A FORECAST OF THE INEVITABLE CLASH BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND EUROPE'S VICTOR
ROLAND G. USHER,
PROFESSOR OF HISTORY, WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY, ST. LOUIS
AUTHOR OF "PAN-GERMANISM,"
" THE RISE OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE," ETC.
THE CENTURY CO.
Published, March, 1915
THE MEMORY OF
WHOSE NAME I BEAR
THE LITTLE SON
WHO BEARS MINE
FROM THE LIVING TO THE DEAD
FROM THE PRESENT TO THE FUTURE
I HAVE sought to make as clear as possible within the confines of a brief volume the relation of the United States, to the present European situation and to the probable or possible crisis which the end of the war may precipitate. With past history and diplomacy, with strategy and geography, I have dealt where it seemed to me essential to view present factors in their historic relationships; but the major part of the volume has been devoted to the present condition of the United States and of Latin America, with especial attention to Pan-Americanism as a possible solution of American problems. I have not scrupled to examine hypotheses about the future, to compare the probable results of policies, and discuss remote possibilities of war and conquest. The formulation of a national decision in regard to the interests to be furthered and the policies best adapted to that end can result only from an active interchange of opinions between the different sections and interests in the nation and fairly demands argument about past history and present factors.
To analyze, to discuss, and to examine has therefore been my province and I have left advocacy and proselytizing for those who will draw conclusions from the body of ascertained facts I have done my best to gather. I hold no brief myself for armament or disarmament, for England, Germany, or Latin America, for expansion or imperialism. To treat so vital and controversial a subject objectively and with detachment; to give the reader perspective as well as information, a brief statement of jarring opinions and suggested solutions; this has been my object. Naturally, many of these views set off against each other are contradictory and I beg my readers not to tax me with inconsistency until they are sure that the statements they are comparing are intended to represent my own ideas. I have ventured to suggest in Book IV a reading of the Monroe Doctrine which seems to me to harmonize its apparent inconsistencies and (what is of more consequence) permits us to act to-day in accordance with the dictates of present expediency without doing violence to the true precedent of the past.
To quote evidence and cite authorities was not possible in a brief book dealing with most of the past and present controversies of American development and not a few of Europe and Asia. Those who will challenge the accuracy of my statements will ask more proof than a few corroborative quotations can afford. For them I have added a short critical bibliography and a few remarks upon the difference in the character of evidence in contemporary history from that in past centuries and its inevitable effect upon the nature of our conclusions.
Though not without definite conclusions about many factors of the situation, I am conscious of no partizanship or interest beyond that of the scholar and observer in search of truth. Yet I am aware that, where notions of impartiality, of patriotism, and of disinterestedness are as various as they are to-day, my own interpretation of these qualities may not be acceptable to all my readers. I can only ask that presumption of honesty and patriotism which each American has a right to expect from another.
AMERICAN PROBLEMS AND THE WAR
Seriousness of the present crisis, clash with Europe's victor inevitable; South America will entice him to Western Hemisphere; the hour for decision here; we must act now; splendid rôle of the United States in history; people anxious to play a noble part in present crisis; knowledge the prerequisite; task of reaching decision made difficult by newness of issue, by varieties of partizanship; we must know---(a) whether armament has been essential factor of defense in past, (b) the probable victor and his motives, (c) whether we are morally bound to defend South America.
THE UNITED STATES
FOUNDATIONS OF AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE
Strategic position of United States the foundation of American independence; first element: the Atlantic Ocean caused isolation in time and space, made European interference in administration impossible, made independence of England a fact; second element: balance of power in Europe, and our lack of geographical relation to Europe important in European quarrels; third element: strategical geography of United States which makes enormous army necessary for invasion or conquest; fourth element: European situation made it impossible for European nations to spare such a force; fifth element: lack of adequate motive for such exertion; ---interaction and interplay of these forces during Colonial period and revolution; resultant non-military character of our institutions.
THE SUPREMACY OF THE SEA
The control of the sea by England fundamental fact in our history; to it we owe predominantly English character of American civilization; England's sea-power primarily domestic necessity; other uses seen after control secured; reason for aggressive attitude toward other navies, limitations of the sea-power; their fortunate effect on America; result on the American Revolution; Revolution cost us all privileges on the sea; quarrel with England over rights of neutrals; probable plans for extorting recognition of rights in 1812; result and policy of cordial relations with the sea-power; England's moderation in use of sea-power: to this we owe our lack of a merchant marine; and the size and character of our navy.
SOUTH AMERICA AND THE WEST INDIES
Colonial period dominated by existence of West Indies; our dependence upon them for medium of European exchange; our determination to have freedom of trade with them; objection to it in England leads to Revolution; Revolution costs us all privileges in West Indies; necessity of cordial relations with sea-power first seen; difficulty of securing favorable terms; factors behind the Monroe Doctrine---(a) our paramount interest in West India trade; (b) necessity to challenge England's control of it; character of English relations with Latin America; independence of republics gives England Spain's control also; challenged by Holy Alliance; (c) tradition of our cordial relations with sea-power; (d) tradition of protection of our independence by keeping European powers out of Americas:---why Canning's offer of cooperation was declined; complex of ideas in Monroe Doctrine of 1823.
THE SUPREMACY OF THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE
England retains supremacy of Western Hemisphere in 1823; her relations to new Latin-American republics; our interest in West Indies disappeared with downfall of prosperity in sugar islands; cotton changes whole situation by making territorial expansion our immediate interest; resulted in new phase of Monroe Doctrine; England's opposition led to Clayton-Bulwer Treaty; English moderation in use of their supremacy; revolution of situation by rise of German navy; England passed supremacy to United States; results of our attainment of supremacy; nature of our supremacy.
OUR PRESENT STRATEGIC POSITION
Developments of nineteenth century rob us of invulnerability; America no longer isolated from Europe; feasibility of administrative or military interference from Europe; United States also able to take offensive; change in character of warfare alters prerequisites of defense; military factors no longer permissive; end of war will probably destroy our remaining defenses.
EUROPEAN POLICIES AND MOTIVES
The war will not decide economic problems of future; but will place solution in the victor's hands; rapidity of recent economic development and its benefits; determination to provide for its continuance; doctrine of defense for the future and of business at a continued profit; need for expanding markets; all European nations affected by crisis; feasibility of projecting part of some European nation across the Atlantic; economic situation provides the victor with a motive for interference in Western Hemisphere.
THE REDISCOVERY OF SOUTH AMERICA
South America fitted to solve the victor's problems; reasons why it has played so little part in history---(a) character of early colonization; (b) existence of North America;---its rediscovery mainly due to modern science, and to modern medicine; also to decline in rate of profit obtainable elsewhere.
PROBABILITIES OF GERMAN AGGRESSION
Character of a German victory; Pan-Germanism will send victorious Germany to Latin America not to United States; suitability of Latin America for German needs; size of the market; extent of resources for development; opportunity for emigration; importance of high development of certain areas; South America most feasible solution for Germany; the easiest for the Allies to concede; the only one Germany can afford to accept; economic and military advantages.
POSSIBILITIES OF ENGLISH AGGRESSION
England the probable victor; victory will restore her supremacy in Western Hemisphere; desirable for her to extend her authority in Latin America; she will probably put an end to our supremacy; Alaska can easily be seized; quarrel over relations of United States and Canada imminent; victory will lead to an attempt to limit our trade with Latin America; fundamental domestic economic needs will make extension of English trade with Latin America essential; desire to accelerate pace of England's development probable; and will require increased trade with Latin America.
FLIGHTS OF NEUTRALS
United States already at odds with England; English attitude toward neutral trade; character of claims advanced by neutral nations; reasons for English refusal to accept them as valid; specific objections of the United States; why England will accord these serious attention; reasons urging the United States to press the demands; probable results of so doing: ruin of American trade.
JAPANESE EXPANSION AND THE PACIFIC
Japan's opportunity, character of Japanese civilization; strategic position of Japan; building of fleet changes strategic situation in Pacific; object of Japanese ambition; growth of German navy robs England of supremacy in the Pacific; she hands it to Japan with conditions; importance of the Philippines to Japan; our opposition to Japanese colonization in Western Hemisphere a source of discord; the European war gives Japan an opportunity to further her ambitions.
PREREQUISITES OF PAN-AMERICANISM
Meaning of the term; its possible significance in the future; premises of an administrative union or Confederation; prerequisites of such a Confederation---(a) federal executive and legislative; (b) regular intercourse between the republics; (c) legal and social equality of citizens;---probable results of such a Confederation; past history of Pan-Americanism; character of past association; Pan-Americanism not now a reality.
FALLACIES OF PAN-AMERICANISM
Assumptions underlying Pan-Americanism; fallacy of a closer geographical relationship of North and South America to each other than to Europe; the fallacy of isolation from Europe; the fallacy of mutual interests between the American republics; historical explanation of these fallacies; common dependence of both Americas upon Europe; sensitivity of Latin Americans; the lack of acquaintanceship between the continents; the United States sundered from Latin America by barriers of race, language, and religion.
LACK OF ECONOMIC MUTUALITY
Latin Americans claim that economic benefits of Pan-Americanism all favor the United States; inability of United States to take the place of Europe---(a) no adequate merchant marine; (b) no exchange facilities for direct business; (c) no adequate supply of commodities to fill their demand; (d) inability to utilize the bulk of their exports; (e) American supply of capital inadequate; ---difficulty of supplanting the European nations in the trade of Latin America.
THE SHADOW OF THE PAST
Lack of mutual trust and confidence between the United States and Latin America; greatest obstacle lies in the history of the past; Latin Americans interpret our utterances by our actions; past aggression of the United States; treatment of Indians and negroes in the United States; modern Latin Americans, conscious of their mixed parentage, fear the whites; general policy of the white man to make others like him; Latin Americans do not wish to be modeled on United States.
ADMINISTRATIVE AND LEGAL PROBLEMS
Necessity of common administration and courts to make Pan-Americanism real; premises of such a Confederation are lacking; difference in size between the United States and Latin America formidable difficulty; same disparity between Latin-American republics; administrative difficulties of dealing with so large a territory; methods of appointing officials; obstacles in way of making uniform code of law; in way of enforcing it in the courts; problem of providing a sanction for commands of the Confederation; strength of the democratic movement in Latin America for state sovereignty.
Social equality absolute prerequisite; mixed racial character of Latin Americans; individual attainments; obstacles in way of recognition of social equality in United States; continued independence of Latin America depends upon ability of the people; unwillingness of Americans to grant social equality read as intention to interfere with attempt of Latin Americans to solve their own problems; equality for Latin Americans in United States would mean social equality for all Indians and negroes.
Can Pan-Americanism defend the Western Hemisphere against Europe's victor? Latin America not threatened by Europe with political conquest; cooperation of Latin America with United States against Europe's victor impossible because Latin Americans fear United States and not Europe; exclusion of Europeans from Western Hemisphere not to interests of Latin Americans; is defense possible from military point of view?
THE FUTURE OF PAN-AMERICANISM
Pan-Americanism has no future; prerequisites are non-existent; Latin America about to challenge assumption by United States of supremacy; alliances of Latin America likely to be with Latin states of Europe.
Independence of the sea-power; the supremacy of the Western Hemisphere; expansion in the Western Hemisphere; imperialism in the Far East; all these spell armament.
THE PREREQUISITES OF INDEPENDENCE
Its ethics; economic desirability; independence a prerequisite of aggressive policy in foreign affairs; prerequisites of independence: (a) an adequate merchant marine; (b) American foreign banking and exchange system; (c) an adequate fleet; (d) an adequate army for defense;---adequacy to be determined by the price set by the victor upon our independence; difference between independence and security; we can afford the expense of such armament.
THE ECONOMICS OF EXPANSION
Does the economics of European expansion apply to the United States? Causes of rapid growth of United States; causes of its recent retardation; meaning of economic interdependence; tendency of rate of progress in all nations to diminish; the development of the United States solved the economic problems of Europe in the past; future economic problem of United States; from this will come a demand for help from political agencies; identity of American and European interests; extent of present interests of United States.
THE ETHICS OF EXPANSION
Definition of word, ethics; pacifist and individualist ethics as applied to expansion, non-ethical character of economic forces; premise of expansion the desirability of gain; pacifist and individualist ethics never used in past by nations; international ethics based on---(a) notion of self-defense; (b) the ethics of business; subtlety of notion of self-defense to-day; (c) the ethics of the Crusader and explorer;---can justify expansion by the past conduct which nations have agreed was justifiable.
THE EXPEDIENCY OF THE MONROE DOCTRINE
Right of United States to political and economic independence real meaning of Monroe Doctrine; expedients for advancing these ends usually stated instead of the principle itself; true principle too fundamental to abandon; previous expedients we are not bound to maintain; all past expedients now obsolete; we are not obligated to defend Latin America; if Monroe Doctrine means Pan-Americanism, Latin Americans will oppose it; if Monroe Doctrine means expansion or imperialism, to realize it spells aggression; and is to be sustained only by extensive armament.
THE ARGUMENT FOR DISARMAMENT
Duty of the United States to set Europe an example; humanitarian motives; will not involve danger to our integrity; will not sacrifice access to foreign markets; idle to attempt independence of European powers on the sea; aggression unnecessary for the United States; war is incapable of creating economic benefits; intensive development of the United States more profitable than aggression; expense of armament is economic waste; alliance with the sea-power will assure the United States all legitimate advantages.
THE PRICE OF DISARMAMENT
Armament and disarmament both relative; the United States already disarmed in all but name; real issue a continuance of present policy or to develop adequate armament; price of disarmament the impossibility of reversing the decision when the crisis appears; disarmament may cost us our security; it will probably not cost us our access to world market; it will cost us all our national ambitions, present and future; Latin America will become foreign territory; our extra-continental possessions will be sacrificed; disarmament will retard our economic development; it will compel us to develop our own resources at a constantly diminishing rate of profit; it will compel us to trust our privileges to the good will of the other nations of the world; will this sacrifice really benefit the cause of universal peace? Are the moral and ethical qualities of the present nations such that we can safely trust our national future to their interests and mercy?
AMERICAN PROBLEMS AND THE WAR
THE United States is facing a crisis without parallel in its history since the signature of the Declaration of Independence. As a nation, we are less concerned with the European war itself, its causes, its course, than with its ending. Whatever the result of this war may be, whoever wins it, whenever it ends, the victor will be able to threaten the United States, and, if he chooses, to challenge our supremacy in the Western Hemisphere. The motive for challenging it is already in existence; the power with which to do so effectively will beyond doubt be in the victor's hands. We have reached, in fact, a time in our national history when a momentous decision is to be made; one now attainable by careful thought and conscious deliberation, advisedly, wisely; one that is sure to be made later in the face of the crisis itself, hastily, hysterically, and regrettably.
Because the state of war in Europe itself protects us at present from military and naval aggression, it is unwise to infer that it will always do so; for the war will probably destroy that close balance of power in Europe upon which our past immunity from European interference has in large measure rested. Because we have given no just cause for aggression, let us not assume that we may not be assailed; the example of Belgium should suffice all nations for at least a century. Because the belligerent nations to-day avow no intention to make war on us and no schemes involving us, we are not necessarily safe; we have only to remember that all of them regard the present war as a war of self-defense on their own part and of unprovoked aggression upon that of their enemy. Whenever the end of the war comes, whatever the result, it will undoubtedly affect our political, military, and naval position in ways which will scarcely be matters of indifference to us. Exactly what the effect will be only the circumstances of the victory itself can show.
The lure which will in all probability entice the victor to the Western Hemisphere will be South America. So far as the United States is concerned, there can be only two victors in this war. With France, Russia, Austria, and the lesser nations, the United States will hardly be concerned. Only England and Germany are in a position to compete for the supremacy of the sea and for the control of the approaches to the Western Hemisphere. The Monroe Doctrine is commonly understood to mean that the United States obligates itself to preserve intact the Western Hemisphere from European aggression. With it the victor will inevitably clash.
Although we need not doubt that the victor will come and that he will be powerful enough to injure us, we need not conclude of necessity that we are in real danger, or that armament is our true recourse. Elaborate armament, undertaken solely to know that no one could hope to attack us with success, would be foolish; but it does not in the least follow that we are in danger because we are not ready to fight. On the other hand, disarmament proceeding from sentimental pleas about the horrors of war would be unwise. There are conceivably real dangers with which we can easily cope, the preparation for which it would be criminal to neglect. Indeed, before we arm or conclude not to arm, let us count as nearly as we may the cost and view the probable consequences of one or the other. Whatever we do let us undertake it only after very general agreement as to its probabilities. If we maintain the Monroe Doctrine or espouse Pan-Americanism, begin building a merchant marine or strengthening the fleet and the army, let us establish beforehand exactly what ends we purpose to subserve by such means. If we decide on the other hand that extensive armament is inexpedient, we must visualize with exceeding clearness before we come to our final conclusion what the exact consequences will be, and what policies, ambitions, or interests the decision will compel us to sacrifice. Obviously, to enounce certain policies and to neglect adequate armament to maintain them can lead to but one result---national humiliation at the victor's hands.
The hour for decision therefore has struck. We must know in the near future what our attitude is to be toward the European situation to be created by the ending of this war, as well as toward those probable developments of the war in the immediate future which may affect this country. To fail to reach a decision at this time will be to compel ourselves to renounce all the interests, policies, and ambitions which any degree of adequate preparation would make it imperative to maintain or secure. Not to decide is to reach a negative decision as effectively as if it had been reached by deliberation. If we fail to grasp the requirements of our present or future position or to comprehend the probable current of international affairs, we shall simply throw away all opportunity of furthering or protecting the interests of the United States. We shall do so blindly, ignorant of what our true interests are.
The United States has played an important and unique part in the history of nations. Dominion is ours, wealth almost beyond estimation, prosperity, cultivation, liberty, and for these inestimable boons we have paid no price in blood or in women's tears. The foundation of our wealth and greatness lies in no sense in aggression, conquest, or spoliation. We owe all to the development of great natural resources by the honest labor of sturdy men and women. Strong differences of opinion about national policy and the great moral issue of slavery compelled our fathers to fight a long civil war; more than once we have been involved in foreign wars, while once or twice we have been hurried by unfortunate counsel into aggression. Such actions have been contrary to popular judgment, and have fortunately contributed little to our national position. We stand therefore in the congress of nations in an almost unique position as the only great nation which does not in large measure owe its present territory and international prominence to a series of aggressive conquests against its neighbors or inferiors.
The majority of the people of the United States are resolved to play a dignified and disinterested part in this world war, to act if possible in accordance with the highest ethical motives upon which national actions can be based. While they are not disposed to sacrifice essentials if once it is shown that they are truly essentials of the national welfare or of the national safety, they clearly deny that the ordinary premises of European political action have any prima facie value for us. The people undoubtedly feel that we have to-day a unique opportunity to place in abeyance our own temporal and temporary interests in favor of disinterested action in furtherance of the highest ideals of the race. They would engrave our national name among those most splendid on history's roll.
If they are insistent that the opportunity should not be thrown away, they are anxious not to be misled as to its true character. Even the least intelligent seem to apprehend instinctively that nobility of action is indissolubly united to wisdom and discretion, and that to be sublime an action must be the result of a conscious choice between alternatives, and not merely the outcome of a headlong impetuosity which by good fortune stumbled across the truth. The American people prefer a generous part devoid of gain and even entailing loss to one which they know beforehand spells selfish aggression or selfish conservation. What is now needed is not action, but that knowledge which must form the basis of intelligent action. Yet as a nation our past indifference to foreign relations and international complications has been almost as marked as our disinterestedness and impartiality; the one no doubt has lent strength to the others. To-day these traits make possible a temperance in action and a discretion in judgment not possible in most European countries where primary interests and antipathies appear in the populace in the guise of passion and prejudice. There has never been a time when knowledge was more imperative; there has never been a time when the people at large were more determined to acquire it. A great variety of policies are being waved insistently before their eyes, and immediate action demanded by vehement advocates. Rightly, the people have denied action and have sought adequate information. They will not be frightened into armament by alarmists, nor yet committed to non-resistance without due consideration, despite the importunity and zeal of idealists and pacifists.
How is it possible to adopt a liberal and unselfish policy without endangering the national safety or risking more of its material well-being than the frailty of the majority will endure? The task of reaching a decision upon the present interests of the United States and upon the policy best adapted to advance them is made difficult by the newness of the issue itself, for in reality we are facing a problem which has never before appeared in our history, to which the policies and precedents of the past do not explicitly apply, and to which it may not be possible to adapt them successfully. We have had no primary interest in crystallizing our foreign policies around some great national necessity, comparable to the European need for the defense of the national independence. In the past our interests have been secondary in importance, permissive rather than essential, issues whose desirability or inexpediency were by no means clear. Nor have these varied interests always been consistent with one another, or complementary. No event has ever focused all of them at once before the nation and revealed their lack of coherence and essential relationship. Sometimes we have furthered one, sometimes another; again a third has received our attention. The present situation, therefore, which does focus at once all our interests, has produced a new problem which compels us to comprehend our lack of a primary interest, and, in the European sense, to grasp the diversity of our secondary interests, and, emphasize the importance of deciding between them. They cannot all be subserved at the same time, any more than we can vote for disarmament and in the same breath reaffirm the Monroe Doctrine.
To establish clearly the fundamental facts of the historic past where our interests had origin is imperative, if we care to see in perspective present interests and possible policies. Otherwise we shall never separate the good from the bad, the cogent from the unimportant. Daily we see excellent causes vitiated by bad logic and ignorance of history; we see praiseworthy motives marred by excess of zeal; unimpeachable premises followed by lame conclusions; specious conclusions which appear convincing until their obvious premises are easily demolished; arguments which would be cogent were not the conclusion itself assumed as a premise. Indeed, it is not about the conclusions and policies which we shall quarrel, but about the premises. What we need to establish at present is the fundamental factors and postulates from which any conclusion must proceed, and which must be duly weighed and considered before any wise conclusion can be reached.
We shall soon have as many varieties of patriots as there are shades of opinion, and much ill-feeling and heartburning over their different policies. If only each could remember to ascribe to others the same honesty of intention by which he feels himself strongly moved! Unfortunately, the most ardent and eager friends are not always the wisest counselors; nor has a passionate affection for one's country and readiness for its service been invariably coupled with accurate information and great discretion. We shall need a wise constraint more often than zeal and adequate information more often than enthusiasm.
One of the most peculiar and in some respects one of the most annoying aspects of great crises is the insistence by most of the adherents of irreconcilable opinions that they alone are the true patriots who have their country's welfare at heart. There is a cheap jingoism always waving the "bloody shirt " and shouting for war and armament without in the least comprehending what the demand involves. There is, if anything, a more dangerous enemy of calm and discreet action in the variety of jingo who has robbed the name of patriot of all its finer and loftier connotations. He spurns as an imputation upon the honor of his ancestors the questioning of his country's preparedness; he thrusts scornfully from him as unnecessary any impartial inquiry into its history to discover whether or not the facts correspond with his suppositions. His bluster masks a very real ignorance and an actual intellectual cowardice; for he is afraid his assumptions might not stand the test of examination and he fears to surrender them because he is not capable of imagining anything to substitute for them. Such "patriots" are not satisfied that our history should be glorious; they insist that it should be glorious according to certain preconceived notions about glory. The search for actual knowledge, the endeavor to reach a clear and wise decision after thoughtful consideration, should be recognized as the duty of patriotism, for by it alone can the true welfare of the country be advanced.
When we stand as a nation face to face with a crisis of undoubted gravity which may imperil in the near future the national safety and which certainly will leave deep traces upon the national structure, we have a right to ask ourselves in all seriousness and with all reverence what have been the props beneath our independence, the foundation of our immunity from European aggression during the last century; the basis of the respect in which we are clearly held by all the great nations of Europe. We are making no sentimental inquiry; we are abroad upon no indifferent quest. We need to know and have a right to know how far our history is the work of military and naval prowess and how far our independence and our proud position in the family of nations are due to factors less evanescent and perishable than the genius of generals and the valor of armies. It may be vital for us to know the truth. If our nation has been built by the fruits of war, there will be at least a presumption raised that we shall need to defend in arms what our ancestors have built by arms. If we find that our independence and security rest, in part at least, on other than military factors, if we can show that the aggression of Europe has been checked in the past by stronger and less personal forces than armies and fleets, we shall raise a very strong presumption that extensive armament will not be indispensable to insure the safety of a rich and powerful nation, intrenched by Nature in a continent, and her loins girt on each side by a thousand miles of ocean.
The cheap enthusiasm of the so-called "Fourth-of-July patriot" eagerly assumes that military prowess must be the basis of national glory, because it is easily understood and furnishes the sort of explanation for independence which the blood-soaked history of Europe has taught him to expect. The United States has the unique distinction among nations of owing its independence and its safety to its geographical situation, and to the arts of peace. To fail to grasp this fact and all it implies is to veil the reality of our ancestors' achievement, and to gloss over its real difficulties and vital significance. To win revolutions and protect nations with conquering armies and victorious fleets is simple and comparatively inglorious; rascals have been good generals; much stupidity and blundering have had to be retrieved by the use of violence, while much iniquity has been exalted by victory. Intelligence, organization, a careful study of the realities of life are indispensable for the achievement of great results without armies. They are a thousandfold nobler and their victories a thousandfold more permanent than those attained to the sound of cannons and to the shrieks of the dying. No true patriot would insist in the face of the horrors of this present war upon believing that the independence of his country had necessarily been won, and necessarily must be preserved, by military and naval prowess. The true patriot will rather rejoice if he can convince himself that no such heavy price was paid to redeem his liberty or to insure his comfortable fireside, and he will look into the future with real confidence and a clear conscience, calm in his belief that we are not necessarily in danger of conquest because unprepared. To the consideration of the past and present position and interests of the United States the first part of this volume will be devoted.
The situation in Europe, the probable victor and his interests and ambitions, will also be of such consequence in reaching a final conclusion that the second book will be given over to their elucidation. We must know who is likely to appear, what circumstances will make possible, probable, or profitable his appearance.
The belief is common in the United States that the Monroe Doctrine has protected South America from European aggression since 1823. If this be true, we have a strong moral obligation to maintain that doctrine in the interests of the weaker American republics, should they be actually threatened by Europe's victor; nor will the United States shirk or abandon this moral obligation because it may involve expenditure and require armament. If such a moral obligation does exist, if the Southern Continent is actually and literally dependent upon our protection, those facts will be extremely cogent. If they shall not prove to be true on investigation, equally material premises will have been established.
The issue is indeed perplexing and immediate. Perhaps the most vital fact in American history is the non-military character of the American people, their disinclination to arm except for the gravest reason, their entire lack of present interest in conquest. In obvious conflict with these national characteristics is the assertion of our paramount interest in the Western Hemisphere and of our right to exclude European nations from it; for if our traditions argue against the use of force, the Monroe Doctrine assumes our willingness to exert it if need should arise. The two are irreconcilable, and the day has now come when the test is about to be made to discover which of the two is the stronger current of our national life.
In reaching some wise conclusion, we shall be much assisted by knowing whether the United States and South America are vitally related to one another, whether they possess mutual interests and sympathies, and really desire to act in concert for the exclusion of European nations from this hemisphere. The variety of notions called Pan-Americanism will require close investigation, for upon the result of that inquiry will depend in large measure the expediency of maintaining the Monroe Doctrine. If our interests and those of South America are mutual and strong, and are based upon fundamental principles of political and economic association, the maintenance of the Monroe Doctrine, even under arms, may conceivably be expedient. But if our interests are not of that nature, it will obviously be unwise for us to base our foreign policy with Europe and South America upon facts which are not existent.
We shall then be in possession of sufficient information about fundamental forces, factors, and policies to discuss in some detail the pros and cons of armament and disarmament and to envisage clearly the probable consequences of the adoption or abandonment of policies. The alternatives should then be clear; the decision between them is for the American people.
Book One: The United States