Courtesy Reuters

American Foreign Policy in a Nationalistic World


On the occasion of the address by the Honorable William E. Borah, United States Senator from Idaho, before the Council on Foreign Relations, New York, January 8, 1934.

Norman H. Davis

THIS age in which we are living is more remarkable and more interesting in many respects than any preceding period of history. Never before has there been such progress in science and industry, such a vast increase in material wealth, or such a high level of general education. And yet, in spite of this, the world is today in an exceedingly unsettled condition economically, socially, psychologically and politically. The depression, which began over three years ago, and from which there are now promising evidences of recovery, was international in origin and no nation escaped from its effects. It brought home to us the fact that the nations have become so interdependent that what happens in one or more countries affects the others. Since many of the troubles in various nations today are mainly international in origin and scope, and since the interdependence of nations has become so complete that isolation is no longer possible or desirable, it is somewhat difficult to account for the wave of intense nationalism that has been sweeping the world.

Fear is, of course, the chief cause of extreme nationalism and the chief obstacle to a solution of some of the difficulties that now confront us. All nations are seeking security, not only of life but of livelihood. As a result there is a growing tendency on the part of every country to divorce itself from external ties and influences and to seek its salvation independently of its neighbors if not, indeed, at their expense. If this tendency continues to grow as at present, it will, I fear, not only create new problems but make more difficult the solution of some of the old ones.

In facing the situation that exists today, it does us no good to look back regretfully and long for the good

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