It is the same with seaports. Holland is delighted to provide passage for Germany’s exports and imports, and probably does so at a minimum cost. The Berlin manufacturer or merchant would be no better off, as far as trade conditions are concerned, if Germany instead of Holland held the mouths of the Rhine. The same with a harbour like Salonika. Germany or Austria may covet dreadfully its possession; and for strategic or political reasons they may be right, but for pure trade purposes Salonika in the hands of the Greeks would probably (except for certain initial expenses in the enlargement of dock accommodation) serve them as well as in their own hands.
Of course there are other reasons which make nations desire colonies and ports. Such things may be useful for offensive or defensive purposes against other nations; they feed a jealous sense of importance and Imperialism; they provide outlets for population and access to lands where the institutions and customs of the Homeland prevail; they supply financiers with a field for the investment of capital under the protection of their own Governments; they favour the development of a national carrying trade; and, above all, they supply plentiful official and other posts and situations for the young men of the middle and commercial classes; but for the mere extension and development of the nation’s general trade and commerce it is doubtful whether they have anything like the importance commonly credited to them.
WAR AND THE SEX IMPULSE
It seems that War, like all greatest things—like Passion, Politics, Religion, and so forth—is impossible to reckon up. It belongs to another plane of existence than our ordinary workaday life, and breaks into the latter as violently and unreasonably, as a volcano into the cool pastures where cows and sheep are grazing. No arguments, protests, proofs, or explanations are of any avail; and those that are advanced are confused, contradictory, and unconvincing. Just as people quarrel most violently over Politics and Religion, because, in fact, those are the two subjects which no one really understands, so they quarrel in Warfare, not really knowing why, but impelled by deep, inscrutable forces. Spectators even and neutrals, for the same reason, take sides and range themselves bitterly, if only in argument, against each other.