirely new policy of colonization, like that which built up America.
The Chinese, to save their great inheritance, the eighteen provinces, and their immediate dependencies, would gladly consent to see Japan in permanent possession of all the shores of the Japanese seas and of the lands that abut on those seas.
Even if the czar's title to eastern Siberia were such as to deserve consideration, and even if there was a population in eastern Siberia comparable to the French that were sold to us in the Louisiana Purchase, and even if a transfer of eastern Siberia involved an infraction of political principle, the transfer would be a small offense.
At the cost of temporary annoyance