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nations bind themselves to a common obligation for the future to suppress war.
We call for a primitive political organization of the world, affording judicial and mediating agencies and an international police to stamp out the beginnings of every riot of world violence. A member of the family of nations which looks upon war as a normal means of acquiring power and a justifiable condition of growth destroys hope for the future. Such member must be whipped into a different view and into conformity with the public opinion of the world. Nothing but force can cure the brutality and ruthlessness of force. In such a case the maxim, “Similia similibus curantur " has full application. The peaceful countries of the world are obliged to assume the habits and the panoply of war. When they, in spite of their lack of preparation, in spite of their peace-loving instincts, shall strike down in battle a people that makes war its god, the cure of that people will be complete, the scales will fall from their eyes, and with a clear vision they will see that he whom they have ignorantly worshipped is the devil and not God. Until so cured, the Central Powers can never be amenable and law-abiding members of a peaceful world community.
OUR PURPOSE 1
We are in the war first of all to make the world safer and a better place to live in. We are fighting to bring about a lasting peace. There was a time when many cherished the hope that such a peace could be established by the moral
1 Newspaper article, June 30, 1918.
force of public opinion. Now we know that peace has a more terrible price, and we are ready to pay the price.
We have had nothing to do with the politics of Europe; but this war is not a matter of European politics. It is world politics; and we announced ourselves as citizens of the world when we declared war against Germany. World politics, after all, are only fundamental questions of right
We are for the right against the wrong. We are fighting to make it impossible for military autocracy ever again to endanger the peace of the world. Republics make mistakes, but this war has proved that they are slow to fight.
One thing this war will accomplish: when it is over we shall hear no more talk about the advantages of national isolation. In taking our place among the nations we have come with an international policy already prepared and we have made it clear to the world that the success of this policy is our main purpose. We are fighting, as our President has put it,“ to make the world safe for democracy." We have not tried to set a price upon our participation in
We have made no bargain. Europe knows our purpose. When the war is over we expect to cast our vote at the peace council for what the President called “such coöperation of force among the great nations as may be necessary to maintain peace and freedom throughout the world.”
The war has demonstrated the weakness of international law unsupported by force. Such support can be furnished by a system of international police.
I do not pretend to know just what our views will be
when the war is over. Nobody realized where the Spanish war would carry us. We went into it in Cuba and came out in the Philippines. But this is how the thing looks now. The policy and the purpose I have explained are so broad and their application so universal that it is difficult to see how any event can change them.
In principle this policy and purpose have been endorsed by many of the leading European statesmen who may sit at the peace council beside the delegates from this side of the Atlantic. In his speech before the United States Senate, M. Viviani, the former premier of France and head of the French mission, said:
“ Together we will carry on that struggle; and when by force we have at last imposed military victory, our labors will not be concluded. Our task will be — I quote the noble words of President Wilson - to organize the society of nations. . . . We will shatter the ponderous sword of militarism; we will establish guarantees of peace; and then we can disappear from the world's stage, since we shall leave at the cost of our common immolation the noblest heritage future generations can possess."
And Russia has joined the consensus of the enlightened nations with this declaration by Prof. Milyukoff, first Foreign Minister of the young Republic:
“ The definition by President Wilson of the purposes of the war corresponds entirely with the declarations of the statesmen of the allied powers: M. Briand, Mr. Asquith and Viscount Grey all expressed themselves continually on the necessity of seeking to prevent conflicts of armed forces by providing peaceful methods of solution for international disputes and creating a new organization of nations based
upon order and justice in international life. The democracy of free Russia is able to associate itself completely with these declarations.”
Our allies have accepted the definition of the high purpose of the war as it came to them from this side of the Atlantic. Now let us show them that we can wage war as well as analyze and define it.
SELF DETERMINATION 1
The task of the League of Nations called to decide the terms of peace will be as huge as that of the war which the peace will end. The issues as to Alsace-Lorraine, the Trentino and Trieste will be simple as compared with the Czecho-Slovak and Jugo-Slay questions. The restrictions of the Turkish domain, the protection and freedom of Armenia, the Balkan boundaries and the government of Albania will try the ingenuity of statesmen in working out a just result. Above all in difficulty will be the settlement of the questions as to Russia. Shall it be a confederation of States like ours, or shall they be independent? Who shall determine this?
“Let the people themselves decide,” it is said. Every one agrees that this general rule should prevail in post-war arrangements. But how large or how small shall the unit of a people for such decision be? Shall units be racial or geographical? Suppose a people as small in number as the Belfast Orangemen compared with the whole population of Ireland insists on a separate government, though geography,
1 Philadelphia Public Ledger Oct. 3, 1918.
trade conditions and every consideration but religious difference and tradition require that the whole island be under one Government ?
It becomes apparent at once that the general principle of popular rule is not a panacea and that many issues will have to be settled by the Congress of Nations, according to expedient and practical justice, over the objection of some part of the people affected. The result will illustrate the inherent error in the frequent assumption that a Government by the people is a Government in which that which is done is the will of each one. A practical Government by the people is a Government by a majority of the voters. The rest of the people must yield their will to the will of this majority. However, in the purest democracy, the voters are not a half of the population, and the prevailing majority is usually not more than 20 per cent. of all. The guide of the popular will is still less helpful when the issue is the fixing of the proper self-governing unit. In the intoxicating fumes of a new freedom, municipal Councils in Russia declared themselves independent governments. Should Lithuania, Esthonia, the Ukraine and Great Russia be separate entities? This cannot be certainly and properly determined by a plebiscite of the population of the particular district, if its relation to the neighboring communities or to Russia as a whole make it best for all concerned that they be united. More than this, an ignorant people without the slightest experience in the restraints necessary in successful selfgovernment and subject to the wildest imaginings under the insidious demagoguery of venal leaders may well not know what is best for them.
Thus, flowing phrases as to liberty and the rule of the people do not offer a complete solution for all the problems