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STAGE SETTING FOR WAR IN THE PACIFIC
|Mileage between points is indicated by numbers on lines. The Hawaiian Islands are the base for America's first line of defense. Attu Island in the Aleutian chain is an important base. Guam is surrounded, and the Philippines cut off by the Japanese mandated island groups. Reports are that Japan has constructed strong fortifications on these islands. The Netherlands (Dutch), fearful of Japanese aggression, is fortifying the islands of the Dutch East Indies, rich with oil and other deposits. All signs point to impending conflict in the Far East.|
turning and furnish gainful employment to American citizens. The abandonment of protection to these citizens, who are looking after American business interests in foreign countries, means the collapse of this American business which, in turn, means the beginning of decay at home.
At the Versailles peace conference, President Wilson reluctantly agreed that Japan should get Kiao Chau in the Shantung Peninsula. This clause in the treaty, more than anything else, prevented its ratification by the United States Senate. American diplomacy continued to hammer on this point, and at the Washington conference forced Japan to give Kiao Chau back to China. This took from Japan her principal gain from the World War, and America became definitely recognized as the outstanding opponent of Japan's expansion policy.
The recurent international crises since the Washington Conference (1921 ) attest that an historical process or one of the great tidal surges of history is in motion in the Far East. Treaties, contracts and pacts apparently mean nothing to the Nippon if they in any way restrain him. "Asia for the Asiatics" is the new battle cry, which serves notice that all others must get out. Western civilization has lost confidence in Japanese statesmanship.
Japan signed as a member of the League of Nations, but violated the principles of the League in invading Manchuria and taking 400,000 square miles of territory from China. It repudiated its obligations in the League and withdrew from membership when the League investigation committee reported that Japan's action was pure aggression. Japan has repudiated its treaty obligations under the Washington and London conference agreements and started the world on another suicidal naval building program.
Knowing that the Western nations have not recovered economically or psychologically from the World War, Japan deems the time opportune to cast off all pretenses and openly defy the West. To make vassals of the four hundred million Chinese and to control the trade that goes with such a population are the immediate objectives.
Notwithstanding the complacency the American people, the issue between the United States and Japan is steadily approaching a crisis. The situation in the Far East has all the elements that existed in Europe on the eve of the World War. We know definitely that Japanese Imperialism will not yield. America apparently will have to choose between paying the price of war or paying the price of peace.
War comes with suddenness. The peace of the United States. or of any country, lies at the foot of some mere incident. The blowing up of a battleship sent us to war against Spain; the murder of an Archduke was the spark that set off the World War; the destruction of a bit of railroad track brought on Japan's invasion of Manchuria. There is no escaping the accidents of chance.
To read these statements, one would almost receive the impression that we are advocating war with Japan. Far from it. We merely are stating the facts. No one who knows what war is can be its advocate. The prime task of the present generation is to devise means to prevent war. This is a huge assignment but the future of civilization probably rests on its accomplishment. In the meantime we have to face existing situations. To shut our eyes and refuse to see world affairs as they are, is to court disaster. Aristotle insisted on facts and their rigid analysis, and the determination to look truth in the face. We can make no mistake in following the Aristotelian philosophy.