in the inevitable new alignment of European influence and power, a doctrine of Great British diplomacy may arise akin to that so notorious as of Monroe. It would mean a policy of “policing” applied to the eastern continent, and its similarity to our own benevolent protectorate would be pronounced, since very recently the United States has been joined by the strong and self-sustaining republics of South America, Brazil, Chile, and the Argentine. In effect we have become merely primus inter pares on this side of the Atlantic, and that would be the position of Britain upon the other.
Because of her vastly preponderant sea-power Great Britain would be able to enforce virtually whatever police authority she desired to assume. Her assumption of permanent leadership, certain to be resented and opposed if by a premature and unnatural patching up of amicable relations, the old antagonistic order were resumed, would be concurred in, not only by the partners of the present alliance, but by the feebler nations, who would further it cordially, for economy, for safety, for practicability; but only in the event of the establishment of a new order founded upon an enduring equity.
How then will it be possible and practicable to ensure equity? Eventually upon Great Britain alone will rest the supreme responsibility. In conjunction with her allies the rights, obligations, and privileges of nations and races will be readjusted on the European continent; but her interest extends, and her power for good or evil, throughout the world. In the past (as history amply testifies) British greed has seldom been thwarted very seriously by British sentiment. Either by conquest or artifice she has proceeded slowly but surely in the process of “benevolent assimilation” of alien and often unwilling peoples. At the time of the conclusion of the present war numerous and plausible excuses will not be lacking for a continuance of this deplorable policy. Such a course, not unjustifiable as applied—in the interests of civilization—to barbaric tribes, would be wholly inapplicable and inequitable arbitrarily enforced against Germany’s colonies. Most certainly the extension of dominion by right of conquest over East and West Africa would dissipate at once ideas of enduring equity conditioning any leadership of a “posse comitatus.” No movement towards a new and true order of national and racial relations will be possible unless from the very first any selfish policy of spoliation is repudiated.
Apart from those highly proper exactions in way of repayment for injury and destruction (as to which the common consent of mankind will be freely accorded) no excessive or wanton tribute should be imposed upon the German people. Whatever form of government, retained, accepted, or set up externally or internally, by or for Germany, the German people should be encouraged to restore as speedily as possible for themselves their own prosperity.