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principle that, until a victorious result gives security that the world shall not again be drenched in blood through the insanely selfish policy of a military caste ruling a deluded people intoxicated with material success and power, there will be no peace.
WORLD PEACE DEBATE 1 A. Is the Platform of the League to Enforce Peace Feasible?
The platform is not a program to stop the present war. It looks to a treaty to be adopted at or after its close. Its purpose is to enforce deliberation, impartial investigation and judgment of a cause of international quarrel before hostilities. It does not seek to enforce the decision after it is rendered; but by making clear to the threatening nations and to the world what the real issue is, and what an impartial Tribunal thinks about it, the enforced procedure and the necessary delay will prevent most wars.
To make the platform work, the eight or nine great Powers should join the League. The weaker nations will then be glad to secure the benefit of its protection. Will the great belligerent Powers join? Lord Grey and Mr. Asquith of Great Britain, M. Briand of France, and Dr. Bethmann-Hollweg of Germany are representative of them. They have approved the principles of the League. Lord Grey says that the war should not end without it. President
1 Written debate between Mr. Taft and Mr. Bryan during the first four months of 1917. World Peace (Doran).
Wilson, Mr. Hughes and Mr. Lodge uphold it. These personal expressions do not bind the Nations; but they show that the general plan is feasible and supplies a want which the world feels.
The platform only lays down broad lines. Its machinery must be worked out in International Conference. Its feasibility is not successfully attacked by exceptional hypotheses under which it would fail of its purpose. The most practical plan of government may thus be shown to be futile. If the platform will work in most cases, the value of the result justifies its adoption.
Are the four planks considered in detail feasible?
1. A Court to administer international justice is not new. Our own Supreme Court is one. Questions arise between States not settled by the Federal Constitution or Federal statutes. In the Kansas-Colorado case, Congress had no power to control Colorado. International Law alone fixed the rights between the States; and the Supreme Court enforced these rights.
Our relations with Canada are such that we settle all questions by negotiation or arbitration. We have now two permanent Tribunals to decide controversies between us — one to adjudge questions of boundary waters like that between Kansas and Colorado, and the other to pass upon claims of the citizens of one country against the other. We have thus contracted the habit of arbitration; and, when negotiation fails, no one expects anything else. In our League, the quarrelling nations, moved by their obligation, sanctioned by the threat of compulsion by their associates, will contract the same habit.
2. There may be, however, political or other irritating and threatening issues between nations which cannot be
settled on principles of law. They are to be submitted under the second plank for hearing and recommendation of compromise just as our Fur Seal Arbitration with England.
3. The third or Force plank gives vitality to the platform. It appeals to practical men. It provides for economic pressure and a Police Force to hold off members of the League from war until the cooling and curative influence of the League's judicial procedure may have time to operate,
No matter how law-abiding a community, neither the statutes nor judgments of the Courts enforce themselves so as to dispense with police or sheriffs. The latter may be called on infrequently to suppress disorder or to remove obstruction to judicial decree. The fact that they are present, however, in the community, or in the Court, with the power to act and the intention to act when necessary, , stays would-be disturbers or obstructors. Fear of police action is usually effective without actual use of force. “ They also serve who only stand and wait.”
4. No one will doubt the feasibility of the fourth plank. Successful Congresses for declaring the principles of International Law and enlarging their scope have been held before. Such was the Congress at Paris in 1856 in which privateering was abolished.
The agreement of all the powerful nations of the world to unite their armies and their navies to resist the premature hostilities of one or more nations against another must increase the binding effect of the obligation of the League members not to rush into sudden war. The fear of forcible restraint would thus, in most cases, render actual resort to it unnecessary.
The League is to be a world alliance. We have had
precedents of successful alliances for the purpose of protecting the parties to them against outside attack. In various junctures in the past, these alliances have preserved peace. The fear of their united force has prevented others from attacking a single member.
Moreover, the binding effect of such alliances has shown itself. France, with no interest in Servia, and with the danger of being crushed by Germany, keeps the letter of her agreement with Russia. England, with no interest in Servia, maintains her obligation to Belgium; while Germany, without interest in Servia, upholds her word to Austria. Treaties may sometimes be broken; but as the best hope of securing international progress, we should not abandon them. The fear of another World War, which will lead the great Powers into our League, will also lead them to meet its obligation.
The League is not a defensive league against outside nations. It does not defend its members against non-members. Its purpose is to furnish a means of keeping peace among its own members only. It proposes to secure World Peace by attracting to its membership, first, all the Great Powers, and then the lesser Powers which will surely follow. The logic of circumstances must inevitably force the Great Powers engaged in this war to membership. In seeking permanent peace, whether they wish it or not, the League must be their common goal.
The Allies proclaim their purpose to be to secure a permanent basis for peace, safeguarded by practical guaranties, that is, of superior force. What is that but the League?
Germany's Chancellor avows her willingness to join a
league to suppress disturbers of peace.” The League is only a wise preparation of the members, by organization of their united potential force, to frighten from its purpose a would-be disturber of the World's Peace, and thus probably make the use of actual force unnecessary.
Germany now proposes peace with suggestion of a limitation of armaments. In the Hague conferences, Germany declined to consider such a limitation. Such a suggestion by her now looks necessarily to a continuing “Bund" to exact the limitation. This is only a logical corollary to our proposals. Our League must deal with armaments and fix a minimum to secure effective joint action. Why not a maximum ?
Again, whether Germany's present proposals are now to lead to peace or not, serious negotiations must sometime come; and then conditions will make for a League like ours. One of Germany's motives in offering peace is, of course, her desire to satisfy her own people that their Government is anxious to end their almost unbearable burdens. In Russia, the power of control is passing from the Bureaucracy to the Council and the Duma. When whole peoples constitute the armies and the makers of war supplies, as never before, and all of them are enduring the sweat and woe and blood, their will determines policies. Otherwise, dynasties fall. In all history, no time can find the contending peoples so anxious for guaranties of permanent peace as at the end of this war.
Lord Grey's words, that the war cannot and should not end without such a League, will find an echo in all their hearts.
It is these circumstances that make the League feasible. Difficulties are suggested. They concern the detail of operation rather than the main principles. If the nations