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would be fair to conclude that Germany was seeking to dominate the Continent. War indeed has been averted, but force has none the less prevailed, and its brutality is not lessened because it seemed so overwhelming that resistance was thought to be imprudent. War is to-day so nearly an exact science, that its result can usually be predicted in known conditions with tolerable accuracy. Mistakes are made about the resources of distant and comparatively untried peoples like the Boers or the Japanese. But a competent soldier thinks he can foresee the outcome of any European conflict. Army corps and battleships are counted and weighed, credit measured and the map studied. From the General Staff comes the warning which precedes a diplomatic defeat. It is not a war of blood. But it is none the less a triumph of force. It is in a war of steel and gold that we are all engaged, and the result of a successful use of ships and army corps as pawns in this diplomatic chess, is to set all Europe arming with redoubled energy. This is the real "rebarbarization," for it is the negation of right and of public law, as it is a menace to national independence.
Let us now face the harder task of considering how the events of this period appear to the German mind. The Germans trace the formation of the Triple Entente chiefly to M. Delcassé and they ascribe to him a bold strategy of "penning in" which he has hardly been at pains to deny. Their reading of history is probably accurate. M. Delcassé was the mastermind of the combination; Lord Lansdowne and later Sir Edward Gray did but make his ideas their own. He aimed, as M. Victor Bérard once put it, at dealing with Germany as the iconoclasts dealt with a Gothic Cathedral-by cutting away its flying but
tresses. Isolate the great Power of Central Europe by detaching from it its supports and allies, and it must eventually crumble into insignificance, and that without the use of a hammer. Metaphors becloud thought, and even "predominance" is a metaphor. If one asks what is meant by it, the shortest and sharpest definition is that which the Kaiser implied when he once declared that nothing should happen in the world without Germany. That Power or group of Powers is the arbiter whose assent must be sought before anything can happen in the world. When we go on to ask what "happens" within the meaning of this phrase, the answer is briefly annexations, protectorates, acquisitions of spheres of influence, economic or political. Behind the whole process lies that over-rapid accumulation of capital which characterizes modern industry, and that over-rapid export of capital to countries which are new or weak or easily exploited. There have been many apologies for the conclusion of the Triple Entente. It has been called a league of peace, and a combination of the Liberal Powers. If it was the first it has failed of its end; if it was the second it ought not to have included Russia. The more realistic Germans smile at these pleasant phrases, and point to two characteristics which its whole history has exemplified. Whatever else it is, it is a league which excludes Germany. With France we have concluded arrangements about Egypt and Morocco, with Russia arrangements about the Middle East, and (at the time of the Reval meeting) about Macedonia. A crossing arrangement has been conIcluded between Britain, France, Russia and Japan to guard the status quo in the Far East, and Germany has had no share in it, though she is, by virtue of her annexation of Kiao-Chau, a Far Eastern Power. Spain has been
drawn in by a treaty with Great Britain and France, and that connection has been ratified by a royal marriage and a bargain for the rebuilding of the Spanish navy. But the sorest point of all to the Germans has been the "debauching" of Italy from her loyalty to the Triple Alliance. Nominally she remains a member. But actually, as the Algeciras Conference proved, her support in a diplomatic emergency is not to be reckoned on, and she is now, with but little concealment, arming against her ally, Austria. To this process of concluding alliances and understandings always outside the German group, and always without its participation, the Germans have given the name of "penning in." The Balkan crisis only added a new fear to the old, for until the fall of Kiamil Pasha it seemed probable that Turkey, reformed and regenerated, might now be added to the league which is "isolating" Germany.
At any suggestion that this league is a group formed for defence and for the maintenance of the status quo, a German critic smiles with a not unreasonable bitterness. For apart from the fact that it has enabled us to tighten our hold on Egypt, it has had two main consequences; it has opened Morocco to French "penetration," and established over Persia a Russo-British condominium. From neither country indeed can German capital be altogether excluded, but so far as politics can back finance-and in a weak country such backing is always decisiveMorocco has become a French preserve, and Persia in the main a Russian dependency. That is the sort of thing which should not in the German view happen "without Germany." It has so happened. Other Powers have won "places in the sun" and she has not secured the usual compensation. She can point out that all the expansions and penetrations which have oc
curred since 1903 have profited the members of the Triple Entente. Morocco, Persia, and now a slice of Siam have been disposed of. It is true that she has definitely secured Bosnia for Austria, but that can hardly be called a new acquisition; it was part of the complicated barter of the Treaty of Berlin; the price was long since paid. For her action during the Moroccan Crisis, she would give this excuse, that she was protesting against the assumption of two Powers to dispose, by a bargain between themselves alone, of a weak State which was in a sense the ward of Europe. The conduct of Britain and France in bartering a claim to Morocco for a claim to Egypt was essentially predatory, and an offence against the concert of Europe. One may state her objection in two forms. Really what is in her mind is probably the old Bismarckian maxim, that if any Power seeks to aggrandise herself, the occasion may be turned to the profit of Germany by a process of bargaining, in which she will secure some parallel gain, some commission on the spoils. But the same standpoint is capable of a better meaning. The only check on expansive Imperialism, the only means of asserting the collective right of Europe to act as a concert to which all interests may appeal, is that every Power shall recognize the duty of consulting its fellows before it affects to dispose of the destinies of a weak people. That principle was ignored in Morocco; it was ignored again in Persia. If Germany has used her strength, now to threaten France and again to influence Russia, she was only employing the weapons that lay to her hand, so a German would argue, against the toils of a vast diplomatic intrigue which were gradually hemming her in. Had she acquiesced in its consolidation, the consequences must have been for her the loss of her prestige in the world, and
the tying of her hands while her rivals gradually divided between themselves the still unparcelled spheres of penetration, and acquired over weaker Powers like Spain and Turkey a paramount influence. Nothing indeed threatened her in her own solid central position in Europe. That she could always have held. But for how much longer, if she had sat still to be isolated, would even Austria have cared to have her for an ally? She retains the Austrian connection against the hostility of most of the Slavs and all the Magyars only by the tie of selfinterest. She thought she saw some symptoms of an intrigue to detach or "debauch" even Austria from the Triple Alliance, in such demonstrations as the visit of the Eighty Club to the reactionary Magyar Independence Party, and later at the Ischl meeting. She had also to remember that the heir to the Dual Crown has pronounced Slavonic sympathies. She therefore decided that if she was to avoid total isolation, she must render to her "brilliant second" Austria some signal services on the "duelling ground" of the Balkans. Hence her intervention in St. Petersburg. Her success on that occasion, which English critics describe as an attempt to dominate Europe, was in her view only a demonstration that Germany cannot be "isolated" or "penned in" or reduced to impotence. It meant that there is one alliance which cannot be "debauched."
That, with such impartiality as the present writer can command, is the case for and against the two groups of Powers whose rivalry has made the "hush" in Europe. Each has some right on its side; both have been guilty of disloyalty to the ideal of a European concert. But, indeed, to talk of right and wrong in such debates is to misuse terms. Where the
fate of Moors and Bosnians and Persians is at stake only the Moors and Bosnians and Persians have rights; the Powers have interests. There has been played before us a complicated game in which each side may with some reason accuse the other of striving for predominance. One cannot fairly say that either party has acted simply on the defensive. Each has openly striven for self-aggrandizement. The balance of power at which we profess to be aiming, means obviously a balance which will give to the members of our coalition the opportunities for the particular act of expansion which for the moment seems tempting. In order to see the situation clearly it is not necessary to attempt to assign or to measure responsibilities. Nothing ever begins in diplomacy. Every attack is a reprisal, ever manœuvre defensive. Before each new wrong there was always some older wrong. Before Delcassé there was Bismarck. But without attempting to judge those who created the Triple Entente, one may take note of its effects upon Europe. It has riven such concert as ever existed. It has rendered impossible the discussing of any question upon its merits. No mediator, no arbiter, no neutral is left in any quarrel. It has divided Europe into two camps whose intercourse consists in the measuring of each other's armaments.
When we turn from the general European consequences to a survey of our own interests, the case is hardly better. Lord Rosebery, almost alone in England, predicted disaster when the entente cordiale was concluded. There is happily much to be set on the credit side of the account. We are at last emerging from our insularity, and we are forging with the French the happiest social and intellectual bonds. There is even with Russia the commencement of a like
process. For the rest it is from the Imperialist standpoint a gain that our hold on Egypt is now virtually unchal lenged, and the City rejoices at the expansion of our highly speculative investments in Russia. But the first test of any alliance is the degree of security which it brings with it. For of an "alliance" we must learn to speak. The term is now employed on occasion by the Temps, and no one doubts that, whether or not a formal military convention exists, it is understood, and from time to time arranged, that in certain contingencies our forces will act together. Nor can the significance of the fact that General French and Admiral Fisher accompanied the King to Reval, and held there formal consultations with Russian generals and admirals, be misunderstood. The "league of peace" is a league of armed forces. A triple alliance multiplies threefold the risks which each Power incurs. It adds nothing to their security unless the combination is so solid or so strong that no rival is likely to challenge it. But unluckily, as it stands at present, the Triple Entente is markedly weaker on land than the Triple Alliance. France has to face the permanent fact of her numerical inferiority to Germany. Russia with all her millions is anarchic, bankrupt, morally divided, and subject to a ruling class which lacks both the science and the sense of responsibiity of the German military caste. In a general war, it would avail little that we held the command of the seas. Our allies could not certainly secure the victory on land. We indeed might suffer little, but in the final settlement our inability to strike home would none the less leave the last word to the stronger Continental coalition. It is this corrosive calculation which ruins the entente from the military standpoint. Its members take unequal risks. We indeed stake our prestige, France and
Russia their territorial integrity. Hence the uneasy sense in France that the alliance is unreal and incomplete, until we elect to become a military power. Hence too the continual uncertainty whether in any real crisis Russia will stand by her partners. One may doubt whether in making the French alliance Russia aimed at much beyond the access which it gave her to the French money-market. She retains ber traditional respect for the German legions beyond her almost undefended frontier. Our accession to the alliance makes that frontier no safer. The league, in short, is close enough to increase our anxieties and commitments-it might twice at least in the last four years have involved us in war. It makes us a factor in every Continental quarrel. Yet it gives us nothing approaching the security which Germany and Austria enjoy. We are, of course, absolutely secure in our own island while we retain our naval supremacy. But in the struggle for Continental predominance we have not at our command the Instrument which would enable us to intervene with effect. For a Continental policy we need the Continental arm. The school of critics who point out that this struggle, if we are really embarked seriously upon it, may involve us, as it involved us in the days of Marlborough and Wellington, in land warfare, have an unanswerable case. But if the British public really understood that it had to choose between conscription and the Triple Entente, it would certainly prefer to return to its "splendid isolation." There are before us, while we continue our present course, two possibilities. We may take our new ambitions seriously, and in that case we shall sooner or later be forced to acquire an army. Or we may muddle on, in and out of Europe, with an alliance which is no alliance, always arming, always forcing others
to arm, cementing ententes, enduring buffets and bluffs, watching Europe "rattling into barbarism," until one day some intrigue at the Russian Court leaves the two Western Powers alone, and France, realizing that we can do nothing to secure her Eastern frontier, regretfully abandons a too risky connection. The isolation which would result for us would then be far from splendid.
There are other and less elementary tests to which our foreign policy must submit. No one, for example, can maintain that it has increased the security of Europe. Lord Rosebery and all the distinguished persons who endorse his every word are agreed on that, though they would doubtless throw the blame entirely on Berlin. No one can maintain that it has promoted the cause of European disarmament. Even France resented Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman's effort
to force this question at the Hague. Nor, while this struggle for predominauce continues between the concentrated forces of the Central Powers and the straggling combination which "pens" them in, is it worthy of practical men to continue to urge a rednetion of armaments by treaty. The Germans see in that suggestion only a suspect manœuvre designed to stereotype their present naval inferiority, and to guarantee, by law as it were, the supremacy which would enable us to destroy their commerce and to close to them the sea-roads which lead to their colonies. We shall make no progress with this proposal until the Germans cease to think of us as the leaders of a European coalition primarily desigued to thwart their purposes and promote our own, and until by abandoning the right of capture at sea, we make our navy a purely defensive arm. Their attitude is quite indefensible from the standpoint of cold reason, but it is in all circum
stances of the moment eminently human and natural. It is also relevant to inquire whether the Triple Entente serves the humaner purposes which all parties in this country in some degree profess. There is, for example, the question of the Congo. The leaders of that movement, after a long period of patient support, have, if one may judge from Mr. Morel's emphatic letter to the Morning Post, come to the conclusion that Sir Edward Grey will now do nothing effective to forward their purposes. The reason is not obIn the armed "hush" any decisive action may be risky or at least embarassing. But, above all, our hands are tied by the fact that allpowerful financial interests in France are linked with King Leopold's concessionaries.
There remains the question of Persia. It is as yet undecided, but there are, I think, only two probable solutions.
If our Foreign Office has reason for its clinging faith in Russian loyalty, Persia is destined to some shadowy national life under a régime comparable to that which prevailed in Egypt under the Dual Control. The Shah and the Parliament will continue their endless bickerings under some sort of constitution guaranteed by the two Powers. Every attempted infraction of it by either side will involve an appeal to the Legations. The finances and therefore the administration will meanwhile have come under foreign management. On this reading of the situation, Russia first broke the Nationalists by Colonel Liakhoff's coup d'état and then broke the Shah by marching on Tabriz. The joint resu of these two manoeuvres will be an Anglo-Russian control, and the effectual end of any real independence. But a still cruder solution is equally probable. Russia has concentrated 4000 troops in Azerbaijan-more than enough to overrun the whole of un