Haiti: Intervention in Operation

Courtesy Reuters

NO one would have confidence in an aviator who maintained that to fly across the ocean to Paris all he needed to do was to start in that direction with a sincere desire to attain his goal. Everyone knows that, in the actual flying, he must reckon upon meeting cross-winds which may imperceptibly carry him far off his course. The man who started any important flight without an indicator to detect drift, so that he might correct for it constantly, might be called almost anything except a hypocrite.

In the conflict over American intervention before, at, and since the Sixth Pan America Conference at Havana, this lesson seems to have been entirely lost. Our spokesmen continually emphasize that our goal in intervention is never imperialism, but duty tinctured with benevolence. Strong in the knowledge (which every detached observer must admit), that the people of the United States have no imperialistic aims, they conclude, as Mr. Hughes did recently, that suspicion of our motives in intervention is "fantastic." Our Latin American and other critics are equally strong in the knowledge (which every detached observer must also admit) that our intervention, in practice, does show a strong tendency toward economic and even political imperialism. And they conclude that if we are bearing toward that goal it is because we are really aiming at it, and that our assertions to the contrary merely compound our sins with hypocrisy.

Apparently it has occurred to neither side to make allowances for drift. Specifically, we have not realized that our machinery ought to be provided with an indicator to reveal at once any tendency to deviate from the allotted course, nor have we studied what sort of instrument it should be. Such a study seems the more necessary since Mr. Hughes, in stating that the right of intervention was one that the United States could not sacrifice, made it plain that we must at any rate be prepared for further intervention flights in Latin America.

Intervention as

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