I believe that it is the mission of America in her own interest to devise it; that the circumstances of her isolation, historical and geographical, enable her to do for the older peoples—and herself—a service which by reason of their circumstances, geographical and historical, they cannot do for themselves.
The power that she exercises to this end need not be military. I do not think that it should be military. This war has shown that the issues of military conflict are so uncertain, depending upon all sorts of physical accidents, that no man can possibly say which side will win. The present war is showing daily that the advantage does not always go with numbers, and the outcome of war is always to some extent a hazard and a gamble, but there are certain forces that can be set in operation by nations situated as the United States, that are not in any way a gamble and a hazard, the effect of which will be quite certain.
I refer to the pressure of such a thing as organized non-intercourse, the sending of a country to moral, social, economic Coventry. We are, I know, here treading somewhat unknown ground, but we have ample evidence to show that there do exist forces capable of organization, stronger, and more certain in their operation than military forces. That the world is instinctively feeling this is demonstrated by the present attitude of all the combatants in Europe to the United States. The United States relatively to powers like Russia, Britain, and Germany is not a great military power, yet they are all pathetically anxious to secure the good-will of the United States.
It can hardly be to save the shock to their moral feelings which would come from the mere disapproval of people on the other side of the world. If any percentage of what we have read of German methods is true, if German ethics bear the faintest resemblance to what they are so often represented to be, Germany must have no feeling in the political sphere to be hurt by the moral disapproval of the people of the United States. If German statesmen are so desperately anxious as they evidently are to secure the approval and good-will of the United States it is because they realize, however indistinctly, that there lie in the hands of the United States powers which could be loosed, more portentous than those held by the masters of many legions.
Just what these powers are and how they might be used to give America greater security than she could achieve by arms, to place her at the virtual head of a great world State, and to do for mankind as a whole a service greater than any yet recorded in written history, must be left to the third and concluding article of this series.
AMERICA AS LEADER.
In the preceding article I indicated that America might undertake at this juncture of international affairs an intervention in the politics of the Old World which is of a kind not heretofore attempted by any nation, an intervention, that is to say, that should not be military, but in the first instance mediatory and moral, having in view if needs be the employment of certain organized social and economic forces which I will detail presently.