Page:Frontiers.djvu/9

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7
Frontiers

sions on which in recent times (and there are earlier examples[1]) the relations between these two allied and fraternal peoples—conflict between whom would be a hideous crime—have been most perilously affected, have both been concerned with Frontier disputes—the Venezuelan and the Alaskan Boundary.

The most urgent work of Foreign Ministers and Ambassadors, the foundation or the outcome of every entente cordiale, is now the conclusion of Frontier Conventions in which sources of discord are removed by the adjustment of rival interests or ambitions at points where the territorial borders adjoin. Frontiers are indeed the razor's edge on which hang suspended the modern issues of war or peace, of life or death to nations. Nor is this surprising. Just as the protection of the home is the most vital care of the private citizen, so the integrity of her borders is the condition of existence of the State. But with the rapid growth of population and the economic need for fresh outlets, expansion has, in the case of the Great Powers, become an even more pressing necessity. As the vacant spaces of the earth are filled up, the competition for the residue is temporarily more keen. Fortunately, the process is drawing towards a natural termination. When all the voids are filled up, and every Frontier is defined, the problem will assume a different form. The older and more powerful nations will still dispute about their Frontiers with each other; they will still encroach upon

  1. For instance the questions of the San Juan Islands in the Straits of Georgia between the mainland and Vancouver's Island, which was decided by the German Emperor in 1872 in favour of the United States; and the earlier controversies about the boundaries of Oregon and Maine.