The Downside of Imperial Collapse
When Empires or Great Powers Fall, Chaos and War Rise
METHODS of keeping peace in a world threatened with war are again the subject of debate, and opinions differ as to whether new developments have brought us nearer to peace or to war. Sir Winston Churchill's suggestion, in his speech on foreign policy in the House of Commons on May 11, 1953, that the application of the Locarno idea might be suitable in the situation that would follow a truce in Korea and a change of mood in Russia, met what seemed to be a quick rebuff in an editorial in Pravda.
Sir Winston had said:
We all desire that the Russian people should take the high place in world affairs which is their due, without feeling anxiety about their security. I do not believe that the immense problem of reconciling the security of Russia with the freedom and safety of Western Europe is insoluble. Indeed, if the United Nations Organization had the authority and character for which its creators hoped, it would be solved already . . . .
The Locarno Treaty of 1925 was in my mind. It was the highest point reached between the wars . . . it was based upon the simple provision that if Germany attacked France we should stand with the French, and if France attacked Germany we should stand with the Germans. The scene today, its scale and its factors, is widely different and yet I have a feeling that the master thought which animated Locarno might well play its part between Germany and Russia in the minds of those whose prime ambition it is to consolidate the peace of Europe as the key to the peace of mankind.
Pravda's reply of May 24 branded the word Locarno "notorious," and the Locarno policy as "one of the important factors which prepared the Second World War." It was so, the editorial declared, because "while restricting the freedom of action for Germany in the West, it gave her freedom of action in the East, thus directing German aggression toward the U.S.S.R." On the record, that is to say, Locarno is a bad word--and the Russians wished to keep the record straight.
But the substance of Pravda's argument, and the cordiality displayed toward the British Prime Minister (in distinction to the contempt for "Eisenhower's new speech") make it a reasonable surmise that Pravda's objection to the British Prime Minister's hint stopped at the word and did not necessarily extend to the thing. The writer of the editorial was obviously interested not in the agreement of 1925, but in a "new agreement" in 1953, toward which Sir Winston had taken the initiative. And the point of the argument was that such an agreement must meet certain conditions. "While speaking of Locarno, Churchill did not say a word about the reconstruction of Germany's unity, which is of decisive importance not only for Germany herself but also for the cause of safeguarding the security of Europe and the whole world."
The preconditions of a new agreement, Pravda suggested, are the end of the Bonn Government, the end of plans for creating a European Army, the reorientation of German trade and "national culture," and an acceptance of the Soviet conception of the Yalta and Potsdam documents. An end to Western recalcitrance toward Austria and toward the "great Chinese Republic" was also mentioned: in short, the old conditions for a "real settlement"--Stalin's conditions (another unsavory word, tactfully omitted). Given such a settlement, the Soviet attitude toward the applicability of a "Locarno" system--namely, a series of restricted pacts which would freeze the Western borders of the Soviet Empire while leaving the Far Eastern situation open--might reasonably be expected to grow more receptive.
Further discussion of these conditions is to come, and Sir Winston will assuredly have forceful thoughts to communicate about them. But though these need not be anticipated, some review of the Locarno idea in its original setting seems relevant at this moment, for Locarno signalized the decisive shift in British policy from the League system of collective security to a policy of "limited risks" in the inter-war years. A similar decision has now apparently been taken by the British Government. Indeed, the British view was outlined to Americans by Sir Gladwyn Jebb, Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom to the United Nations, in his address at Syracuse University a year and a half ago (March 25, 1952).
"Undertakings cheerfully assumed in the optimism which followed the conclusion of the War took on a graver aspect when it became apparent that they might actually have to be fulfilled," notes the historian G. M. Gathorne-Hardy drily, in a sentence which sums up the diplomatic activities of the six-year period which culminated in the Treaty of Locarno.[i] That there should be second thoughts was wise, for the Versailles Conference had left much unfinished business. The failure of the United States, and hence of Britain, to ratify the Three-Power Guarantee Pact with France, signed by Wilson, Lloyd George and Clemenceau in June 1919, was in French eyes the most significant of these items. France at once took the best substitute she could get--a treaty with Poland, in 1921. It represented an accurate estimate of the danger which confronted her, and the first tracing of a strategic design which might meet it, if resolutely developed.
Britain rested her policy on the Covenant of the League. But what, precisely, did that commit her to? The Covenant contained provisions whereby states promised to use peaceful means to settle conflicts, but it did not make obligatory a forceful settlement of a war; it prohibited some wars, but not all. Did it, France asked, at Cannes in 1922 and again at Geneva in 1922, commit Britain to military action in event of German aggression? Lloyd George was willing to say that Britain would guarantee armed assistance to France if a German army crossed the French frontier. But would Britain, Poincaré persisted, invest in a structure of security built on two walls of foundation, either under the League or outside it? Would she, in plain words, guarantee eastern frontiers also, and with them, as the practical requisite for the exercise of any military power by the western states in Eastern Europe, underwrite in explicit terms the provisions of the Covenant (Articles 42 and 43) demilitarizing the Rhineland? Here were real risks, and less than perfect justice: the Polish Corridor, Upper Silesia, the future status of Germany. Lord Curzon said "no." France occupied the Rhineland.
This was a crisis for the League system of collective security, and, if not surmounted, meant also the end of any rational hope of disarmament. But the League was, in fact, deeply supported in Britain, and after a general election the new MacDonald Government took the problem to Geneva. The Draft Treaty of Mutual Security, which was based on the principle that a general guarantee of military aid for victims of aggression was the indispensable precondition for reduction of national armaments, and which attempted, farsightedly if somewhat awkwardly, to utilize regional alliances to enforce League decisions, did not come to fruition. But it pointed the way. It put the horse in the shafts of the cart. The question was the will and sense of direction of the driver. The Geneva "Protocol for the Peaceful Settlement of International Disputes," drafted by a committee of the Assembly under the chairmanship of Edward Beneš, gave the clearest answer that the 40-year effort to construct a workable international organization for safeguarding the peace of the world has as yet produced.
The Protocol was designed in every particular to reinforce the Covenant, and to reinforce it where, if a world organization is to be a help and not a hindrance in the task of curbing warlike states, its strength must be centered--namely, in its readiness to fight. It made the obligations of League members precise. Paragraph one of Article 10 read:
Every state which resorts to war in violation of the undertakings contained in the Covenant or in the present Protocol is an aggressor. Violation of the rules laid down for a demilitarized zone shall be held equivalent to resort to war.
And every Signatory obligated itself to respond to the call of the Council "in resistance to any act of aggression" with both economic and military assistance. The obligation to coöperate "loyally and effectively" in defeating aggression applied not on one side of Europe only, or on one side of the world only, but everywhere. The original articles of the Covenant may or may not have been susceptible to such an interpretation. The Protocol was plain.
On this foundation, the proposed annex to the Covenant developed procedures for arbitration and disarmament, and, most interestingly in retrospect, gave a firm answer to the problem of the relationship of regional alliances to the larger and more cumbrous parental organization. It did so reasonably enough by giving the parental organization authority. It entitled the Council of the League to receive undertakings determining "in advance" the military, naval and air forces which they would bring into action against an aggressor. It empowered the Council to call upon the states which signed the Protocol to apply all kinds of sanctions "immediately." It granted them rights of a belligerent. But since effective military planning would be difficult or impossible within an organization of 50 or 60 states, the Protocol also accepted the necessity for more particular alliances and gave them an explicit rôle. When the Council had called for sanctions, the signatories of the Protocol were authorized to aid the victim of aggression with "their" military, naval and air forces, "in accordance with any agreements which they may previously have concluded." Every member of the League could sign the Protocol if it wanted to.
No one at the time supposed that all the particulars were in finished form; there were obvious flaws in the arrangements for arbitration, for instance. And, of course, among these guarantees, there was none, and could be none, which made certain that had the annex been ratified, the states whose representatives put their signatures to it would, in fact, "loyally and effectively" have kept their promise. The sharp point of these words was simply this: that if there was going to be talk of collective security based on a Covenant, this was what it meant.
Geneva came to life. At the opening debate of the Assembly, from which resulted the resolution on which the Protocol was built, wrote P. J. Noel Baker:[ii] "There were seventeen speakers. Four of them were Prime Ministers in power, including the Prime Ministers of Great Britain and France. Four of them were Ministers of Foreign Affairs in power. Two others were Cabinet Ministers of highest rank. Two were ex-Prime Ministers, two others were ex-Ministers of Foreign Affairs--all recently in power, likely to come to power again, and speaking by instructions and in the name of their governments at home." The Protocol was signed by representatives of 17 governments and ratified at once by one country--Czechoslovakia.
But the telling acknowledgment of its merit was, alas, a left-handed one. The commitment was too precise for the British Government. In a speech at Geneva a few months later--March 1925 --Austen Chamberlain, Secretary for Foreign Affairs, destroyed it with one stinging blow. Why? The Dominions were against it, Canada in particular. ("We live in a fireproof house, far from inflammable materials," Prime Minister Mackenzie King's delegate had said.) A new government had come to power in Britain, with Stanley Baldwin as Prime Minister and Winston Churchill suddenly in his father's great office, Secretary of the Exchequer. Lord Balfour was said to be full of doubt. The principle of arbitration was stretched too broadly; in view of the extent of the British Empire the obligations were too great. "The fresh emphasis laid upon sanctions, the new occasions discovered for their employment, the elaboration of military procedure, insensibly suggest that the vital business of the League is not so much to promote friendly coöperation and reasoned harmony in the man- agement of international affairs as to preserve peace by organizing war," the British Foreign Secretary said. More concretely, the British Government made plain that Eastern Europe was not an area of vital interest to Britain. Six years later, Sir Austen stated the general principle thus: "Only in the case where her interests are immediately at stake and where her own safety must be directly affected by the result of any changes has Great Britain ever consented to bind herself beforehand to specific engagements on the Continent of Europe."[iii]
The British decision of 1925 was frank and final. Prime Minister Herriot pled and protested in a ringing speech; but to no avail. As an instrument of collective security the League was dead. What results the League would achieve in its alternative rôle as an instrument of mediation and conciliation, for which the British Foreign Secretary explicitly cast it, remained to be seen.
What was to take the place of the Protocol quickly emerged. The German Government had already three times proposed restricted agreements covering the Western frontiers, and at the suggestion of Lord D'Abernon, British Ambassador in Berlin, the suggestion was made once more. Briand came to office in France, the representatives of the Powers met in the sunshine of Locarno, and, with the decision to turn their backs to the distant clouds, rejoiced to see only clear skies. Chief among the set of documents comprising the Pact of Locarno was the treaty guaranteeing the Franco-German and German-Belgian boundaries. This was signed by Germany, Belgium, France, Great Britain and Italy. There were also various arbitration arrangements: between Germany and Belgium, between Germany and France, between Poland and Germany, and between Germany and Czechoslovakia; and France took the opportunity to conclude treaties of mutual assistance with Poland and with Czechoslovakia. These were bilateral agreements. France was active in all; Britain in none. They built a house of paper.
That the public should have taken this as assuaging the ancient feud between France and Germany is perhaps not surprising, since everyone immediately concerned in Europe thought best to proclaim it. But that, even though it brought Germany into the League, it should have been hailed as "strengthening the League" seems extraordinary. Three moves on the chessboard of international politics followed from it at once: Belgium moved toward neutrality, Italy moved toward Germany (Mussolini had no illusions about what it had done to the League and to the balance of forces on the Continent) and, inexorably and terribly, Britain and France were put in the position of antagonists for the next ten years.
The instrument for pressing the quarrel between the two Powers whose unity could have maintained peace and whose disunity made certain another settlement of the German problem on the battlefield was the question of disarmament. On the assumptions of Locarno the logic of pacifism was irrefutable. How could "assuagement" proceed save by the elevation of Germany to "equality?" And what could that mean save the disarming of France? No more efficient instrument for the destruction of France and Germany both could have been devised than this settlement which paralyzed the one and offered every reward to the leader most capable of clandestine manœuvre in the other.
The League of Nations was master of ceremonies in the act of conciliation played out from 1925 to 1939. The reader may be spared the repetition of the dialogue in the successive disarmament conferences, for which the cues are so familiar--"security," "equality," "defense;" "war potential," "trained reserves," "total tonnage;" "limitations by categories," "limitations by ratios," "the immediate abolition of all armaments." The last was Litvinov's clever joke. But the bitter jest was that during the period of Germany's secret (or, rather, unavowed) rearmament, the logic of Britain's policy of limited risks made both herself, and the League of Nations in which she was the guiding spirit, the implicit ally of their then most dangerous enemy, and for practical purposes the enemy of their indispensable friend. Any British support for France's position in these abortive disarmament conferences was hailed--by Lord Lothian, for example--as contrary to the spirit of Locarno. And with the Naval Agreement of 1935, a British-German front against France became overt.
But that was near the end of the road for Locarno. French attempts to arrange an "Eastern Locarno" in 1934, to which the Soviet Union would be a party, had been greeted with disdain by the Third Reich, whose Eastern ambitions, growing on what they had been fed, now ran far beyond the earlier prize of the Successor States of Central Europe. France, however, had obtained (for what it might be worth) a treaty of mutual assistance with the Soviet Union, to which was appended the famous supplementary treaty between Russia and Czechoslovakia, whereby the U.S.S.R. promised to aid the Czechs in the event of German attack, if France first intervened actively in their behalf. Using the Franco-Soviet accord as a pretext, Hitler sent his troops into the Rhineland March 7, 1936, and declared the Locarno Pact ended.
Even Locarno had provided for this contingency, in words not as plain as those of the Protocol of 1924, but in the citation of Articles 42 and 43 of the Covenant. But ten years of paralysis seldom yield to health and vigor in an afternoon. France remained where Hitler, truly an expert in pathology, had foreseen she would remain--behind her growing Maginot Line. Mr. Churchill was outraged; but he had been out of office some years now, and Stanley Baldwin was quite sure that he could do without his help this time. Democracy's last and greatest resource--the ability of worried men to speak their minds--began to be summoned; and there were plain speakers in Britain besides her greatest warrior.
But this process, too, takes time. When, at length, the argument had fully retraced itself and arrived again at the issue of 1924--the guarantee for the Polish frontier--the issue was faced and the guarantee given by the British Government. But meanwhile Hitler had fortified the Rhineland. There was no way in which Britain and France could bring help to Poland in September 1939, and the pledge bravely redeemed was useless. The final verdict on the pretense of 1925 that Germany and France were equally likely aggressors was rendered in June 1940.
The question of the suitability of a Locarno arrangement today for coping with the problem offered by the Communist bloc has two major aspects: first, whether a guarantee of the European boundaries of the U.S.S.R. would help induce the change in Russia which Western policy must seek to promote; and second, the effect that adoption of a policy of limited risk (the obverse of the Locarno coin) would have on the policy of collective security which the U.N. fought in Korea to vindicate.
Seven years after the Second World War the scale and factors are different, as Sir Winston says. Whether we conclude that a tightening of pressure, or a relaxation of pressure, will speed a bona fide change in the régime in the Soviet Union depends on the reading of the whole complex problem of Communist dictatorship. Perhaps, in the final analysis, it depends on the extent to which Soviet domestic objectives have changed, since it is the severity of internal discipline which seems to create the need for foreign devils. Thought of a Western guarantee of Soviet frontiers in Europe assumes, of course, that European boundaries worth guaranteeing have been established. Whether in this event it would be wise to base an arrangement on the assumption that the Soviet Government and the government of a unified Germany were equally likely aggressors offers too speculative a situation for analysis. Certainly the West would not care to guarantee the frontiers of a German Communist régime. The revival of Locarno reasoning has been especially welcomed by those who cling to the hope of a neutral Germany. And this seems also to correspond with the outlines of Pravda's conditions: the old conditions.
However this may be, the effect of such a policy on the United Nations, and on collective security, is clear as the morning sun. In 1953, as in 1925, a Locarno system would be explicitly intended to replace the system of collective security under Paragraph 1, Article 1, Chapter I of the Charter of the United Nations. A theoretical groundwork for this shift in policy was developed by Sir Gladwyn Jebb early in 1952, and recapitulated a year later.[iv] Much foreshortened, it runs as follows:
The United Nations is not a world government and is not likely to be for a long time. We must deal with it as it is. Executive functions in the Security Council are paralyzed by the veto; and military planning under the Assembly is almost insuperably difficult. If persisted in, it would wreck the world organization, not only because it would drive out the members it was planning against (the Communist states) but also the members of the "middle" Arab-Asian bloc, who would conclude that the Western Powers were more interested in organizing World War III than in preventing it. These things being so, the proper function of the United Nations is not the enforcement of peace, but the negotiation of settlements, especially settlements of such wars as do break out, in order that they may be kept from spreading into world wars. Thus the U.N. can use its moral power. Its most useful function is that of "safety valve."
The primary function of the United Nations, at any rate until such time as it becomes something much nearer to a world government than it now is, lies, therefore, I suggest, much more in the direction of avoiding war than in waging it. The United Nations should not abandon this primary function of conciliation in favor of concentrating on the very specialised tasks for which the collective self-defense and regional organizations, provided for as they are under the Charter, were designed. If the United Nations attempted to do this, that is to say if it laid too great emphasis on what can be done by means of collective security at the present time at the expense of conciliation, the result would I am sure be to put such a strain on the organization that it would almost certainly fall to pieces in the process.[v]
In short, the "quite distinct rôle" of "pacific settlement" has become "more important from a practical point of view." If there must be resistance to Soviet aggression, NATO--or regional agencies like it--will shoulder the task. In that event, the Assembly would probably support some recommendatory resolution.
In his supplementary exposition of the policy, Sir Gladwyn spelled out this last idea carefully. It goes to the heart of the matter. If aggression should take place in the area covered by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, for example, collective self-defense obligations would, he noted, immediately come into play and war would result; "but the question would at once be taken up in the Security Council, and if there was any obstruction by, for instance, the Soviet representative, it would within a very short period be referred to the General Assembly which, in accordance with the admirable 'Uniting for Peace' resolution, can now be summoned within 24 hours." We should hope that any victims of aggression would be able to secure a resolution recommending all good Members of the United Nations to give them such aid and support as they could. This would be only a recommendation but, more especially if it were passed by a large majority, "it would have a real moral value and might well have the result that states other than those covered by the obligations of the Article 51 organisation concerned would enter the struggle in a physical sense."
Other states, he continued, might at least be induced, in accordance with the "collective measures" procedures already devised by the General Assembly, to assist in ways not involving the dispatch of armed forces to the spot. Moreover, a majority of the Assembly could indicate that in its view one or more member states should organize the campaign against the aggressor, and the United Nations High Command so established would be authorized to make use of the United Nations flag. "All this, as I say," concludes Sir Gladwyn, "would be valuable provided we realise that it is not possible in the United Nations to go beyond general planning for defense against aggression from any quarter and with no definite aggressor named. For (I repeat) strategic planning against specific aggression can be done only by regional or collective self-defense organizations."
As a theoretical exposition of the proper relationship of the parent organization to its enforcement arm--the regional alliance --this is most interesting. For the impeccable logic of the argument has defined that relationship precisely as the Geneva Protocol of 1924 sought to construct it. This is exactly the relation that the parent organization was to have to its subsidiary police agency; and the relation that, in a Rhineland crisis of the future, the U.N. would almost certainly occupy. At the crisis, the over-all organization--the final repository of the moral authority of the world--would, that is to say, take the driver's seat. Having been thrust out of the window, it would march back through the open door, quite as Sir Gladwyn has thus marched it. NATO in the West, or a Pacific "NATO" in the East, would seek the recommendatory word of the Assembly of the United Nations; action taken would gain its moral justification from the one existing organ of world opinion; the allied nations would use its flag and act in its name.
But suppose when a Polish or German or Korean or Japanese "Rhineland" guarantee was violated, the General Assembly of the U.N. passed a condemnatory resolution upon the gathering police forces? Or suppose it simply said "whoa?" And is that not almost unquestionably what the Assembly of the United Nations would say, if it had been taught over a period of years that its more important function--a function quite distinct from, and obviously the opposite of, the "general planning for defense"--was pacific settlement? After Locarno and its policy of limited risk, the League of Nations existed simply to say "whoa." For the League itself was not dead after Locarno. Only its function as an agency of collective security had been annihilated. Three times the question of action against aggression was brought before the League in the middle thirties--once after Mussolini had invaded Abyssinia, once after Hitler had announced the intention to rearm in violation of the Treaty of Versailles, and once after he had violated the provisions both of the Treaty of Versailles and the Treaty of Locarno in regard to the demilitarization of the Rhineland. And each time the League performed the rôle for which the policy of limited risk had redesigned it in 1925. It spread the velvet carpet for retreat. To refer a proposal for enforcement action to the League meant the ceremonious interment of the faint impulse toward resistance. And the organization was deliberately thus used by those who wished to avoid action.
For the world organization to carry the process of preparing defense against a likely aggressor as far as possible and then, if need be, to turn the task over to its enforcement arm with will and sense of direction unimpaired is one thing; to condition it to look in the opposite direction indeed leads to a distinctly different result. It leads to Munich.
The probable answer to the riddle of these British approaches to a new policy is, fortunately, less alarming a problem than that, though problem enough. Britain and the Commonwealth have stayed with us through the confusions of our Korean leadership --a war fought in an area where they had no immediate interests. That is the hardest thing on earth for a parliamentary nation to do. And plainly Britain hopes not to repeat the experience. For the fact is that Britain's interest and America's interest diverge in Asia. Britain approaches that vast land from the southwest--and reaches India. We approach from the northeast--and reach China (or, further north, come upon our near neighbor, the Soviet Union, 100 miles across the Bering Strait).[vi] There is no reason to believe that Britain wishes to avoid action everywhere in Asia in the event of future Communist aggression. On the contrary, she begs to remind us that there is a great danger of Communist aggression in Southeast Asia, and she wishes to protect her immediate interests there.
The system of overlapping regional alliances that a Locarno policy would substitute for the United Nations system of collective security is designed to do so. And this, as we know, has always been Sir Winston's picture of the most useful scheme of international organization. That it would meet particular British needs in certain respects must be considered a feature that recommends it to us, for it is to our advantage in entering into any security system to provide our strongest ally with every possible inducement for maintaining it. Under a Locarno system of 1953, a line in Europe would be held. A line in Southeast Asia would be held. The rest of Asia would presumably be open--with perhaps a "Rhineland" guarantee to neutralize certain areas.
Britain could expect that such an arrangement would to some extent open China's trade to her--not the primary consideration for her, but a most desirable objective. More importantly, it would please India and draw her more firmly into the Commonwealth--an intangible interest yet the overriding one for Britain in the Far East. It would mean the end of what many in Britain have felt was a policy of American adventure--or, at any rate, of quixotic involvement--in Asia, which they have feared would pull them unnecessarily into a world war. As direct partner in the defense of our Pacific Ocean frontier, she would feel that she was in a better position to exercise a restraining influence upon us, especially since with the abandonment of the principle of collective security, the United Nations would become a force for conciliation in Asia, not a focus of resistance. The removal of pressure upon Communist activity in Northeast Asia would increase the resources for maintaining it in Southeast Asia and Europe.
The conflict of interests in all this can be argued rationally and amicably. And plainly, there is much here that would be found congenial to the conception of basic American interests held by influential Americans. Mr. Hoover seems to have much the same picture of what constitutes a realistic policy of defense for the United States. Sea and air power would guard our ocean frontier in the Pacific; and with Britain assuming the leadership of the European regional organization as a result of the guarantee of European boundaries, the possibility of withdrawal of American troops from Europe would become greater. There, too, our frontier would be off the shore of the Continent. And for both British and American exponents of this policy, the collapse of United Nations' efforts to enforce peace would be a blessed relief from nerve-wracking complications.
But the price that may be exacted for this surcease should not be minimized. In such a system of overlapping alliances supposedly covering the world with a guarantee of defense, the decision to "hold" or to "give" in any particular crisis is in the hands of the Power which can shift position most quickly. In the pastoral society of the eighteenth century, Britain could exercise this balance of power upon the Continent; and in the seaman's world of the nineteenth century she exercised it to the great advantage of all. But in the twentieth century the system failed twice when Germany was the aggressive Great Power. It could be expected to fail a third time against the Soviets. For in one important particular the position of Germany in the inter-war years and the Soviet Union today are the same. In respect to the political and military forces of 1925, Germany was then the Central Power, not only figuratively but in the most literal sense. She is no longer. The center has moved a thousand miles east. Today the Soviet Union is the Central Power. But a system of overlapping rings has no center. That is why its members can be picked off one by one, and why a United Nations was organized. Under a new Locarno policy, the U.N. would be designed to put the decision to "hold" or to "give" against aggression into the hands of the "Arab-Asian middle states"--in practice, India's.
Against the threat of aggression by an expansive-minded Central Power, there is a fundamental rule for keeping the peace--the one laid down by the most farseeing strategist of this century, Sir Halford J. Mackinder: in plain terms, to face aggression with the certainty of a two-front war. But if a world organization exists primarily to conciliate, its influence will be used on the side of an expanding Power. That is the lesson of the League and of Locarno. Whether it is to be the lesson of the past two years in Korea is still unclear.
In the twentieth century, a world organization of nations seems hard to abolish and very likely to be used. Imperfect, unfinished, exasperating though it is, it is the court of last resort. The genie has been let loose from the bottle. Nor was it Woodrow Wilson who let him loose. It was Orville Wright with his flying machine, and Marconi with his wireless, and Bell with his telephone, and Bessemer with his steel, and Stephenson with his locomotive, and Arkwright with his spinning jenney; perhaps it was Ben Franklin with his kite. If we do not learn to ride these new forces which have swept us together, they will drive us. Like it or not, the center of world gravity lies in those towering buildings on the shore of the East River. It is there in our time that the struggle for power--for freedom and peace--will be decided.
[i] "A Short History of International Affairs 1920-1939," by G. M. Gathorne-Hardy. London: Oxford University Press, 1950 (Fourth Edition).
[ii] "The Geneva Protocol," by P. J. Noel Baker. London: P. S. King and Son, 1925.
[iii] "The Permanent Bases of British Foreign Policy," by Sir Austen Chamberlain. Foreign Affairs, July 1931.
[iv] "The Free World and the U.N.," Foreign Affairs, April 1953. Sir Gladwyn Jebb warned that so complex a subject could not be justly dealt with in a brief article; but stated also that he had "some reason to believe that so far as the United Kingdom is concerned, the general line . . . will be one which will be generally acceptable." Subsequent discussion in the British press leaves no doubt of this. And Sir Gladwyn's views carry particular authority with Americans, who know how skillfully he has championed the United States against frenetic Soviet talk in the U.N.
[v] Address at Syracuse University, March 25, 1952.
[vi]cf. "Will Britain and America Split in Asia?," by G. F. Hudson. Foreign Affairs, July 1953.