NOW that the smoke of the verbal battles between the Russian and the non-Russian participants in the last two international conferences has lifted, we can begin to estimate what results have been attained by the many weeks of earnest, not to say acrimonious, discussion between the representatives of assembled Europe. Few will deny that these results have been meagre compared with the hopes entertained at the outset. Some will even declare that no progress whatever towards a reconstruction of the world has come from these meetings of "best minds." Others will take a rosier view, but it is too early yet to reach many definite conclusions about questions with such intricate and far reaching ramifications. We can only distinguish certain immediate and obvious phenomena.
One of these is that there has been a clearing of the atmosphere. Europe may feel no nearer to seeing her way out of her difficulties, but she knows better where she stands and what are the circumstances with which she has to deal. This is particularly true in regard to Russia, the great mystery of the last four years. The Soviet republic has come out of its seclusion, it has shown itself willing, nay eager, to talk with other states. As yet it has been officially recognized by but few, but it has reassumed a position in the concert of the powers whether the others like it or not. Its present standing, its attitude and aims, should be clearly understood, for Russia is too large a part of the world to be ignored with impunity.
When in October last Chicherin sent out his first note proposing an international conference on Russian affairs and offering as a quid pro quo for assistance the recognition of Russian pre-war debts, not many people realized just what were the situation and reasoning of the Soviet Government. Their overture was generally regarded as the appeal of a hopeless bankrupt forced at last by desperate necessity to recognize the error of his
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