We Are Losing the Battle for Collective Security


By WILLIAM G. CARLETON, Professor of History and Political Science, University of Florida, Gainesville, Fla.

Delivered before an open forum sponsored by the Junior League of Jacksonville, Florida, June 6, 1944

Vital Speeches of the Day, Vol. X, pp. 593-601.


WE in America are losing the battle for international collective security. We were losing that battle before the Moscow Conference, and the simple truth is that the great promise of that conference, the reiterated promise at Teheran, the passage by the United States Senate of the revised and strengthened Connally Resolution, and the historic speech by Secretary Hull before a joint session of Congress on November eighteenth have not altered this basic fact. Official pronouncements pay homage to the idea of a world organization to keep the peace, but practical actions all seem to indicate the gradual emergence of an American foreign policy which fits into the pattern of old-fashioned power politics.

Those of us who believe that a policy of collective security is the only one which stands any chance at all of achieving a peaceful world must take care lest we be lulled to sleep by vague promises and smothered with kind words. We must become more concrete in our proposals. We must be more insistent that our point of view be given genuine attention in high places. We must never forget that we are the practical ones and that those who would perpetuate the international anarchy of the past are the real impracticals. In short, we must have more confidence in ourselves.


There has been, of course, much lip service paid to the concept of collective security. The Gallup poll reported a majority of American opinion in favor of an international organization to keep the peace by an international police force. This same Gallup poll, however, also reported a majority of American opinion in favor of an Anglo-American alliance and an Anglo-American-Russian alliance. The opinion in favor of collective security is vague and amorphous. It is a compound of inchoate hopes and wishful thinking. It does not really believe in itself. It has crystallized no practical plans. It has not reduced its aspirations to concrete alternatives. It does not really mean business. It has about its discussions an aura of unreality and an aspect of shadow boxing. Even its most intelligent portion is haunted by the fears that the pattern of balance-of-power politics is immutable and that even if it were possible to break away from power politics it would be impossible to do so now because an age of fundamental revolution is not a time in which to build a stable world organization.

Concrete proposals of world organization have appeared, but their sponsors have not been men of practical experience or political prestige, and unfortunately the public has not taken them with the seriousness their plans deserve. Among these are Clarence K. Streit's Union Now and Ely Culbertson's World Federation Plan. To be sure, public men of the first rank have come out in favor of some sort of world organization to preserve the peace, but either their utterances have been vague or their remarks have elicited small reaction from the public Secretary of State Cordell Hull has endorsed in principle the use of force by cooperating nations to maintain peace, but his address of last September twelfth was in such general terms that it has evoked little response. Governor Harold E. Stassen has not been able to make his plan articulate or popular. Wendell Willkie has not succeeded in bringing his One World down to earth. The public statements of Justice Owen J. Roberts in favor of supra-national law and an international federal union have received scant attention. The warning of Judge Manley O. Hudson that power-politics alliances were not the answer to the world's yearning for peace made scarcely a ripple.

Contrast this perfunctory reception given collective security suggestions with the vital reaction to power-politics proposals. When Prime Minister Winston Churchill made his now famous bid for an Anglo-American alliance his speech received an instantaneous popular support from a large segment of public opinion. When Governor Thomas E. Dewey at Mackinac Island came out in favor of an Anglo-American alliance his statement was a sensation. When Walter Lippmann (who, it will be recalled, wrote that famous editorial in Life Magazine predicting that what Rome had been to the Ancient World and what Britain had been to the Nineteenth Century the United States would be to the world of the future) published his United States Foreign Policy, in which he advocated an Anglo-American-Russian-Chinese alliance as the solution to the problem of the post-war world, there was a spontaneous ground-swell of favorable public opinion. Lippmann is skeptical that the world will ever organize peace and says frankly that the true object of a nation's foreign policy is not peace but national security in both war and peace. And when the late Professor Nicholas John Spykman early in 1942 published his brilliant and ultra-realistic America's Strategy in JVorld Politics the favorable impression in official circles in Washington was immediate and profound. Indeed, one must not underestimate the influence of this book and of Professor Spykman inside our State, War, and Navy Departments and on the School for American Military Government at Charlottesville. Professor Spykman presents with cogency and force the case for American participation in world politics on a frankly balance-of-power basis. He assumes that power politics will continue to be played as it has been played since the rise of national states and that "preserving the balance of power is a permanent job." He sneers at world federation and holds out no hope of a peaceful world. He predicts that even should a federation be formed men would be no better off because wars would continue—"international wars would become civil wars and insurrections." This is the doctrine imbibed by powerful men in strategic positions of state. Thus while Mr. Lippmann has been indoctrinating the pundits, Professor Spykman has been indoctrinating the bureaucrats.


The Moscow Conference has not altered this trend. It is a sad fact that even this conference's promise of a future world organization has not caused us to think any more seriously or realistically about the machinery of collective security. Most men who formulate public opinion persist in ignoring collective security as a practical possibility.

Since the Moscow Conference, Senator Richard Russell, a Democrat, has called for additional American bases in the Pacific under exclusive American control. Senators A. B. Chandler and Kenneth McKeilar, also Democrats, seem to be of like opinion, and the Chicago Tribune has editorially commended Senators Russell, McKeilar, and Chandler for their nationalistic approach. Senator Ralph Brewster has predicted a future war with Britain unless the United States receives her "proper share" of trade and "a more equitable sharing of the British petroleum reserves in the Persian Gulf." The late Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox has warned "against the illusion that this is likely to be the last war." And in a public address on December sixth. Secretary Knox called for a military alliance with Britain and a pooling of the British and American Navies to police the seas. Again, on January fourteenth in an address at Cleveland, Knox advocated for the post-war period a system of preparedness and compulsory military training for every American boy. In like tenor, in an address in New York on January nineteenth, Charles E. Wilson, executive vice-president of the War Production Board, told us that wars are inevitable and pleaded for "a full and continuing preparedness" after this war. Alexander Seversky continues to forecast wars of the future and to him this Second World War is only a pallid preview of what the Third World War is going to be like.

At the very time the Moscow Conference was corning to its momentous decisions, Walter Lippmann was calling for the future study of military science in our colleges and for a future American Clausewitz. At that time Lippmann wrote, "When this war ends, we may hope that many of the younger men, who have interrupted their careers to fight the war, will come back to become not only teachers, but thinkers in military affairs. One oi them will, we may hope, turn out to be the Mahan of the age of air power, the Clausewitz of the age of mechanized war. We shall need him in the future." Evidently Lippmann still does not believe a system of international collective security will be set up, or, if set up, that it will work. Even more important, it seems that Lippmann does not have much faith that his own system of military alliances will bring us peace.

In the January issue of the Ladies Home Journal, Lippmann abandons all pretense to interest in a world organization with an international police force. He rejects point blank such an organization, although in his United States Foreign Policy he had previously suggested that such an organization might evolve from the Grand Alliance. In the Journal article, Congresswoman Claire Booth Luce asked Lippmann the question, "How do you believe a four-power alliance would affect the possible formation of a world police force?" To this question Lippmann replied, "Its the world police force, and no other world police force is possible."

Perhaps the most significant interpretation of the real meaning of the Moscow Pact has come from the pen of Mr. Kingsbury Smith, whose past articles on the plans and intentions of the American State Department have revealed considerable insight. Several months ago, in an article in the American Mercury, Mr. Smith told us bluntly that the cornerstone of the future peace will be a military alliance of the United States and Britain in which all American and British bases will be used jointly in a military and naval sense and the Combined Chiefs of Staff will be continued. "If cooperation with Russia proves satisfactory, Russia will assume a large part of the responsibility for helping to maintain peace in Europe and Asia." Collective security machinery will consist only of "agencies which would use the remedies of discussion, negotiation, conciliation and good offices," a court of justice to settle disputes of a legal character, and a "security pact pledging all contracting parties to cooperate jointly in restraining future aggression." According to Mr. Kingsbury Smith, then, the Moscow Conference envisaged "an international security system" which would rely merely on the old and threadbare diplomatic methods of discussion, negotiation, conciliation, and good

offices; a court of justice to settle justiciable questions—the sort of questions which never cause major wars and seldom minor ones; and a kind of glorified Locarno Pact! Mr. Smith justifies this kind of "international security system" in the name of "realism."

Most disappointing of all is the apostasy of former champions of the cause of collective security, in an address delivered November twenty-fifth, Jan Christian Smuts declared that the approach to peace made at the end of the last war, the approach of idealism and universality, could not be made after this war, and that instead Russia, the United States, and Great Britain would form a trinity of powers which would retain leadership in peace. Prime Minister Smuts was chiefly concerned with strengthening Britain's position in the new balance of power lest this triumvirate turn out to be "an unequal partnership." His words have had a marked effect on many of our own former exponents of collective security.

And on December second, that erstwhile defender of the League of Nations, The New York Times, in a three column editorial summing up the implications of the Cairo Declaration, declared with respect to the Pacific Settlement, "With our allies we shall have to maintain bases where they can most effectively oppose and restrain a potentially aggressive enemy. We shall have to prepare ourselves to maintain a Navy and air force adequate to defend these bases. And we shall have to man our Navy and our air force with an adequately trained personnel preferably recruited by the same method of universal compulsory liability to service on which we have relied in the emergency of war." And so, according to the Times, we are to get nothing better out of this war than a continuation of the draft and a crushing burden of armaments.

Some of the more recent straws in the wind as to the future American foreign policy must give us serious concern.

The present administration has recently put this government in the oil business in Saudi Arabia.

The State Department has strongly intimated that the idea of an international police force has been abandoned and that any force to keep the peace of the world must consist of the armed services of the individual governments constituting the United Nations.

Dorothy Thompson, interpreting the revelations made in May by Forrest Davis in the Saturday Evening Post on what happened at Teheran, has this to say, "The real situation seems to be: The President wants an extension of American power in the South Pacific and on the Western shores of Africa, in what is now French territory—possibly at Dakar. No rich territories but control over large oceanic territories and air bases for considerations of security will thus be won. Obviously the Russians are here disinterested. The real trouble might arise with the British. But it is already apparent that they will be compensated for a relative weakening of their position in Asiatic waters by gains in Africa at the expense of Italy, and by a solidification of their position in the Near East." If Miss Thompson is correct in her analysis, then we are moving in the direction of a policy of power politics on the grandest and most dangerous scale ever known.

The whole atmosphere at Washington at the present time seems to be permeated with power politics. In the government departments, in the congressional cloak-rooms, and in the hotel lobbies there is talk of naval and air bases, spheres of influence, our future position in oil, our future position in merchant shipping, our future position in commercial aviation, but, alas, there is precious little talk of collective security and future peace.

Now make no mistake about it: A peace settlement written in terms of naval bases, air bases, spheres of influence, oil, merchant shipping, and commercial aviation will be no peace at all; it will be but a prelude to the Third World War.


The more one studies the debates in the United States Senate on the Connally Resolution the more he must conclude, however reluctantly, that little leadership in the direction of a truly international peace can be expected from this quarter. More disturbing, a study of the debate will tend to show that it would be an easy matter to organize over a third of that body into active opposition to a truly international peace. And if this is true of the present Senate, what may we expect of the Senate after the elections of 1944, the trend in the country being what it is?

The Connally Resolution, even with point four of the Moscow Declaration added, is nothing more than a pious gesture. If it had been more than that, it is doubtful if it could have mustered a bare majority. The Connally Resolution means all things to all men. What Senator Pepper said about the original Connally Resolution holds true of the resolution in its final form: it "covers everything and touches nothing." It is broad enough and meaningless enough to command the support of both Claude Pepper and Joseph Ball at one extreme and Gerald Nye and "Curly" Brooks at the other extreme.

While only five senators actually voted against the resolution, senator after senator explained that his vote in favor of the resolution would not prejudice his future votes on the subject, and many availed themselves of the opportunity to make isolationist speeches. Senator Clark of Missouri, tongue in cheek, called the completed resolution "a declaration of wishes and hopes." Senator Walsh of Massachusetts termed it "a well-meaning generalization" and observed that little would be gained by its adoption. Senator Vandenberg warned that "we must withhold our blueprints until we are at grips with the realities of tomorrow and the disclosure of the intentions of others." Later in the debate, Vandenberg pronounced the isolationist speech of Senator Wheeler "a courageous point of view which comes from the depths of his heart." Senator Nye predicted that a just and honorable peace depended on our allies, and then proceeded to cast grave doubts as to their intentions. To this Senator Taft agreed "one hundred per cent" and then launched into his own speech, which was a defense of "the old policy of the free hand." Senator Lodge feared that international cooperation would be "perverted into a device to siphon off the power, prestige, and resources of the United States." Senator Capper defended patriotic nationalism against "the slurs cast on nationalism and national patriotism." Senator Bushfield of South Dakota conjured up the dangers of a "superstate." And then all of the senators here mentioned, except Wheeler, wound up by voting for the resolution!

It is doubtful if there are more than twenty-five genuine internationalists in the United States Senate. The fourteen senators who backed the Pepper Amendment to strengthen the Connally Resolution constitute the bulk of this group. They are derisively known in the Senate as the "H2 B2 boys," because of the leads taken by Senators Hatch, Hill, Ball, and Burton. This group, made up for the most part of younger men and relative newcomers to the Senate, is treated with a shade of contempt by Senate veterans. Earlier when Senators Hatch, Hill, Ball, and Burton, hats in hand, appeared before the Foreign Relations Committee of the Senate to plead for a stronger resolution "they came there as a matterof sufferance" and their reception, in the words of Senator Hatch, "was not too warm."

This tragi-comic performance in the Senate wore on to a pitiful anti-climax. When at last the resolution—"this pious sentiment"—had been passed with only five dissenting votes, a motion was made to send it on to the President. But this simple request produced a quandary in the Senate. What was the resolution to be considered? Senator Wherry contended that it was mere "advice" from the Senate and not "consent." Senator Taft objected that "advice" was too strong; it was, to his way of thinking, "opinion" only. But even the word "opinion" appeared too strong, and it was finally decided to send the resolution on as "information." And so at last the Senate Resolution, duly embossed, was solemnly sent on to the President of the United States, not as consent, not as advice, not as opinion, but as mere information! Thus the ink on the resolution was scarcely dry before senators by innuendo after innuendo proceeded to reduce it to next to nothing.


Last week we learned, as the result of a Presidential press conference on May thirtieth and an announcement of the State Department on May thirty-first, that the United States has invited the Soviet Union, Britain, and China to "conversations" looking to the building of a world organization. The United States plan, which is to be the basis of the discussion, envisages a council by the big four and an assembly in which all the United Nations are to be represented. There is to be no international police force; the police force would consist primarily of the armed forces of the big four nations which would retain their separate identities. The plan closely resembles the Churchill plan announced the previous week, and in his speech suggesting his plan Churchill frankly admitted that he was in no position to define the relations of the assembly of small powers to the council dominated by the big four.

As a result of these announcements certain impressions stand out. For one thing it is noteworthy that only the big four are to take part in the parleys, and that the lesser powers are to have no part. For another thing, it is significant that the council is to be dominated by "the greatest states which emerge victorious from this war" and that the place to be taken by the assembly in this scheme of things is ambiguous if not irrelevant. There is grave danger here that France and the lesser countries are to be ignored. For still another thing, and most important of all, the "police force" is to consist of the armed might of the big four and is not to he subordinated to the world organization. There is an ominous suggestion in all of this that what is to emerge is another Quadruple Alliance very much after the manner of 1815, with the difference that an impotent assembly is to be created as a sop to the lesser powers.

To a sincere believer in effective collective security the words of the President in announcing the forthcoming "conversations" were chilling. According to Charles Hurd in the New York Times, the President is reported to have said that the new program is a 1944 model which may reflect in some ways "a more cynical outlook developed by some people in their maturity as a result of experience." Mr. Hurd also reported that Mr. Roosevelt gave as his opinion that perhaps there is no method to end wars for all time.

Mr. Roosevelt is said to pride himself in the fact that he is taking suggestions from all factions and profiting by Woodrow Wilson's mistakes. But if this idea of taking suggestions from all factions is carried to its logical conclusion the peace settlement which emerges at the end of this war may represent the lowest common denominator of all factions. The international system which comes out of such a peace settlement will be so watered down as to be ineffectual. It will be a pity if it should turn out that we failed last time because of too much faith and then failed this time because of too little faith.

It is significant that for once the Chicago Tribune bad something almost complimentary to say about Mr. Roosevelt as a result of the President's press conference of May thirtieth. In its issue of May thirty-first the Tribune carried an article by Arthur Sears Henning which emphasized the fact that the President's proposed plan would not surrender American sovereignty or independence of action. In the course of this article Henning said, "Now comes Mr. Roosevelt, who, if not completely deserting the internationalists, takes the position that the nationalists were dissatisfied with Dewey for failing to take."

As was to be expected, the reaction among the lesser powers was critical. Obviously nettled at the reaction among these powers, Secretary Hull on June first declared with warmth that he saw no reason why the people of the United States "should be catechized every morning before breakfast as to their loyalty to liberty, or their consistent desire oi liberty for everybody and freedom for aspiring peoples everywhere."


During the American Revolution the thirteen sovereign states got together to form an American Confederation. Their leaders did not wait until the war was over. While the war was being waged they debated the various plans, hammered out the Confederation Constitution, submitted it to the states for ratification, got it ratified by all of them, and actually launched the Confederation government two years before the close of the war.

In the midst of the last war at a period comparable to the stage we have reached in this war, many organizations, official and unofficial, were already planning, discussing, and publicizing the details of a league of nations. The League to Enforce Peace was established as early as 1915 under the leadership of William Howard Taft. Over two years before the close of the last war President Wilson had put the United States squarely behind the idea of a league of nations. Almost a year before the close of the last war an official committee of the British Foreign Office, with Lord Phillimore as its chairman, had prepared a draft convention for the creation of a league.

If we really meant business about building a world organization we should at this stage of the war be debating passionately the practical structural details of such an organisation. Should the old League of Nations be revived or a new organization created? Should a world organization be a mere league, a confederation, or a federal union? Are regional and continental leagues to be organized as the basis of membership in the world organization? How inclusive should membership be? Should all nations, regardless of ideology, be admitted? Should the defeated nations be admitted? Should they be admitted immediately? If not, what sort of probationary device can be developed and how long should elapse before full-fledged membership is granted? How extensive should the powers of such an organization be? Should it be limited to keeping the peace or should it take over and administer the colonial possessions not yet ready for national statehood and not yet ready for admission as equals into the organization? Should the organization have its own international police force and its own armed Services? Should such an organization operate directly on the individual citizens of the member states, tax them, and force them into its armed services, or should it operate

merely on and through states, collecting quotas of men and contributions of money from the member states and not operating directly upon individuals? In addition to a court to take jurisdiction of justifiable disputes, what kind of a political body should it have? Should the political assembly be unicameral or bicameral? Should representation be based on the equality of sovereign states, on population, on the degree of technological development and actual economic production, on the degree of literacy, or on a combination of all or some of these factors? Should there be an executive? If so, what should be the nature of the executive? These and many other questions like them should now be in the very forefront of practical political discussions.

By this stage of the war all the governments of the United Nations should have official government commissions studying the practical questions involved in a world organization, and by this time some of them should actually have reported and their labors should now be the subject of serious practical debate. A modern Madison, a modern Hamilton, a modern Jay should be elucidating and clarifying these questions and consolidating public opinion behind the one or the other of the possible alternatives of world organization.

Instead, we debate with real feeling whether we shall have American bases at Dakar and Casablanca and additional bases in the far Pacific. We debate whether we shall go it alone or become a partner in an Anglo-American alliance, an Anglo-American-Russian alliance, or an Anglo; American-Russian-Chinese alliance. In short, in our practical political discussions we are debating not the alternatives within a pattern of collective security; we are debating the alternatives within a pattern of old-fashioned power politics.

As the practical discussions are taking shape, it appear that the American foreign policy at the close of this war will follow one of three probabilities. One is a policy of enlarged American imperialism played by the United States alone as a strictly American policy. A second is an Anglo-American alliance. A third is an Anglo-American-Russian alliance or an Anglo-American-Russian-Chinese alliance. This alliance may be either nakedly overt or masquerading inside a so-called world organization. All three of these follow the old pattern of power politics.

The pity is that millions of Americans have been sold on the idea that if the United States but gives up "isolation" we shall virtually insure the peace—that they are debating power-politics alliances in the actual belief that these will keep the peace! The stark truth is that power-politics alliances and balance-of-power alliances have never kept the peace of the world and there is no reason to believe that an Anglo-American alliance or an Anglo-American-Russian alliance or an Anglo-American-Russian-Chinese alliance will prove exceptions to the lessons taught by historical experience.


Objectionable as collective security may be to some Americans, it is difficult to see how it can possibly be as objectionable as any of the other possible alternatives.

There is a very real danger that at the end of this war the United States will choose to play the game of imperialism on a much larger scale than hitherto and to play the game as a strictly American policy, alone and without allies. This, too, is power politics, but it is power politics of the most foolhardy kind.

Such a policy would have us build the largest army, the largest navy, the largest air force in the world. It would have us secure American bases at Dakar and at Casablanca, in New Guinea, the Solomons, New Caledonia, the New Hebrides, Formosa, and other points in the Far East. This seems to be the line of thought of Paul Mallon, the columnist. This is what the "fifth zone" of Clarence Budington Kelland envisages. This appears to be the trend of thought of Senators Chandler, McKeilar, Russell, and Brewster, and of ex-Senator Lodge. What makes this a possible policy is that it will appeal to a large segment of our so-called isolationists. It must be remembered that our isolationists are nationalists and that a grandiose policy of national imperialism will be attractive to a large number of them. Scratch an isolationist and under the surface one often discovers an imperialist. William Randolph Hearst, for instance, is today put down as an isolationist, but Hearst has always been an advocate of active American imperialism, particularly in the Pacific. On September 10, 1942, Colonel Robert R. McCormick's Chicago Tribune carried a significant editorial entitled A Republican World in the Making. In this editorial the "isolationist" Tribune suggested that American policy should be directed toward removing the British from India and the Dutch from the East Indies so that Americans would have greater opportunities for trade, investments, and concessions in these areas. It will also be recalled that Joseph M. Patterson of the New York Daily News is on record as advocating American ownership of the Dutch East Indies. The Republican party contains many leaders to whom a policy of exclusive imperialism will be attractive, and we cannot close our eyes to the present political trend in favor of the Republican party. As we have seen, even some of the recent actions of the present Democratic administration may be interpreted as moving in the direction of American imperialism, although this imperialism diners from the "free hand" imperialism we are discussing here in that it would be an imperialism implemented and limited by an alliance with Britain and Russia.

A policy of super-duper imperialism played by the United States as a lone wolf among the nations has nothing in historical experience or common sense to recommend it. Such a policy imposes upon us the crushing burden involved in a continuous armaments race, and to win a release from such a burden, a burden which reduces our standard of living and impoverishes the people, is one of our primary aims in the winning of this war. Such a policy commits us to extensive imperialism at the very time the colonial peoples of the world are in bitter revolt against both economic and political imperialism. Such a policy extends our exclusive commitments beyond both oceans without the alliances or understandings which make such commitments somewhat easier to maintain. In fact, such a policy will antagonize all our friends and convert them into enemies. Our taking of Casablanca and Dakar will alienate a reconstructed France. Our attempt to make the Pacific "an American lake" will bring us into conflict with Britain, with China, and with Russia. This is a policy of sheer madness.

As a matter of fact this policy would merely pursue for us the same fatuous foreign policy we pursued from 1898 to 1941, but it would pursue that policy in an infinitely larger, more dangerous, and more exposed way. Such a policy is not isolationist and it is not balance-of-power and it is not internationalist. It is the most senseless kind of power politics, and it can only lead us to disaster.

Many Americans who consider themselves internationalists hold high hopes that an Anglo-American alliance can keep the peace of the world. There is much to make such an alliance appealing, particularly the cultural affinity existing between the American and British peoples. But an exclusive Anglo-American alliance will not keep the peace of the world. Such an alliance exaggerates the influence of seapower. Sea power without continental allies has never been an effective influence inside Europe, and this will in the future also be true of Asia, now that powerful modern states are emerging there. The limitations on sea power will be even more apparent in the age of air power. Such an alliance will render suspicious all countries which are not Anglo-Saxon, and will tend to consolidate the continent against us. Such an alliance will lint the United States to British colonialism at the very time the modern revolt against both political and economic imperialism reaches its climax. Finally, such an alliance in the hands of British Tories and American reactionaries might for a time be used as an instrument of a Neo-Metternich reaction in an attempt to suppress in Western Europe leftist movements which, when the fascists go down, are bound to spread if the people concerned are allowed to determine their own destinies. If such a policy were pursued it would alienate the peoples so policed, drive them into the arms of Russia, and, if persisted in, lead to a Third World War with the Anglo-American powers ranged against Russia and her continental allies. Such an alliance would be a different matter if certain liberal and labor elements were in power in Britain, hut in this event it would lose its reason for being, because these elements are not interested in power-politics alliances, but want instead to press on to genuine collective security, even though this means independence for India and the internationalizing of the remaining British colonies.

An Anglo-American-Russian alliance or an Anglo-American-Russian-Chinese alliance would be infinitely preferable to a mere Anglo-American alliance for a number of reasons. This more inclusive alliance recognizes our lack of effective influence in Europe and Asia without continental allies and supplies this deficiency. It precludes a policy of policing against popular socialist revolutions, because such policing would be incompatible with an alliance which included the Soviet Union.

On the other hand, such an alliance has several grave weaknesses and inadequacies. For one thing, it gives no voice in international affairs to the millions of peoples in the small countries of Europe and Latin-America. The leaders of these small nations, as the history of the League of Nations shows, frequently make the most effective leaders in international affairs. Indeed, it is usually the leaders of the small nations who reject most decisively power politics, who hate most passionately all forms of aggression, and who are willing to put the most drastic curbs upon it.

For another thing, it underrates the influence a revived France and a reconstructed Germany and Japan will have in the post-war world. It is understandable that in the midst of this war we should undervalue the influence of Germany and Japan in the post-war era. This is the natural reaction of the victors on the eve of their victory. However, the post-war period will not be very old before we shall see rivalry among the victorious powers for the cooperation and support of the defeated nations. Indeed, Professor Spykman, so admired by our "realists," predicts that within a few years after the war we shall have to pursue a policy friendly to Japan in order to check a modern, unified, and powerful China.

The most serious defect in the Anglo-American-Russian-Chinese alliance is the erroneous assumption that these powers will still have a concert of interest and a common policy when the common danger of a common enemy is removed. This is the usual mistake made by victorious war coalitions. The victorious coalition of 1813-1815 which defeated Napoleon expected to act in concert after the victory, but in the post-war years diversity of interests developed and caused a divergence of policies. In our own day, the victorious coalition of 1918 soon fell apart after the defeat of the common enemy. The United States withdrew from Europe, Britain for a time took the side of Germany, and in the end Italy and Japan, both members of the victorious coalition of 1918, joined Germany to form the Axis.

In the post-war years a diversity of interests will develop and as we recede from the war years differences among the "big four" will increase. The Grand Alliance may be able to hold together for a time, but, like the Quadruple Alliance following the Napoleonic Wars, divergencies will sooner or later appear. As relations cool, rifts in the alliance an bound to follow. A host of possible points of conflict come immediately to mind. It is to be hoped that this concert of interest will continue long enough to form the basis of an effective international organization to keep the peace. If this can be done, then perhaps these inevitable stresses and these inevitable shifts in alignments can be accommodated with, out the assumption of ultimate violence and within the pattern of collective security. But the prospect of its being done grows dimmer and dimmer.


No matter what way we turn we shall find that the method of collective security is the only one which holds out any hope of permanent peace. It must in the end be accepted simply because all other possibilities are so plainly unacceptable.

Certain basic doubts in the public mind with respect to the practicability of collective security must, however, be cleared away. Unless these are cleared away, and cleared away soon, the public will not have the certainty, the conviction, and the determination to build such a system.

First, there is the feeling that nationalism is too strong to yield to a world organization. But technology, the airplane, the exaggerated and brutal exaltation of nationalism by the fascists, the defeat of fascism and the inevitable revulsion from all that it has wrought, and the fruits of extreme nationalism as evidenced by two world wars—these and other forces are undermining nationalism and preparing the way for more internationalism. Our politicians must be made to see this. After all, nationalism is not in the very nature of things. The nations we know today only date from about I 1500 or later, and the modern cult of nationalism only goes back to about the time of the French Revolution and Napoleon.

Second, it is argued that sovereign states are afraid to give up their own armaments and are afraid to build up a world armament that might be used against them. Against this fear must be held up the fear of modern warfare, ever and ever becoming more devastating and frightful as technology develops. We are actually faced with the prospect of modern technology becoming so formidable as to have ft in its power to snuff out whole communities and perhaps even to blot out humanity itself. This justified fear of mechanized war must be used to overcome our fear of bold political experimentation.

Third, there must be combatted the facile argument that men have always had wars and always will have them because war is a part of "human nature" and peace is contrary to "human nature." That, of course, is a most superficial view of man and his nature. That is the bromide which shallow men and evil men have always used to dull our hopes for human betterment* This thing we call human nature is not fixed or static; it is flexible and wondrously malleable. It responds to the political setting, to the social environment, and to institutional change. Polygamy, human slavery, and the. incapacity of men to govern themselves wereonce said to be a part of human nature but now they are relegated to the limbo of discarded superstitions. Once upon a time city states fought city states and feudal provinces fought fuedal provinces and men said this was natural, but now city states and feudal states are welded into unified nations and we do not say that it is human nature for one part of a country to fight another part of the same country. Do you suppose that putting on a uniform, goose-stepping behind a band, and fighting with guns, planes, and tanks are really inborn? Of course not. Men do these things because they have been institutionalized and because they have been conditioned to them. Some day men will establish political and legal machinery to settle by peaceful adjustment the conflicts of interest among nations which are now settled by armed violence, and when such peaceful machinery is evolved men will respond as they have always responded to fundamental institutional changes, and then what is now called human nature will be called superstition.

Fourth, there is a deep-seated suspicion that nations which are members of a world organization will play power politics within the organization and that we shall not be any better off than we have been in the past. Will the nations play power politics within a world organization? Of course they will, but with a difference. They will play it without the assumption of an ultimate resort to violence. As a matter of fact, power politics is played inside national states. Classes, groups, and sections make alliances and realignments in national politics to capture and control national government. But they do this without the assumption of violence. They do this by peaceful means. The result is compromise and peaceful adjustment. It is to be expected that there will be a conflict of national interests within the international organization. Temporary alignments and realignments will be made. But as peaceful precedent is built upon peaceful precedent, the assumption of an ultimate resort to violence will disappear. Nations will come to look upon a peaceful adjustment of differences as normal just as we now look upon the peaceful adjustment of class, group, and sectional interests within a nation as normal.

But in the formative period, before the assumption of violence has been eradicated, will there not be insurrections against the world organization and resulting civil wars? And will not these insurrections and civil wars be as destructive as international wars? It may be that in the formative period of world organization a minority group of powers, failing to get what they want by using the political and legal machinery of the organization, will challenge the majority within the organization on the field of battle. But in such a war the minority group in all probability would be defeated, first, simply because it is a minority, and second, because it would be challenging a fundamental trend. Out of such a conflict would come a much stronger world organization, perhaps a genuine world state. The challenge of the Southern Confederacy to the Union is a case in point. Professor Spykman is dead wrong when he sneers at world confederation and declares that insurrections and civil wars are no better than international wars. Insurrections arm civil wars imply a shift in sovereignty from the national state to the world organization and will develop emotional loyalties toward the world organization. Therefore, even if collective security could not in its early and formative stages always keep the peace, the mere fact that it had transformed international wars into insurrections and civil wars would be a tremendous step forward.

Fifth, there is a feeling that no organization can prevent war because, while some people are willing to keep the peace, others are not; in other words, there are naturally "good" nations and "bad" nations, and the "bad" nations cannot be trusted in or out of a world organization. Therefore, there is nothing to do but keep armed against the "bad" nations. Germany, of course, is put down as one of these "bad" nations. Now even if this be a true view, a world organization could keep the peace against "naturally" aggressive states better than the old balance of power system. But it is not true.

To subscribe to the view that nations have distinct national personalities and that those personalities go back to natural and biologic causes is to adopt the irrational Nazi view of race and nationality. National policies and national trends are cultural and not racial, they are due to conditions and historical circumstances and not to innate racial characteristics. Conditions now seem to be shaping in a way to make Germany a more peaceful and cooperative nation. Germany's second great defeat within a generation will show her the limits of German power, just as France before her was at last shown the limits of French power in Europe. Then too, Germany henceforth will be flanked on the east by a nation which will hereafter have a larger war potential than Germany, namely, the Soviet Union. Just as the unification and industrialization of Germany put an end to French aggression on the continent of Europe, so the modernization and industrialization of Russia will henceforth serve as a check to German aggression. Moreover, some kind of a socialist revolution is coming to Germany at the close of this war, this revolution will reject and uproot the militarists and the military tradition in Germany, and this revolution is likely to stick this time because it will be surrounded by friendly and sympathetic socialist and social-democratic states. There is every reason to believe, therefore, that Germany can be trusted to cooperate in a world organization.

Sixth, the "failure" of the League of Nations has made a deep impression in the United States. This "failure" is put down against all collective security. But did the League actually fail? In the supreme test, the application of sanctions against Italy, every indication points to the success of the economic boycott. Indeed, the Hoares and the Lavals scuttled the boycott because it was succeeding only too well! Moreover, the disadvantages under which the League operated may not operate again in any future system of collective security. What were those disadvantages? One was the failure of the United States to join the League. The other was the failure of capitalist countries to cooperate with socialist countries in the held of international relations. This war is teaching capitalist countries the necessity of cooperating with socialist countries and socialist countries the necessity of cooperating with capitalist countries.

Seventh, Mr. Kingsbury Smith gives as one of the main reasons our State Department has shifted from the "crusading spirit of the Sumner Welles school of thought" to "the more cautious conservatism of Cordell Hull" the reluctance of Great Britain to abandon its colonial position after the war. But why should this be an insuperable obstacle to collective security? Outmoded as is British imperialism, certainly no one would put down the existence of the British Empire as one of the chief reasons for the failure of the League of Nations. Moreover, if Mr. Kingsbury Smith be correct, our State Department is underestimating the strength of the opinion in England willing to internationalize the British colonies. In fact, in liberal and labor circles in Britain, criticism of imperialism and the colonial system and suggestions of a constructive international solution have been more intelligent, more penetrating, and more courageous than anything suggested by Sumner Welles or our own liberal publicists. Harold Laski, G. D. H. Cole, and especially Francis Williams have all pointed to a solution ofthe colonial question along international lines. In fact, certain British liberal and labor circles are praying that the United States will come out strongly for a system of collective security which internationalizes the colonial system. Above everything else these circles fear that the United States will take a conservative, a nationalist, even an imperialist view of the post-war world and will thus lend moral support to the British conservatives. They believe that if the United States takes an anti-imperialist and an international view opinion in Britain can be swung in those same directions, even though it is Britain that must make the greatest sacrifice in the colonial sphere. Thus we are getting ourselves in the ironical position wherein British liberals and laborites point to the United States as the chief obstacle in the way of a constructive international solution of the colonial question and American conservatives point to Britain as an excuse for pursuing a timid course and perhaps even an imperialist one.

Eighth, Mr. Kingsbury Smith gives as another of the main reasons our State Department has shifted from an "idealistic" approach to a "realistic" approach Soviet Russia's insistence on retention of the Baltic states, Eastern Poland, Bessarabia, and part of Finland. Now it is difficult to see why this should be an insurmountable obstacle to the building of a genuine system of collective security. Indeed, this argument seems almost frivolous. All of these areas were Russian before 1917, and the men of the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth Centuries who envisaged an international organization assumed that they would continue to be Russian. Except for those areas indisputably Polish, Woodrow Wilson insisted upon the territorial integrity of Russia and declared this to be the acid test of Allied good faith. Just how "national" are Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania, anyway? Lithuania's pretension to "nationhood" in the Middle , Ages is about as authentic as that of Lorraine or Brittany or Aquitaine or many another Medieval duchy. As. for Bessarabia, it is as much "Russian" as it is "Rumanian" and geographically it is a part of the Ukraine. As for the rectification of the Russo-Polish frontier, it is common knowledge that the frontier finally drawn at Riga in 1920 gave to Poland nearly fifty percent more territory than the Allies had allotted to her when they drew the Curzon line; it also gave her some six million non-Polish subjects in the Eastern frontier provinces. It would be tragic to let Polish chauvinism, sedulously played upon by scheming American politicians, most of whom care not one whit about Poland and many of whom ridiculed the war begun in Poland's behalf, wreck our hopes for a system of collective security. As for the Finnish frontier, it is impossible to discuss its ethnic and strategic implications until we know more about what is actually proposed.

Ninth, there is a widespread belief that Russia will not cooperate in a world organization to keep the peace. But there is no clear evidence to warrant our assuming this. The record of the Soviet Union as a defender of collective security is a good one* From 1934 to 1939, in the period when the League of Nations still had a chance to keep the peace, albeit a constantly dwindling one, Russia was the staunchest defender of collective security. Again, at the recent Moscow and Teheran Conferences, so far as we know, Russia was not cast in an obstructionist role and did not object to the declaration promising to build a world organization in the future. Neither should we take too pessimistic a view of the recent Soviet pact with Czechoslovakia. We have similar bilateral pacts of mutual assistance with Cuba, Mexico, and Canada, and until the actual formation of an international organization such regional pacts should not be condemned.

At the end of this war Russia must have peace. The Soviet Union will need American goods and skills and technology with which to rehabilitate herself. The Russian people will want at long last an opportunity to enjoy the fruits of their tremendous sacrifices. After all there is a limit to human endurance, and the Russian people are weary. They have gone through disastrous foreign war, fundamental revolution, fierce civil war, wholesale experimentation, famine, forced collectivization, three successive five-year plans, again preparation for war, again invasion and bloody foreign war. For years the Russian people have been repeatedly promised more consumer goods, a higher standard of living, greater relaxation, the easing of tensions. These boons can now no longer be postponed, and only in a peace that promises to be enduring can they be realized.

Moreover, there is in socialism a philosophic pacifism that may well be utilized in building a world organization. But it will be said that this pacifism will seek to express itself in a functional way, in an international federation of socialist republics, and not in a league or confederation of nations based upon contractual foundations. If this is true, then just as the tragedy of the 1930's was the failure of capitalist countries to cooperate with socialist countries in the old League of Nations, so the tragedy of the late 1940's and the 1950's will be the failure of socialist countries to cooperate with capitalist countries to the extent of building an effective organization to keep the peace of the world. But certainly there is at present no clear evidence that this will be Russia's attitude. Then why do we assume that this will be Russia's attitude and thereby foreclose success and make failure inevitable? Rather we should make sure that our own people are prepared for a world organization with teeth in it, and then if this should turn out to be impossible because of the Russian attitude we shall have the satisfaction of knowing that we are not to blame. Let us take care that this time if failure comes it will not be our country which is responsible for this tragedy.

Tenth, there is also a widespread feeling that in an age of fundamental revolution it will be impossible to build a stable world organization. According to this argument revolutions and civil wars will rage in many countries when the fascists go down, and how can we build a world organization when internal governments are unstable? Now there will, of course, be revolutions and civil wars in some countries of Europe and Asia when the fascists go down, and these countries cannot expect to be admitted to a world organization until their new governments achieve stability at home. But there will be enough stable governments over the world at the end of this war to get a world-wide organization started. Then why can we not begin now to plan the structural details of such an organization? What are we waiting for?


To use Max Lerner's telling phrase, it is later than you think. Those of us who not only believe in collective security but know it is the only hope of possible peace, have a herculean task to dispel doubts, penetrate skepticism, arouse opinion, and get the public to debating concrete proposals of world organization. Our strongest argument, our unanswerable argument, is that unacceptable as collective security may seem to be, any other possible policy is even more unacceptable.

If the "big three" continue to handle this thing from on high as their own exclusive affair and set themselves up as the trustees of the millions of people who do not live in these "big" countries, then they will build a new and temporary conceit of power but not an enduring and democratic world order. If we wait until after the war, as Walter Lippmann once proposed, to let the course of events develop a world organization out of an alliance of the "big three" or the "big four," we may wait in vain. If we rest content with the mere general promise of the Moscow Conference that a world organization is to be built by the "big three" sometime in the future, we may live to repent our passivity and credulity. If we allow ourselves to be tricked into accepting as a genuine world organization what in reality is merely an alliance of the "big four" in disguise, we shall wake up some day to find that we are still living in an international anarchy where national egotism and sheer naked national power prevail.

If we do these things, we shall see, instead of the continuous development of the "big three" or the "big four" alliance into an effective world organization, the eventual break-up of that alliance and the realignment of the powers into old-fashioned balance-of-power alliances. And old-fashioned balance-of-power alliances will bring us not peace but a sword.