« AnteriorContinuar »
than the German fleet and was inferior to it in organisation, in certain types of ships, and in armaments, especially in reserve stores of guns and ammunition. The American fleet was then on paper about 50 per cent. stronger than the Japanese fleet, but it seemed questionable whether the American fleet equalled the Japanese fleet in organisation, preparedness, and efficiency.
The British fleet is the strongest in the world. It is more powerful than it has ever been, but with the advent of the submarine, the influence of maritime power has been greatly weakened unless it is overwhelming.
The great military nations of the world naturally base their hopes of expansion at the cost of the Anglo-Saxonsas the world is divided they can expand only at the cost of the Anglo-Saxons—upon the inadequacy of the AngloSaxon fleets and the disunion of the two great Anglo-Saxon nations, for they know full well that it would be hopeless to challenge Anglo-Saxon supremacy on the seas if Great Britain and the United States were firmly united. In endeavouring to build up large navies they may in the future strain their resources to the utmost, hoping that by combining they will be able to overwhelm, or to overawe, either Great Britain or the United States. While Great Britain and the United States may in the future not be able to defeat single-handed any conceivable combination of naval Powers which may attack them, they can face the world if they are united. Herein lies the necessity for their reunion. Admiral Mahan wrote in his book • Retrospect and Prospect': 'As the world is now balanced, the British Empire is in external matters our natural, though not our formal, ally.'
The race instinct is strong on both sides of the Atlantic. In Great Britain and in the United States it is instinctively felt that one nation depends for its security largely upon the other, and that neither nation can allow the other to go down. The United States and Great Britain are in the same boat. Great Britain realises that it would be a calamity to see the United States defeated by a great military nation, which would probably settle on the American Continent and militarise it, and the United States recognise that they would become the immediate neighbours of the military Great Powers of Europe if the British fleet should be destroyed. So far militarism in its most objectionable forın has been restricted to the European Continent and to Japan. The defeat of the United States or of Great Britain might bring about the militarisation of the world.
The greatest interest of the overcrowded military nations of Europe and Asia is expansion. The greatest interest of the Anglo-Saxon nations is peace, security, and the restriction of armaments. These blessings can scarcely be obtained by the federation of the world, dreamt of by the late Mr. Stead, or by the federation of Europe, proposed by other dreamers, but only by the federation of the AngloSaxon nations. Experience shows that the world can be at peace only if it is controlled by one nation. It will be at peace only when the pax Romana has been replaced by the pax Britannica, by the peace of the Anglo-Saxons, when the military Great Powers have, owing to the growth of the Anglo-Saxon nations, become military small Powers. The world must either become Anglo-Saxon or fall a prey to militarism.
The arguments in favour of an Anglo-American Reunion are overwhelming. Great Britain and the United States are one in language, spirit, and tradition in short, in all the things that count. The argument that they cannot combine because one is a monarchy and the other is a republic is a fallacious one. Both are democracies. They differ only in the outer form, but not in the essence and the spirit, of their government. Great Britain has an hereditary president and the United States have an elected king. Rightly considered, Great Britain is the more democratic nation of the two. The King of England has far less power than the President of the United States. Besides, the will of the people is more likely to prevail in Great Britain than in the United States, because Great Britain has an unwritten, flexible, and therefore truly democratic, constitution, while the United States have a written, almost unchangeable, and therefore somewhat antiquated, constitution. Kingdoms and republics may be joined in a single federation. The Empire of Germany, for instance, contains three republics. Last, but not least, democratic nations combine not because their outward forms of government are identical but because they are of one race and have the same interests. The United States and Great Britain should be united on a basis of race solidarity and of the identity of their vital interests. The objection that Great Britain is a European nation with European interests is contradicted by Professor Coolidge, of Harvard University, in his book “The United States as a World Power,' as follows:
Are we to regard Imperial Britain as a European Power, when the greater part of her external interests and difficulties are connected with her situation on other continents ? Are not the vast majority of Englishmen more in touch in every way with Australians, Canadians, Americans than they are with Portuguese, Italians or Austrians of one sort or another ? What strictly European interests does England represent ?
Rome was not built in a day. The reunion of the AngloSaxon nations will take time, but it is bound to take place for it is logical and inevitable. The growth of the military Powers and the rapid increase of their fleets must automatically bring about an Anglo-Saxon reunion earlier or later. The Hundred Years' Peace would, I think, be most appropriately celebrated by the conclusion on its next anniversary of a treaty of defence by the two great AngloSaxon nations, of a treaty which would guarantee to them their peace and the secure possession of their territories, and which would deprive foreign nations of the temptation to attack them singly. Such a step would slacken, or bring to a stop, the naval armament race.
Great Britain extends a fraternal hand to her kinsmen across the sea. How completely she has forgotten the revolt of her colonies may be seen by the fact that Earl Grey proposed in 1913 to erect the statue of George Washington in Westminster Abbey among England's heroes, and to present by public subscription Sulgrave Manor, the ancient family home of the Washingtons in England, to the American nation. Never in the history of the world has a revolutionary leader been more greatly honoured by those against whom he took up arms.
Since the time when these pages were written the Great War, which I had foreseen and frequently foretold, has broken out, the United States have joined the Allies in their fight for freedom and against tyranny, a new chapter has been opened in the history of the world. An AngloAmerican reunion has come within the limits of possibility. The World War may wipe out completely the memory of past misunderstandings and of ancient wrongs. The firmest cement between nations is the remembrance of dangers borne in common.
The fathers of the American Republic who had cut themselves adrift from England, thought that the Great Republic should pursue a purely American policy. In his celebrated Farewell Address of 1796, his political testament, Washington laid down the principles of America's foreign policy in the following words, which are known to every American citizen:
Observe good faith and justice towards all nations. Cultivate peace and harmony with all. Religion and morality enjoin this conduct; and can it be that good policy does not equally enjoin it? It will be worthy of a free, enlightened, and, at no distant period, a great nation, to give to mankind the magnanimous and too novel example of a People always guided by an exalted justice and benevolence.
Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence, I conjure you to believe me, fellow-citizens, the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican Government. ...
The great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign nations, is, in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little Political connection as possible. So far as we have already formed engagements, let them be fulfilled with perfect good faith Here let us stop. Europe has a set of primary interests, which to us have none, or a very remote, relation. Hence she must be engaged in frequent controversies, the causes of which are essentially foreign to our concerns. Hence, therefore, it must be unwise in us to implicate ourselves, by artificial ties, in the ordinary vicissitudes of her politics, or the ordinary combinations and collisions of her friendships or enmities.
Our detached and distant situation invites and enables us to pursue a different course. . . . Why forego the advantages of so peculiar a situation? Why quit our own to stand upon foreign ground ? Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition, rivalship, interest, humour, or caprice ? 'Tis our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world.
The policy of isolation and non-interference recommended by Washington and his contemporaries has had to be abandoned. America has become a true WorldPower. Commenting upon Washington's Farewell Address and the necessity of abandoning the traditional policy of the United States, I wrote in The Nineteenth Century Review in May, 1914, in commenting upon the Mexican imbroglio :
Washington wrote in his Farewell Address, ‘Europe has a set of primary interests which to us have none, or a very remote, relation.' That assertion was formerly correct, but is so no longer. Nowadays Great Britain is vitally interested in American, and the United States are equally vitally interested in European, policy. Neither can safely allow that the position of the other should become jeopardised.