Courtesy Reuters

Nationalism and American Trade

"SO THINGS are getting back to a wholesome state again," wrote Canning in 1823. "Every nation for itself and God for us all. The time for Areopagus and the like of that is gone by." Canning called the turn correctly. The pious aspirations of the Tsar of Russia -- "this Holy Alliance" -- had been treated by Metternich as a "loud-sounding nothing," by Castlereagh as a "piece of sublime mysticism and nonsense." Even that other pact, the Grand Alliance itself, specific in its obligations and definite in its aim to keep the peace and maintain kings on their thrones, could not withstand the marchings of many little men. First in the Americas, as Canning boasted, then in Spain, Greece, Italy, France, Germany, a new nationalism, democratic in spirit, sprang into being to redress the balance of the old.

A hundred years later, in 1918, the time for Areopagus and the like of that rolled around once more. Again there had been a general war and again there was a peace. For the next fifteen years states tried to solve their common problems by common action, through the machinery of the League of Nations, through the process of conference at Washington, Locarno, Paris, Lausanne, Stresa, Rome, Geneva and London. But at the close of 1933 the terms of the Washington naval agreements were being edged upwards, the hopeful professions of Locarno had become a mockery, the Pact of Paris was scattered for hare and hounds on the Manchurian plain, the reparations settlement at Lausanne hung upon the uncertain action of the United States regarding war debts, the economic program worked out at Stresa had been violated in every quarter, Mussolini had given up trying to find a new framework for peace, the Disarmament Conference had petered out and the World Economic Conference had died at its birth. "During the Nineteen Twenties," writes Owen Young, "I held the conviction that the world was to experience a period of great international coöperation in every field. . . . Looking

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