Page:Democratic Ideals and Reality (1919).djvu/14

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DEMOCRATIC IDEALS AND REALITY

Vienna in 1814 foresaw that Prussia would become a menace to the world? Is it possible for us so to grade the stream bed of future history as that there shall be no more cataracts? That, and no smaller, is the task before us if we would have posterity think less meanly of our wisdom than we think of that of the diplomats of Vienna.

The great wars of history—we have had a world-war about every hundred years for the last four centuries—are the outcome, direct or indirect, of the unequal growth of nations, and that unequal growth is not wholly due to the greater genius and energy of some nations as compared with others; in large measure it is the result of the uneven distribution of fertility and strategical opportunity upon the face of our Globe. In other words, there is in nature no such thing as equality of opportunity for the nations. Unless I wholly misread the facts of geography, I would go further, and say that the grouping of lands and seas, and of fertility and natural pathways, is such as to lend itself to the growth of empires, and in the end of a single World Empire. If we are to realise our ideal of a League of Nations which shall prevent war in the future, we must recognise these geographical realities and take steps to