Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 77.djvu/410
404 THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY
Nations, General Lea says, are never stationary — they must neces- sarily expand or shrink, according to their vitality or decrepitude. Japan now is culminating; and by the fatal law in question it is im- possible that her statesmen should not long since have entered, with extraordinary foresight, upon a vast policy of conquest — the game in which the first moves were her wars with China and Eussia and her treaty with England, and of which the final objective is the capture of the Philippines, the Hawaiian Islands, Alaska and the whole of our coast west of the Sierra passes. This will give Japan what her ineluc- table vocation as a state absolutely forces her to claim, the possession of the entire Pacific Ocean; and to oppose these deep designs we Ameri- cans have, according to our author, nothing but our conceit, our igno- rance, our commercialism, our corruption, and our feminism. General Lea makes a minute technical comparison of the military strength which we at present could oppose to the strength of Japan, and concludes that the islands, Alaska, Oregon and southern California, would fall almost without resistance, that San Francisco must surrender in a fortnight to a Japanese investment, that in three or four months the war would be over, and our republic, unable to re- gain what it had heedlessly neglected to protect sufficiently, would then " disintegrate," until perhaps some Caesar should arise to weld us again into a nation.
A dismal forecast indeed ! Yet not unplausible, if the mentality of Japan's statesmen be of the Caesarian type of which history shows so many examples, and which is all that General Lea seems able to imag- ine. But there is no reason to think that women can no longer be the mothers of Napoleonic or Alexandrian characters ; and if these come in Japan and find their opportunity, just such surprises as " The Yalor of Ignorance " paints may lurk in ambush for us. Ignorant as we still are of the innermost recesses of Japanese mentality, we may be fool- hardy to disregard such possibilities.
Other militarists are more complex and more moral in their con- siderations. The " Philosophie des Krieges," by S. E. Steinmetz is a good example. War, according to this author, is an ordeal instituted by God, who weighs the nations in its balance. It is the essential form of the state, and the only function in which peoples can employ all their powers at once and convergently. No victory is possible save as the resultant of a totality of virtues, no defeat for which some vice or weakness is not responsible. Fidelity, cohesiveness, tenacity, heroism, conscience, education, inventiveness, economy, wealth, physical health and vigor — there isn't a moral or intellectual point of superiority that doesn't tell, when God holds his assizes and hurls the peoples upon one another. Die Weltgeschichte ist das Weltgericht; and Dr. Steinmetz