3. The American colonies of England did not think of union as of a peace scheme; they had been compelled into it by war, by the necessity of self-defense. It is only such an overpowering motive which has force enough to blot out petty rivalries and minor antagonisms. If union between States belonging to the same race and not divided either by history or by serious conflicting interests could be effected only under the pressure of a common peril, we must infer “a minori ad majus” that such a powerful incentive will be more necessary still to persuade into union nations of different races, each cherishing memories of mutual collisions and actually aware of not unimportant clashing interests.
The menace of aggression from the east has been brought home to us by the present war; gradually it will be understood even by those Occidentals who at present unhappily lend their support to that aggression. On this perception of the higher common interests of self-defense do I build the possibilities of a western coalition. But a time may come when Russia will be compelled to join it and to complete thereby the union of the whole of Europe; it may come sooner than the conversion of Russia to western ideas could be effected by natural evolution; it may come through the yellow peril, the menace of which has been brought nearer to us by the accursed policy of England.
Let Japan organize the dormant forces of China, as it seems bent upon doing, and the same law of eastern aggressiveness which is at the bottom of the present war will push the yellow mass toward Europe. Russia, as comparatively western, will have to bear their first onset; for this she will require Occidental assistance, and in the turmoil of that direful conflict—or, let us hope, in order to avoid it—she will readily give up all designs against her western neighbors, and she may become really western by the necessities which impel her to lean on the west.
But this may or may not happen. What I see before me as a tangible possibility is the great western block. It is the only principle of reconstruction after war that contains a guarantee of a permanent peace; it is the one, therefore, which the pacifists of all nations should strive for, once they get rid of the passing mentality of conflict that now obscures the judgment of the best among us.
Neutral Spirit of the Swiss
An Interview With President Motta of the Swiss Confederation
[From The London Times, Jan. 30, 1915.]
BERNE, Jan. 20.
The President of the Swiss Confederation is the symbol of a democracy so perfect that the man in the street is not quite sure who the President is. He knows that he is one of a council of seven, and that he is elected for one year, and that is all. In the Federal Palace, the Berne Westminster and Downing Street, the anonymity is almost as complete. Officers pass and repass in the corridors—one of the signs, like the waiting military motor cars at the door, of mobilization—but this does not change the spirit, simple and civilian, of the interior.