Courtesy Reuters

The Changing Balance of Forces in the Pacific

BROADLY speaking, there are only two views of the Far Eastern situation. There is the view of those who regard it as completely beyond any peaceful remedy. They are the defeatists. But there are still a few optimists who hold the view that recent changes in the balance of power in the Pacific may yet provide far-sighted and constructive statesmanship with an opportunity of devising some kind of peaceful adjustment. I shall try to state in the following pages the reasons for my being one of these optimistic few.

Many believe that there is no longer any balance of power in the Far East, that there is only the supremacy of one nation -- Japan. They believe that the semblance of international equilibrium and order which obtained during the period of the Washington Treaties (1921-31) was ruthlessly and irrevocably destroyed by the acts of Japan beginning in September 1931. They believe that where one Power is in a position of such absolute preponderance, and where that Power happens to be intoxicated with the successes it has met with in carrying through an apparently irresistible program of militaristic expansion, there cannot be any remedy or modification of the situation without an international war.

From such a major premise only defeatist conclusions can be drawn: either the Powers of Europe and America must acknowledge their helplessness in this situation, and each of them plan to withdraw the commercial and financial interests of its nationals from the Far East in order to avoid a possible conflict; or they must appease the predominant Power by sacrificing all principles of international justice and the sanctity of treaty obligations in order to retain a minimum share in the spoils; or each must go on with its military and naval preparations in anticipation of an inevitable clash in the not-too-distant future.

Such seemed to be the state of mind prevailing at the round table discussions of the Institute of Pacific Relations in which I participated last summer. Shortly after

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