America’s China Policy Is Not Working
The Dangers of a Broad Decoupling
NO one who reads history can fail to realize the slow movement that has been going on during all the centuries of the civilization of which we form a part, and in a direction towards which the eyes of civilized men have ever been eagerly looking. The Roman Empire has been compared, in some respects correctly enough, to a league of the then civilized world. This league preserved substantial peace within its borders over a larger area and for a longer time than ever before or since. In so far as it accomplished this it did so by the gradual substitution of Roman law in the government of all relations between man and man. Then it lapsed into "Chaos and Old Night." Human history returned to its point of beginning, the beginning of the previous cyclical process of political evolution. Each man from the peasant to his over-lord relied on the law of force and was armed for his own security. Very slowly domestic law reappeared. Very slowly men realized that they were beginning to get more of substantial justice under this law more surely than they did by force. The rule of law became universal in all really civilized nations. In them now are hundreds of millions of men, individually disarmed, whose predecessors made the same objections to disarmament that the states themselves now make. And that movement towards disarmament for private war began, as the present one respecting public war, in a sentiment.
Even without a written word from any man of those times to enlighten us, we know that here and there in rude baronial castles throughout Europe there must have been men who, while they sat in their rush-floored halls and listened to the clinking blows of their armorer in the court-yard below, were thinking about the same subject in pretty much the same way that men are doing now. Then, as now, they said, "We want security, -- yet we have found no better way to get it than to stake it with our lives, liberty and possessions on a throw of a gambler's dice." And were we to imagine the conversation of a few such men, it would suggest, perhaps, a modern international conference. We would find that as soon as they began to reason about it, they were unanimous in their desire for the thing they had in mind, though, for the time, there were irreconcilable differences in the methods they proposed for its attainment. They would separate in the belief that they had been dazzled by a dream, that they had indulged for an idle hour in an imaginative fancy as pleasant and as futile as Virgil's dream of the golden age. They would regretfully say, "It is impossible."
Yet they themselves had begun the movement towards the end they desired. At that very moment, when they first began to think in this way, a new order of things began to grow. And its growth was like that of a tree, by slow processes which resulted, without anyone realizing how or when or why, in accomplishing what men desired without knowing how to attain -- disbelieving that it could be attained.
It is plain that national minds are now working on the line which began with individuals centuries ago. The lines may be identical, or they may be parallel and as such may not meet within finite time. That remains to be seen; but they lead in the same direction. And the nations know that the one question confronting them is whether the evolution of law -- the only peaceful means for obtaining security and justice that man has been able to devise -- stops with the individual or can be gradually extended to national masses. To whatever degree they find this impossible, or as long as they believe that it is, they will remain armed against each other.
In their desire to escape this conclusion, the American people and their legislature have just been engaged in trying to find an answer to one aspect of the question. They know that law and courts, when uncontrolled, may become instruments of injustice and lead to loss of individual security. They have written into the constitution of their government limitations on the law-making body and, in case these should be disregarded, have provided for a control of their courts in the application of the law. They were recently invited by pretty much all the other nations of the world to join in the maintenance of a court devised to settle such of their international disputes as a court, under limitations commonly agreed upon, could take cognizance of. And we have been trying -- those who consider the matter intelligently and without bias -- to find whether we could write into an international agreement guarantees to maintain our national security and have substantial justice in the operation of such a court. If we had failed it would have meant only that we reserved the right to settle by war disputes that we could not otherwise adjust. If we also reserved the right to arbitrate we would leave some fifty-six nations, including all the other great powers, without any assured means of a settlement of their disputes with us except war. We would thus have stood, and alone, squarely across the path of the world in its progress to attain, by concerted means, reasonable assurance of international peace.
Let us keep clearly in mind the only peaceful means that the wisdom of man has been able to devise, or conceive, to settle disputes within or between nations, and note the ones of which mutual fear still prevents full acceptance. They are:
1. Some sort of direct approach, with a view to adjustment; if this fails, then successively
2. Some sort of conciliation by friendly parties;
4. Judicial procedure.
If all fail, and if the dispute is serious enough, the alternative is -- war.
The first two have doubtless been practised ever since men, either as individuals or formed into states, began to dispute. In case of failure of these two, the third method has been used from the dawn of civilization -- in all recorded history -- and was both a result of and an aid to civilization. It has been constantly used in the domestic life of a nation where no law applies to the matter in dispute, or where the parties for any reason prefer to avoid the delay or expense of judicial procedure, or where both prefer the chances of a compromise rather than a judicial decision on the merits of the case. If a law applies they may have recourse to a court. Within a civilized state recourse to any but these methods is no longer allowed. Domestic law does not compel men to arbitrate even if there is no law in the case to which they can appeal. If, in that latter case, they refuse to arbitrate, they can only agree to continue peacefully to disagree. The interest of the community intervenes to prevent violence, that is, private war. And by these methods peace within the state is secured as far as lies in human means.
As between states, arbitration has been used for at least the past twenty-five years in the same general way and for exactly the same reasons that govern individuals within them. It has been successful in the great majority of cases and has undoubtedly had its influence in preventing war. States have resorted to it by special agreement when some case has arisen; or in accordance with a treaty, to apply in some special case or limited classes of cases; rarely by treaty between a group of three or more nations, and then only to submit one kind of case.
Notwithstanding all the good that has resulted from diplomacy, conciliation and arbitration, when we study the history of modern states of Europe from the time they began to re-arise from the wreck of the Roman Empire we find a story of constant war, constant wrong and injustice received and inflicted by each nation which gained and lost by violence, and often perished by it. Yet, during all those centuries, each was employing every method of diplomacy, alliances and war -- with all too rare use of arbitration -- to protect itself against its neighbors, as the latter were employing them to protect themselves against it. That was the inevitable result of the absence of organized, helpful coöperation and will continue so in the degree that such coöperation does not exist.
The world is beginning to be inspired by this spirit towards the most difficult and important of all its problems. Gropingly, hesitatingly, with tentative steps, it is feeling its way. The pilot is dropping the sounding line into hitherto unfathomable depths of human nature. Perverse currents have swayed it to and fro and prevented it from touching bottom. Now the lead is beginning to sound the tortuous and still dangerous channel that leads to the haven of the world's hope, even though the vessel freighted with it must cast anchor many times, waiting while the currents shift and the rising tide can lift it over many bars.
This spirit has grown with the growing international conviction that effective coöperation requires some degree, and an increasing one, of concession of the right to make war. Something, then, must be gradually substituted for it. The nations have been able to conceive of nothing, and nothing can be conceived, except in last-resort arbitration, or judicial procedure. Within our own time, going no farther back than the Hague Conventions, they began to emphasize more general arbitration. For this they established a Permanent Court. If they would resort to it in all cases there would have been no suggestion of any other court. But arbitration means compromise. Individuals and nations resort to it when they think a contest of violence is not worth while or, perhaps, when no law applies, or each fears the application of the law. Instinct prompts men who honestly believe they are right, and who prefer peace, to seek justice by some form of judicial procedure. Therefore, after eight years' trial an attempt was made at the instance of the United States to modify the Permanent Court of Arbitration into a Court of Arbitral Justice by the addition of certain forms of judicial procedure. But the judicial forms still do not give reasonable assurance of full justice on the merits of the case and the arbitral features still result in compromise.
The desire for justice without war -- with all our fear that we may not get it under this or that form of procedure -- cannot be downed. It led to the establishment of the Permanent Court of International Justice, accepted by most of the nations of the world with or without varying conditions which represent fears that will persist only until the nations are satisfied that they get more justice with the Court than they can be assured of without it.
Disarmament depends upon some accepted form of arbitration, or some form of Court, or both. Therefore, those who hope for effective disarmament must first of all work for an extension of the application of the principles of both, and a widening of their scope. Let us consider arbitration first. A court can never entirely replace it because men and nations sometimes for good reasons of their own prefer to seek not abstract justice but a compromise. At the same time, a widened and regulated system of arbitration will tend to widen the scope of a Court. If two nations can agree in advance to submit all cases under the most limited class to arbitration it will only require time for them to acquire confidence in the justice of a court before they will prefer to submit most of such cases to it.
The American people have always been stanch advocates of arbitration in cases where their passions did not get the start of their reason. They have tried it many times. They know that they have received substantial justice. In no case did they believe that the amount of justice that they may have failed to get warranted a war to get it. There is no better nor surer way for the United States to gain the moral leadership of the world than to act now on this underlying conviction of its people as shown by its frequent but sporadic practice. It has made many special agreements for arbitration; it has many treaties which embody the spirit if not the terms of arbitration. Surely there must be some one thing on which it can make, not special and separate treaties with thirty different nations, but a common treaty with as many of them as possible. It would be an important step in widening the application of the principle.
To illustrate, the United States has many treaties of amity and commerce and other treaties and conventions that control its relations with separate nations. Perhaps it may denounce them when it will; but until that moment it stoutly maintains their sanctity. But the sanctity of a treaty is bound up in the interpretation of it by either of the parties. When each demands the right of arbitrary interpretation in the light of its own interests dangerous controversies may arise. Within limits, the more nations that are parties to the same treaty to attain an end of common and equal interest the more powerful is the sound world opinion that is brought to bear on each member.
Suppose that such a common treaty were concluded between the United States and all of the other important states, pledging themselves to arbitration or judicial procedure, as might be preferred, in case of an otherwise irreconcilable dispute between any two or more of them arising in the interpretation of any provision of a treaty or convention made between the disputants. Does this go beyond the principle accepted in many separate treaties? Would not its successful operation lead to an extension to all cases other than mere interpretations, and finally to those under any provision of international law accepted by both disputants? It is only in proportion as such agreements are made in common by the armed nations that there will be much hope of an effective limitation of their armaments.
The Locarno Treaty of Guarantee is a case in point. It is a five-power treaty of security to three of the signatories. Germany and Belgium, and also Germany and France, mutually undertake that they will in no case attack or invade each other or resort to war against each other. The necessary consequence of this agreement is their further one to settle by peaceful means questions of every kind which may arise between them. The treaty conceives of no method of peaceful settlement, in last resort, except arbitration or judicial decision. The security given by the treaty is in the agreement that all the other contracting parties shall give assistance against the one which resorts to war in violation of its pledge. Finally, it declares in advance of the act that the violator or aggressor will be the one which, refusing arbitration or judicial decision, resorts to war, or which, after accepting either, refuses compliance with the arbitral award or with the judicial decision. The functions of two of the contracting parties are those of guarantors of the agreements between the others. There are also certain conventions between Germany and other parties which are in effect parts of the Treaty of Guarantee and which define the method of arbitration to be followed.
The spirit of this treaty regards Germany as still the most probable disturber of the peace of Europe. But suppose some other nation should aspire to perform Germany's former rôle, and should direct its first move towards some other quarter. With Germany practically disarmed the real fear of other armed nations will cease to be of her and will be directed towards each other. What security does the Locarno Treaty give in such a case? It is a great step in the right direction, but to be really effective it must be widened in scope to give regional -- i.e., European -- security. For purposes of disarmament, partial security may be, practically, no security. If the other nations have no fear except of Germany, why should they not take advantage of her present spirit to make a common treaty of security to cover all the danger spots which still are a menace not only to the peace of Europe but of the world? Manifestly it should be the object of advocates of disarmament to work for more and wider Locarno pacts as necessary to the attainment of their hope.
The same general idea applies as to the scope of the jurisdiction of a World Court of Justice. The first result -- it is already becoming evident -- of the acceptance of such a court is the demand for a clearer statement and more formal and definite acceptance of the law which it is to apply. Those who object to the Court do so largely because of the insufficiency or vagueness in particular cases of so-called international law. In like case we would have the same objection to domestic law. If honest, this objection will disappear as rapidly as the civilized states (advised by the Commission now engaged in studying the problem), accept one and another definite law to govern their conduct in specific cases. But it will be no law if they reserve the right to reject it when the case arises. Therefore, acceptance of a World Court will soon bring the world face to face with the question: "Can and will it have even one single international statute to control its relations in one single important case?" To whatever extent it declines arbitration and the rule of law it must be prepared for the only alternative -- war.
Some object for the moment to judicial procedure for fear that it will solidify the alleged injustices of the Treaty of Versailles and other treaties that followed the World War. That war resulted in certain acts of justice and others of injustice. Does any one really believe that the former are likely to be converted into the latter by any action of a court? And how do they expect the latter to be converted into the former? By war? But war, which occasioned them, will certainly multiply them. When the last war came the frontiers of Europe represented the accumulated injustices of centuries of previous wars. Such of these as still exist may, it is barely possible, be corrected by the slow process of peaceful means. But to attempt it by war means the almost certain renewal of former injustices by the reabsorption of the smaller by the larger states. And if this is the only means to a desirable end both large and small states must remain armed.
It must be in the belief that some degree of security now exists, and still more that an increased degree is in sight, that the nations are now considering a Conference on general disarmament or the reduction and limitation of armaments. They are not ready to say that conditions are yet quite ripe. They hope that they may be so by the time the Preparatory Commission has completed its study and recommendations, which may take a year. That being done, they have provided that the Conference shall be called only "as soon as satisfactory conditions have been assured from the point of view of general security." The nearest approach to these conditions is to be found, first, in provisions of the Covenant of the League of Nations. In 1919 the proposed three-power treaty giving security to France had failed. The provisions of the Covenant were really little more than the acknowledgment of a principle and gave no accepted assurance in any particular case. To make them effective as a condition of general security the Draft Treaty of Mutual Assistance of 1923 was prepared. It failed. Then the Protocol of 1924 for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes was submitted to the world. It failed. Then came the Locarno Treaty of Mutual Assistance. It succeeded, -- because it was not general but specific and applying to one case. The world was not ready to assure satisfactory conditions of general security; but five powers were ready to assure it with respect to three of them.
How, then, achieve the more "satisfactory conditions" of general security, on the attainment of which, it seems, the disarmament conference must wait? Can any one suggest, as being reasonably probable, anything except a wider and wider extension of the Locarno pacts? And who is taking any step towards this end? Should not nations who propose a Conference continue the only steps they have been able to take towards the attainment of the satisfactory conditions on which the succcess of the Conference depends? There are some who think the United States could well take the lead; that it can do this because it has accepted the invitation of the other powers to join in the work of the Preparatory Commission; that it has reserved the right to participate in a Conference; that these powers themselves indicate that there can be no successful Conference until there is increased probability of security under more favorable general political conditions; that there can be no concrete evidence of such conditions except some solemn pact that will show to what further extent the nations are ready to give assurance of security by agreeing upon peaceful methods in substitution of war; and that, therefore, it has a right to know the real disposition of the nations of the League who send to it their invitation.
Many of the factors of the problem seem easy enough to solve on paper. Some very glibly propose that a beginning be made by reducing all military establishments by fifty percent, or by any other agreed percentage. But so long as the danger of war exists at all, -- as it does and will for an unknown time, -- we must answer the question, "What is the military value, for purposes of defense or offense, of any given percentage of an existing military establishment?" For each nation will say that its security must be guaranteed and that until some reliable substitute for force can be found it must guarantee its sovereignty by its own military power. It will say that its utmost attainable security is represented by its existing military establishment and that before it gives up any assumed percentage of this form of security it must know, with reasonable exactness, the value of the new form which is proposed, expressed in terms of the value of the percentage of its present military security, which it is proposed shall be taken away from it. And it will further say, and rightly, that there are countless elements which determine a nation's strength for war which may make a neighbor's weaker military establishment equal to its own, and an equal one of another neighbor much superior to its own.
It might be assumed that when nations realize that, despite all their efforts, their armed forces are unequal, they might accept an equal percentage of reduction, leaving their numerical inequalities in rifles, cannon, etc., the same as now. But nations A, B and C may say, "We are willing to reduce with respect to D, but we cannot do so with respect to E," and they may decline with respect to each other. Again, A may say, "B maintains a force of 400,000 men, and we 200,000, and we have no hope of overcoming this inequality. You propose that we reduce to 200,000 and 100,000, respectively. But with our present force we can guard for an indefinite time the approaches through our frontier, even against the enemy's superior force. If we reduce our force we can guard no point effectively and some points, perhaps, not at all -- which means our prompt defeat."
And so it is whenever any general principle is proposed to govern a general disarmament. Nations will readily reduce their forces in proportion as their fear of each other nation disappears. But among the large powers which have developed to the limit the system of competition in armaments, in which system lies the possible danger of another world war, each must disarm the spirit of fear towards all its competitors or little can be hoped. Otherwise, one nation may be willing to reduce with respect to a second; the second may be willing with respect to the first and refuse with respect to the third; and so it may go along the entire vicious line.
Perhaps the reader will think from what I have said that I mean a solution is impossible. Nothing is further from my mind. Beyond a doubt the world within recent years has begun to acquire a new spirit towards this problem of disarmament. It understands that it must make a beginning, however small, of finding the solution, -- an all important thing which it has never realized before. It will find that what it has done within the past seven years gives it a degree of security, increasing very slowly, which can presently be substituted for some slight but increasing percentage of its present military security.
It is interesting to note some of the limitations imposed by the probable agenda of the Conference, should it be held under present conditions.
What is disarmament? To ask the question reveals the gravity and the complexity of the problem. To a fanatical extremist it might mean at first sight the abolition of every agency that nations employ to attain their end in war. But great numbers of these things are the outgrowth of peaceful evolution; their manufacture and use are necessary, since man has once had them, for the orderly processes of life whether war exists or not. In short, the nation which is best organized for peace, which is the most abundantly supplied with the agencies which have come with civilization and on which that civilization largely depends, and with the facilities for the production of them and with men skilled in their use, is the one best organized for war. Modern war, war of the kind which alone to most people gives the problem of disarmament any special importance, would be quite impossible without commercial steamships, railroads, motor cars, factories of all kinds with their skilled workmen, telegraphs, telephones, radio, aeroplanes, laboratories for every kind of experiment and research, on all of which also depends pretty much everything that is useful or beautiful in human life. And it is this fact which makes the problem so difficult even for the most reasonable men.
Evidently, therefore, the advocate of disarmament must define his object so as to bring his problem within the limits of the possible. Let us ask in another form the question which I have already put. What is the thing believed to be capable of disarmament? In other words, what is armament? For the purposes of disarmament, I think that it is not only fair but exact to state that the term "armaments" includes only those agencies (including organized forces) for use on land and under it, on water and under it, and in the air, which are provided and maintained by a nation solely for the purpose of international war. In other words, we must exclude agencies which are necessary, or even only desirable, in peace. They cannot be abolished. At the most, attempts may be made to regulate their use, with the knowledge that the regulation is sure to go by the board under the stress of war.
Let us suppose that a disarmament conference of all nations were to meet under conditions which, while leaving the internal character and condition of each people as before, would give a guarantee against the possibility of any international war. Such a conference, it is fair to assume, would come to some agreement as to the armed forces required by each nation to maintain its internal peace and order, and would begin the reduction from their present status to that basis.
When the reduction had been completed one nation might have an infantry force, another a cavalry force, a third a combination of the two, varying in all of them according as extent of territory, size and character of populations and other conditions make one or another kind of force most suitable to preserve peace and order within the country. And here the common sense of a people, their desire to avoid an unnecessary burden, would -- if international fear were removed -- see to it that the force was not excessive. These forces would have, according to the circumstances of each case, machine guns, field artillery, aeroplanes. They would be prepared for the use of noxious gases which are already used for the same purpose by the police forces of various cities.
Of course under the condition assumed, namely, the absence of international fear (and under no other condition can we attain the degree of disarmament imagined in the foregoing lines), each nation would organize and equip its internal force to meet its own necessities and without objection from any other. The assumption, impracticable under present conditions, is made only to show that when a reduction of armaments is carried to the extremest limit in any nation, that nation will still have, in less quantity, the same kind of armament that it has now, excepting only such material as is provided solely for the purpose of international war; and that no other agency of that kind now used in war can be abolished so long as forces may have to be maintained for internal peace. The actual abolition of material would largely be limited to the forms of ordnance used in the bombardment of strongly fortified positions and in very long-range firing, as in the case of German guns which bombarded Paris from a great distance in the latter part of the recent war. The armament of this reduced force would be liable to change just as now. But this would not proceed with the feverish haste, energy and expense of to-day because the competitive element would be lacking. It is not to be supposed that a nation would permit organized bodies of its own people to compete with it in armament. The problem of disarmament on the sea, could there be a guarantee against international war, would be far simpler.
The size of armed personnel is, of course, one of the things subject to reduction and limitation. A Conference will find that, provided it is accompanied by a proportionate reduction of reserves of war material and facilities for its manufacture, it is about the only way to limit the ultimate war strength of a nation. The military personnel consists of the men with the colors and those who have passed through their term of training and have entered the ranks of civil life. There is a definite relation between the numbers of the latter class and the former. A reduction in the former, in nations which practise conscription, would slowly reduce the latter class. Otherwise than in this way, the numbers of trained men now in civil life in any country can be reduced only by the processes of age and disease. But their immediate effectiveness for war may be limited by a reduction in reserve material to put into their hands, and this would be a great gain for peace.
If a Conference attempts to determine a measurement of relative armaments, I think it will be found practicable only by a comparison of the numbers of trained men with the colors and in civil life and the amount of military equipment of every kind. It would lead to no useful result to discuss -- taking one question to illustrate many similar ones -- whether the men of one nation are better or poorer soldiers than those of another. No nation will reduce its armed forces or its equipment merely because it is believed that they are better than those of some other nation, -- a point which will be hotly contested and on which there would never be an agreement. Nor, to take another illustration, can military expenditures be accepted as a safe guide in the comparison of armaments. These depend in each nation upon the compensation which it is willing to give its soldiers, upon wages of civil labor, etc.
It may be suggested that a Conference make a distinction between offensive and purely defensive parts of national armament. If it should attempt to do this, it would probably find that a fortification without its armament is about the only purely defensive element. The armament of the fortification could be properly classed as defensive if it is immovable from its position, that is to say, cannot be sent with an army for use in its battles, trench warfare, sieges, etc. But even so it could not be so classed if the fortification is located in a manner to give its guns range over alien territory.
If the Conference attempts to determine whether a particular force of armed men is organized for purely defensive purposes, or otherwise, the points examined must include the extent to which its form is that of a military body, its armament and equipment, and its habitual use. A police force organized into companies and battalions on military lines and drilled and trained as such bodies of soldiers are, would certainly be liable to suspicion as to its ultimate use, regardless of its armament and equipment. In the case of police forces, rifle clubs, and other civilian organizations, the answer must be given after a commonsense consideration of the circumstances of each case. But it is always true that any organized body of skilled men can be more quickly converted from a purely defensive one into one for offense than an equal number of unorganized men.
It will be difficult for a Conference to draw up a mathematical scale for reduction except on the basis of existing peace strength, -- that is to say, the existing strength in trained personnel and its available stock of military armament and equipment. If it attempts to take into account such elements as national resources, geographic situation, vulnerability of frontiers, etc., etc., each nation will say that its existing military establishment and preparation for war results (to the extent of its ability) from taking into account all of these and many other factors. That being the case, if a reduction is to be effected on a certain scale, it must be one based on present conditions. Otherwise, A, B and C may say, "It is possible that we can still further develop our organized strength; you must wait until we have completed this before a fair scale of proportionate reduction can be made."
A reduction in aircraft specially designed and made for military purposes could be effected as easily as could a reduction in any other class of material, provided a scale can be agreed upon for any of them. It is probable, however, that all civil aircraft could be used for some direct or indirect military purpose in time of war. Probably not even those that could be converted would equal aircraft specially designed for military use. But there will soon be civil aircraft of great carrying capacity, both for passengers and freight, that will be very valuable in war for transportation purposes. They will be, as it were, motor cars and railway trains in the air. If an attempt is made to determine the equivalent value in a military sense of different classes of civil aircraft a Conference would probably have to rate them as of the same military value as machines specially designed for war, because of the difficulty of agreeing on any other equivalence. The question illustrates what has been said before that the nation which is best organized for peace is the best organized for war. Its railroads, ships of commerce, chemical and research laboratories, etc., will be invaluable for war. They can neither be reduced nor limited. No progressive nation will allow itself to be penalized because of its progress in peaceful pursuits. All of these possible agencies are used in war and make it more and more formidable. But the thing that will first of all and most of all count in maintenance of peace is the reduction and limitation of agencies directly and immediately provided and used for international war. Admitting that civilian aircraft can be used for war, the most that can be hoped for is that nations may agree to limit those specially designed for war, but it will be with the understanding that they have all that they can manufacture and actually use in activities of peace.
After what I have said, it is not necessary to emphasize the fact that the problem of disarmament -- meaning a reduction and limitation of armaments -- is the very slipperiest of all slippery problems to take firm hold of. No one can realize its difficulty until he attempts to approach its solution in any really constructive way.
Many people are impatient at the suggestion of delay. They think that the solution is as easy as to ask and answer the question, "What is the sum of ten units?". But we are dealing with national mentalities, whose energy will for a time be quite exhausted when they have added two units. It will be an indefinite time before they get ten. But they will get, if they only begin, nearer and nearer to it. The real problem is to begin to add.
My own opinion is that for the present the most practicable thing to work for is regional limitation and reduction growing out of increasing regional security. Every such step will be in the direction of general disarmament. And as a matter of fact, if a very few great nations could begin some reduction in that part of their military establishments which is admittedly maintained with an eye to their near neighbors, without concerning themselves with what the many small nations are willing to do, the problem of disarmament would be a long step foward on the way to solution.
Even under present political conditions a Conference meeting in the new spirit which is beginning to influence the world can be hoped to accomplish much. Nevertheless the fact remains that disarmament will proceed only as peaceful methods for settling disputes are substituted for war. In proportion as that is not done nations will fear war and prepare for it. The advocates of disarmament can do no more effective work than in helping in the world movement, slowly gathering volume and momentum, towards what, in the last resort, are the only peaceful substitutes for war -- pledged arbitration and judicial procedure.