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take away the advantage of surprise, of catching the enemy unprepared for a sudden attack. It would give a chance for public opinion on the nature of the controversy to be formed throughout the world and in the militant country. The latter is of great importance, for the moment war is declared argument about its merits is at once stifled. Passion runs too high for calm debate, and patriotism forces people to support their government. But a trial before an international tribunal would give time for discussion while emotion is not yet highly inflamed. Men 10 opposed to war would be able to urge its injustice, to ask whether, after all, the object is worth the sacrifice, and they would get a hearing from their fellow citizens which they cannot get after war begins. The mere delay, the interval for consideration, would be an immense gain for the prospect of a peaceful settlement.
The proposal for a league to enforce peace cannot meet all possible contingencies. It cannot prevent all future wars, nor does any sensible person believe that any plan can do so in the present state of civilization. But it can 20 prevent some wars that would otherwise take place, and, if it does that, it will have done much good.
People have asked how such a league would differ from the Triple Alliance or Triple Entente, whether it would not be nominally a combination for peace which might have 25 quite a different effect. But in fact its object is quite contrary to those alliances. They are designed to protect their members against outside powers. This is intended to insure peace among the members themselves. If it grew strong enough, by including all the great powers, 30 it might well insist on universal peace by compelling the outsiders to come in. But that is not its primary object, which is simply to prevent members from going to war with one another. No doubt if several great nations, and some of the smaller ones, joined it, and if it succeeded in preserving constant friendly relations among its members,
there would grow up among them a sense of solidarity, which would make any outside power chary of attacking one of them; and, what is more valuable, would make outsiders want to join it. But there is little use in specus lating about probabilities. It is enough if such a league were a source of enduring peace among its own members.
How about our own position in the United States ? The proposal is a radical and subversive departure from
the traditional policy of our country. Would it be wise 10 for us to be parties to such an agreement ? At the thresh
old of such a discussion one thing is clear. If we are not willing to urge our own government to join a movement for peace, we have no business to discuss any plan for the
purpose. It is worse than futile, it is an impertinence, for 15 Americans to advise the people of Europe how they ought
to conduct their affairs if we have nothing in common with them, to suggest to them conventions with burdens which are well enough for them, but which we are not
willing to share. If our peace organizations are not 20 prepared to have us take part in the plans they devise,
they had better disband, or confine their discussions to Pan-American questions.
To return to the question; would it be wise for the United States to make so great a departure from its tra25 ditional policy? The wisdom of consistency lies in
adherence to a principle so long as the conditions upon which it is based remain unchanged. But the conditions that affect the relation of America to Europe have changed greatly in the last hundred and twenty years. At that time it took about a month to cross the ocean to our shores. Ships were small and could carry few troops. Their guns had a short range. No country had what would now be called more than a very small army; and it was virtually impossible for any foreign nation to make more than & raid upon our territory before we could organize and equip a sufficient force to resist, however unprepared we
might be at the outset. But now, by the improvements in machinery, the Atlantic has shrunk to a lake, and before long will shrink to a river. Except for the protection of the navy, and perhaps in spite of it, a foreign nation could land on our coast an army of such a size, 5 and armed with such weapons, that unless we maintain troops several times larger than our present forces, we should be quite unable to oppose them before we had suffered incalculable damage.
It is all very well to assert that we have no desire to quar- 10 rel with any one, or any one with us; but good intentions in the abstract, even if accompanied by long-suffering and a disposition to overlook affronts, will not always keep us out of strife. When a number of great nations are locked in a death grapple they are a trifle careless of the rights of 15 the bystander. Within fifteen years of Washington's Farewell Address we were drawn into the wars of Napoleon, and a sorry figure we made for the most part of the fighting land. A hundred years later our relations with the rest of the world are far closer, our ability to a maintain a complete isolation far less. Except by colossal self-deception we cannot believe that the convulsions of Europe do not affect us profoundly, that wars there need not disturb us, that we are not in danger of being drawn into them; or even that we may not some day find our- 25 selves in the direct path of the storm. If our interest in the maintenance of peace is not quite so strong as that of some other nations, it is certainly strong enough to warrant our taking steps to preserve it, even to the point of joining a league to enforce it. The cost of the insurance is well 30 worth the security to us.
If mere material self-interest would indicate such a course, there are other reasons to confirm it. Civilization is to some extent a common heritage which it is worth while for all nations to defend, and war is a scourge which 35 all peoples should use every rational means to reduce. If
the family of nations can by standing together make wars less frequent, it is clearly their duty to do so, and in such a body we do not want the place of our own country to be vacant. 5 To join such a league would mean, no doubt, a larger force of men trained for arms in this country, more munitions of war on hand, and better means of producing them rapidly; for although it may be assumed that the members
of the league would never be actually called upon to carry 10 out their promise to fight, they ought to have a potential force for the purpose.
But in any case this country ought not to be so little prepared for an emergency as it is to-day, and it would require to be less fully armed if it joined a
league pledged to protect its members against attack, 15 than if it stood alone and unprotected. In fact the tend
ency of such a league, by procuring at least delay before the outbreak of hostilities, would be to lessen the need of preparation for immediate war, and thus have a more
potent effect in reducing armaments than any formal 20 treaties, whether made voluntarily or under compulsion.
The proposal for a league to enforce peace does not conflict with plans to go farther, to enforce justice among nations by compelling compliance with the decisions of a
tribunal by diplomatic, economic or military pressure. 25 Nor, on the other hand, does it imply any such action,
or interfere with the independence or sovereignty of states except in this one respect, that it would prohibit any member, before submitting its claims to arbitration, from mak
ing war upon another on pain of finding itself at war with 30 all the rest. The proposal is only a suggestion, defective
probably, crude certainly, but if, in spite of that, it is the most promising plan for maintaining peace now brought forward, it merits sympathetic consideration both here and abroad.
By NICHOLAS MURRAY BUTLER. (1915) PERHAPS you have not all reflected upon what this thing called patriotism is and how recently it has come into the history of man. There was nothing corresponding to what we mean by patriotism in the older world. There was loyalty to race; there was something approach- 5 ing patriotism, perhaps, in the life of the Greek or Roman city; there was loyalty to ruling monarchs or dynasties; there was pride of origin or opinion; but so long as the nations of Europe and America were in the making, so long as life was fluid, and men were moving uneasily and 10 rapidly over the face of the earth, without fixed habitat or permanent institutions, there was nothing corresponding to what we know as patriotism. Nor is patriotism compatible with any ambition for world-empire or dominion. So long as there was hope of bringing the whole world
15 under the dominion of a single form of religion or under the control of a single governing power. so long as those dreams flitted before the eyes and minds of men -- there was nothing corresponding to what we know as patriotism.
Patriotism began to rise when the modern nations took 20 on their form; when each group of men found itself in a separate and substantially fixed habitat; when unity of language began to develop; when literature sprang up on the wings of language; when institutions and achievements began to appear and to organize themselves; and 25 when men began to convene and to feel the need of a social and political life that had an end or a purpose of its own which they could understand and teach to their children. When there was something that could be handed down, some theory of life, some theory of the status which each 30 man bears to his fellow, then there began to emerge the materials out of which patriotism is made...