Courtesy Reuters

The American Tradition in Foreign Relations

A GREAT people weathers a period of stress like that through which Americans are now living if its institutions are sound and express its deepest convictions. The American institutions, molded by time and experience, contain values that give meaning to the things we do. Time, place and fortune have wrought their own special imprint upon the American conscience and endowed our folk with an ethical bias peculiarly their own. The indefinable something we call the American outlook adds up to a philosophy of life and a political morality. But Americans are inclined to take their ethical notions for granted and busy themselves with immediate issues. They do not worry about their ideology and would not recognize the meaning of the word if used to describe their beliefs. If in the present crisis they are troubled and confused by the contradictory policies urged upon them, it is because some of their counselors speak a language alien to American experience and indifferent to the inspiration of American polity. We seem to have lost sight of the recognizable drift of our own history and of the sweep of its great energy.

This exuberant and restless power, so recognizably descriptive of the United States, has been disciplined by an equally strong moral bias which has not only canalized and contained it within bounds, but humanized it as well. How else explain this crude and boundless might, which fought two great wars 3,000 and 6,000 miles distant from its own shores, and then, at the height of its military glory--with the enemy defeated and the world helpless to resist the strength of its armies--dismantled its gathered force and returned to the pursuit of peaceful ways, asking only that the other nations of the world do the same? It has placed no other people under duress and has exacted neither homage nor obeisance from the weak and the powerless, as well it might have done. Nay, more than that. It has not only denied itself any compensation for the

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