The Japanese Menace
By Thomas F. Millard
(Editor of The China Press.)
[The Century Magazine, March 1916]
What Japan has now to do is to keep perfectly quiet, to lull the suspicions that have arisen against her and to wait, meanwhile strengthening the foundations of her national power, watching and waiting for the opportunity which must one day surely come in the Orient. When that day arrives, she will be able to follow her own course; not only able to put meddling Powers in their places, but even, as necessity arises, to meddle with the affairs of other Powers. Then truly she will be able to reap advantage for herself.—From the "Secret Memoirs of Count Hayashi," former Japanese minister for foreign affairs.
Few important issues between two major nations affect those nations exclusively or can nowadays be adjusted by those nations exclusively. This axiom expresses a condition of modern world progress which the great war has strikingly demonstrated. Issues between Japan and the United States, contacts which create these issues, and relations dependent on them cannot therefore be entirely separated from interests and policies of other nations in any comprehensive discussion. This is the broader view necessary to perspective.
Restricted to the Pacific basin, where its major elements must be worked out, the problem of the relations of Japan and the United States comprises two principal factors—direct contacts of the two governments and peoples, and conditions involved with the fate of China. Both factors are surcharged with forces making for international friction and war, yet I am amazed to find American public opinion little concerned about them. Americans are so engrossed with the terrific spectacle presented in Europe that they seem to be blind or indifferent to a more sinister and more imminent menace to our peace and security that is creeping upon us from the opposite side.
A fact which this war must have driven into all strata of popular thought in America is the fallacy of assuming that even generous motives and good intentions of one people will always be understood and accepted by another people or nation, as they are meant. As to Oriental peoples, and Japan in particular, Americans themselves know that collectively and individually we wish them well, and that neither as people or nation do we harbor any hostile thoughts or invidious designs against them. What most Americans do not comprehend is that this sincere attitude of ours means little to the Japanese, who doubt its sincerity, and do not reciprocate. To most Americans, talk of war between Japan and the United States seems foolish, because most Americans do not perceive anything to fight about; and if the purposes of Japan as a nation, and the ideals of the Japanese as a people, vis-à-vis America, complemented the sentiments of Americans, then talk about war between these nations would be foolish. It is evident, then, that whatever elements of doubt now exist about this matter lie chiefly, with Americans, in ignorance about the real motives, ambitions, and purposes of Japan. Americans understand themselves well enough, and know that nationally we have no rancor and no designs for aggression; but how about the other fellow? It takes two to make a quarrel, but one can start a fight. It may be as well to present my conclusions about some of these questions before my premises and argument, and I will summarize them as follows:
(a) Japan is making deliberate preparations in anticipation, if not actually in expectation, of a collision with the United States.
(b) Japanese popular thought and feeling have been deliberately prepared for this eventuality by the Government, and now are extremely hostile toward the United States.
(c) While Japanese statesmen have stimulated and formulated such a sentiment in Japan, a Japanese propaganda operating by various processes in America has almost succeeded in lulling our nation into a false security, and has prevented and retarded measures to prepare our nation against a clash.
(d) The fate of China, the stability of the Monroe Doctrine (now embracing the new ideal of Pan-Americanism), the balance of power in the Pacific Ocean, and whether a Yellow Peril ever will become a reality, are questions included in the outcome of the relations of Japan and the United States.
(e) The great war has destroyed the international balance of power in the far East, creating a condition disturbing the peace of that region, and by reaction also menacing the peace of America.
(f) Decided constructive action by the United States is required to recreate that balance of power in the settlement of the great war, and meanwhile this Government should strive energetically to preserve the status quo.
Put nakedly and abruptly, without the details and circumstances that build them up logically, these conclusions probably will astonish and startle Americans who have not closely followed events in the far East in the last decade. It is not feasible to give those details in this article, or to sketch more than their prominent features.
The result of the Russo-Japanese War gave Japan new outlooks, and launched her statesmen on a course of fresh ambitions. We need not revert to that war now except to mention the principal reasons Japan then gave for engaging in it, and which she used with great success to enlist the sympathy of Americans for her cause. Japan, as she told the world, went to war against Russia to preserve the independence of Korea, to maintain the "open door" in Manchuria, to assure the territorial integrity and political autonomy of China. Korea is now annexed to Japan, the "open door" in Manchuria is closed tightly, and Japan's course in the last year in attempting to bring China completely under Japan's suzerainty is too recent an event to require review. I take it that these facts will not be gainsaid now, although how Japan once denied intent to do any of those things is easily remembered; and in some cases she even officially denied the acts for some time after they were accomplished.
What I am now concerned with are Japan's governing motives in that series of acts and the violations of her solemn international obligations. For convenience, these motives may be divided as professed and real. Japan's real motives in those instances were her own national aggrandizement at the expense of weaker nations, and of strong ones, for that matter. Her professed motives varied somewhat, but in the cases of her annexation of Korea and the occupation of Manchuria, the professed motive was an alleged necessity to secure territory where Japan could send her surplus population. So persistently and with such plausibility was this idea propagated throughout the world that we find it given place in discussion of these problems by Westerners after Japan herself has abandoned it. I was surprised to notice that Mr. J. O. P. Bland, in his article in the CENTURY MAGAZINE for January, treats that pretense seriously. It is the one point where I would differ from Mr. Eland's reasoning, although I can perceive between the lines of it the restraints which his position as British subject impose at this juncture. The idea of Korea and Manchuria providing a satisfactory field for Japan's excess population is an exploded fallacy that no longer is widely entertained in Japan, and which no longer, if it ever did, has a place in Japan's genuine, as distinguished from her pretended, foreign policy.
While on this topic I may state that some, false assumptions about it are widely accepted. First, it is incorrect to say that Japan is overpopulated in a territorial sense, for a large area of the territory of Japan proper is sparsely populated, and nearly half of the arable land of Japan proper is uncultivated. It therefore is not lack of land that impels Japanese to emigrate; it is a desire for economic betterment. There is a good deal of room, expressed in land, in Korea and Manchuria. Manchuria has long been a part of China, and large parts of China are even more densely populated than Japan. Yet Chinese have not gone to Manchuria in large numbers for various reasons, among which are climate and lack of communications and security. These conditions are passing, and China now would herself like to use Manchuria for her surplus population; but when she sought a few years ago to make practical effort in that way, she was blocked by Japan: That being so, I cannot accept Mr. Bland's assumption of a sort of right for Japan to take Korea and Manchuria on those grounds. If it comes to right, then China's right should supersede Japan's, for China's need for her own undeveloped territory is fully as great. If the legality and ethics of the question are to be considered at all, then China has a prior and better claim.
But the curious, though perfectly logical, outcome of Japan's efforts to colonize in Korea and Manchuria and in other parts of China is that, notwithstanding their Government has maintained many unjust preferential conditions for them in comparison with Koreans and Chinese, Japanese immigration to the continent of Asia is a failure. The reason is simple. In going to Korea and China, Japanese find that they have transplanted themselves to an even lower standard of living than obtains in Japan; that is, to a more cramped economic field, not a wider one. Japanese cannot, even with preferential facilities, compete in large numbers with their neighbor Orientals. Chinese and Koreans are able to, and do, undercut Japanese in business economies and standards of living. Preferential exactions in their behalf by their Government enables some Japanese, perhaps a few tens of thousands, to improve their state slightly by pursuing commercial and other occupations in China; but to the millions of Japan's peasantry China offers no lure and little opportunity for betterment.
The application of this situation to Japan's contacts with America is obvious. It is not toward the East, with its lower economic level, that Japan's millions yearn; but toward the West, with its higher economic standards, under which Japanese of all classes can cut and still find room for an immense improvement of their condition. This explains the Japanese effort to retain their position in California, Japan's tentative approaches in Mexico and other American countries; in fact, it provides the key to one phase of Japan's attitude toward the United States. In the last few years two points have taken clear shape in Japanese minds; Korea and China do not provide a satisfactory outlet for them, and the only really desirable field for emigration (North and South America) is barred to them by the United States.
I am surprised at the seeming indifference of our citizens to this supremely grave issue that confronts our nation, at their apparent failure to realize that it exists, at their supreme assurance in their own point of view and their comparative indifference to the Japanese point of view. Americans know that they have no thought of aggressing upon or attacking Japan, and they take for granted that Japanese have no thought of attacking them. Americans feel no reason why they should attack or aggress on Japan, and they jump to the conclusion that therefore Japan has no reason to attack us. Yes, I know the stock arguments and formulas of Japan's publicity propaganda in this country. They run like this: Japanese friendship for America is traditional; trade between Japan and the United States is large, and therefore precludes a conflict; Japan is too poor to make war even if she wanted to; Japan is bound by treaties to respect the "open door" and the integrity of China; Japan intends to assure those conditions by formulating a "Monroe Doctrine" for the Orient; in respect to the question of status of Japanese in the United States, Japan seeks only recognition of the principle of equality of treatment for Japanese already in this country, and is abiding by the so-called "gentlemen's agreement"; Japan desires only to cooperate with America in protecting and developing China; and any who argue or show facts to the contrary are "irresponsible" persons trying to "make trouble."
All of these arguments are fallacious in hypothesis, and most of them are untrue as to fact. As to the oft-repeated idea that Japan's trade with the United States precludes thought of war on her part, it is sufficient to recall that, a few weeks before the great war in Europe started, a prominent German statesman cited the vast commerce between Germany and England as a reason why those nations never could become enemies, while the truth was that the very magnitude and complexity of those relations, with their incidental competitive features were among the chief causes of this war. And such conditions will be among the chief causes of future wars. Japan's "traditional" friendship for America is worth as much as is her traditional friendship for China or as any international traditional friendship is; while the fact is that just now the Japanese feel a very lively antipathy and contempt for this country, its institutions and its citizens, and by a calculated process have been educated to regard our nation as Japan's next antagonist in the series of wars required to establish the hegemony of the far East and the mastery of the Pacific in Japan's keeping. Japan's poverty and near-bankruptcy, instead of being a conclusive restraint, is one of her chief reasons for going to war; for she is grinding her people with taxation to maintain large military and naval establishments with the expectation of recouping at the expense of rich and helpless nations. Japan professes to adhere to the "open door" policy, but she strangles it in every way she can. Japan, for effect in America, likens her policy toward China to the Monroe Doctrine, whereas it is the absolute antithesis of the Monroe Doctrine both in hypothesis and working method. Japan pretends that the "point of honor" is her sole concern in the California issue; but in reality the Japanese are resolved to force their way into the Western Hemisphere by arms, if they can, provided they cannot accomplish it by diplomacy.
To repeat, there are two grave issues between Japan and the United States, the fate of China and Japanese immigration to the Americas. This latter issue does not touch the United States exclusively, but also all our neighbor republics to the south. This brings in both the old Monroe Doctrine and the new Pan-Americanism, for a Japanese colonization of countries on this hemisphere, in its political and economic reactions, would affect the United States scarcely less than a Japanese colonization of our own States. To Americans this issue probably will seem more important than the fate of China, although it is not really so. It is nearer, anyhow, and therefore looms larger.
Let us strip the immigration issue to the bone, and see what it amounts to. There are two distinct points of view, Japan's and ours. Americans pretty well understand their own. It is briefly: Orientals have lower economic standards than ours, and therefore disturb our earning and living conditions; they have different political and religious ideas, which cannot easily be adjusted to ours; they have different racial and social characteristics, and therefore cannot be assimilated into our social body. So we cannot endure their presence here in large numbers.
Japan's point of view is merely that her people want to come to Western countries and to have the same rights and opportunities here that others have. The real pressure behind this desire I have already indicated, and it is a condition that cannot be ameliorated by arguments, or satisfied by concessions to "honor." In support of her point of view, Japan advances certain arguments, some of which seem plausible at first blush, but all of which are inconsistent in some degree, and almost wholly irreconcilable with what our nation can possibly concede. Japan insists that her subjects shall have the same position and rights in the United States as, let us say, Englishmen or Dutch or French or Germans. That seems fair enough, but consider. With whom does it rest to say who shall and who shall not join in our nationality, share our political and social life? With this nation, of course. To submit that decision in any part to a foreign nation would mean to qualify our sovereignty. I am not arguing that Japanese should be excluded, I only contend that Americans have the exclusive right to decide the conditions of citizenship and residence in their own country. A good deal can be said in favor of the Japanese even as residents of this nation. That is not the question between the two nations. We reserve to ourselves the right to exclude or admit whom we will, according to standards of citizenship which we make for ourselves. From this position, I am sure, Americans cannot be budged except by superior force of arms.
The small group of intelligent statesmen who control the Japanese Government understand this perfectly, yet they keep the question alive. It is inconsistent for any nation to try to force its subjects or citizens upon other nations, thus to expatriate them. Are Japanese immigrants to America so undesirable that their own Government should want to get rid of them by converting them into American citizens? Take it another way. From remarks recently made in this country by Baron Shibusawa, Japan does not care about her subjects becoming naturalized in this country, for thereby they would be lost to Japan, if their change was genuine, but only wants them to be treated like other foreigners. Here, again, America's answer necessarily is that she herself must reserve and exercise the right to discriminate among foreigners, according to circumstances. Our general immigration laws are a long list of discriminations; furthermore, Japan herself imposes, in that country, nearly the same disabilities on foreigners to which she objects here.
Does not this brief analysis suggest that behind Japan's outward position there is a deeper motive? It is clear that no concession that it is possible for the United States to make, without qualifying its internal sovereign powers, can meet what Japanese really want to obtain. So here we have a dead-lock, which can be loosened only by one side receding or by a fight.
It would seem, I grant, that no nation in Japan's position would be mad enough to try to force this legally untenable issue with another great nation; yet the present tone of the Japanese press and recent utterances of Japanese leaders and statesmen show plainly that the thought is seriously entertained, and furthermore that they think the hour has come to force it. With Japanese the feeling is now or never.
To comprehend Japan's point of view, it is necessary to understand her true relation to the great war, in which she is nominally a participant on the side of the Allies. To Japan the great war spelled opportunity, as predicted by Count Hayashi when he wrote, "She will be able to reap advantage for herself." And she has been a diligent reaper, too; but she has not yet got all her reapings safely housed, nor is she yet convinced. that the opportunity is exhausted.
I was in China when the war began and until recently, and I was a close observer of events. It was well understood that the British in China were opposed to Japan's participation at that time and tried to prevent it; but when Japan showed determination to enter, Great Britain was constrained outwardly to welcome her as an ally, and sent a detachment of British troops to take part in the operations against Tsingtau. That was intensely irritating to Japan, whose statesmen and publicists well understood the distrust that prompted Great Britain's action, and the feeling was so strong that the position of the small British force with the expedition was very unpleasant. However, Britain saved her point by technically joining in the Tsingtau venture, and thereby taking title to have a say in the eventual disposal of the place and the settlement of questions that inevitably would arise. Japan's subsequent course in China further strained British susceptibilities, but the exigencies of the European War imposed outward harmony. As time passed, the possibility of Japan sending troops to aid the Allies in Europe was broached, and as far back as a year ago means of compensating Japan were discussed, one proposal being to cede her a piece of territory in French Indo-China. Great Britain, which power has special reasons for not caring to enhance an Oriental nation's military prowess with her own Oriental subjects, has opposed the use of Japanese troops in Europe, India, and Egypt. The allied powers have few delusions about Japan's motives and attitude. They know that if Japan sends troops to Europe, she will want large compensation, and they also know that there is only one form of compensation that will satisfy Japan and which the allied powers can possibly deliver.
Japan's price for sending troops to Europe is a free hand in China and the northern Pacific. There you have it. Put another way, that means that the Allies, having no assets of their own to give Japan that would be worth anything to her, might in extremity allow Japan to take her chief pay from China. Such a course would mean a considerable sacrifice of British and French interests and prestige in the far East, a price that will not be paid except as a last resort. It would mean, also, that the interests and prospects of the United States, under the Hay Doctrine, would also be part of the compensation to Japan. If such a deal is made, the United States will not be consulted, but will be left to discover it, as it discovers most lessons of the war, in the "logic of events." I take it that few people in America caught the real significance of a news despatch out of Washington, published recently in the newspapers, of a plan to have China join the allied combination. This suggestion caused a furor in Japan, where the press violently assailed it as a blow at Japan, which it really was, being a device to protect British and French interests in China against the insidious machinations of Japan during the course of the war. Of course China's participation would not be felt either way in the military and naval operations, and the scheme did not contemplate her active participation.
This glance at the inner motives, the "wheels within wheels" of present-day far Eastern diplomacy, may illuminate Japan's actual international position. It is precarious, to say the least. Opportunity looms large for her, but it may pass before she can completely seize it, and there is a possibility that even what she has gained may be taken away when the war ends unless she can better secure it. The period from the present to the end of the war marks, perhaps, the crisis of Japan's national existence as a world power, when she must either firmly grasp her opportunity and fortify her position or see her vaulting ambitions fade forever. By the same tokens, this period must also be a critical one in relations between Japan and the United States.
The determining factors can be recounted succinctly. For years Japan, anticipating this crisis, has strained every resource to be prepared for it, has feverishly and as secretly as was possible pushed her naval and military expansion, while using devices to restrain similar development by the United States. The margin of proportion in America's favor was narrowing rapidly when the great war came, and a few years more would probably have seen it closed, and swung to Japan's side. Because of the war, much has happened to upset previous calculations, and of these new developments none is more important to Japan than what is called the preparedness movement in this country. If any adequate defensive program goes through, based on recognition of existing conditions among nations, then Japan's hope .of slipping by America in armed power without this nation knowing or thinking about it is disappointed. Certain conditions and proportions now existing never may occur in combination again.
To put it flatly, Japan has betrayed Great Britain in China, and the only thing that will prevent collapse of the Anglo-Japanese alliance after this war is because Great Britain cannot then find the necessary equivalent of support elsewhere. The true interest and equity of all the Western powers in China is to sustain the "open door" and the national stability of China. Japan has recently made some kind of secret trade with Russia to offset the expected defection of Great Britain; but well she knows that is an unstable and insecure dependency. After the war, Japan faces the (to her) terror of international isolation, with the consequences of her diplomatic obliquity reacting upon her, and extinguishing forever her dream of super-greatness. Furthermore, the United States, shaken awake, will not at once go to sleep again.
In following her chosen course, Japan has adopted the old Russian theory of diplomacy, the guiding principle of which is duplicity behind a mask of amiability, while her working formula is based on German militaristic efficiency as expounded by the Bernhardi school. To-day Germany, of Western nations, represents Japan's real ideal. Although technically at war with Germany, the Japanese press teems with flattering references to that power; while in the same columns the United States, a friendly nation, is continuously and opprobriously criticized.
There is one feature of the anti-American movement in Japan that is unique, I believe. It dates from the Portsmouth treaty, when, as is popularly reckoned, President Roosevelt took a prominent part in securing peace. Behind the scenes it is well understood that the Japanese Government was anxious for peace at that time, although assuming the attitude of victors, and that Mr. Roosevelt's activity was in the nature of coming to Japan's assistance diplomatically. But the peace terms were very disappointing to the Japanese people, who had been led by their Government to expect something different and a consequence was that the meddling of the United States was blamed for robbing Japan of substantial fruits of victory. Of course the Japanese Government knew the truth, yet, with ample means to do so, it did nothing to counteract this popular impression, which obtains to this day, nourished among other sources for the prevailing dislike of America among Japanese. It is doubtful if a parallel exists in modern times for this instance of a friendly and beneficial act by one nation for another nation being deliberately used or allowed to create antagonism against the nation doing the favor.
At present, and during the remainder of the great war, the United States is exposed more than usual to an attack by Japan. Japan, because of the war, is herself freed from immediate complications; she can turn her back on Russia without alarm, and deterring influences of Great Britain and France are for the time ineffective. The United States probably is now at the minimum of its comparative armed power, and totally lacking in supports, moral and practical, from other powers, a condition not likely ever to occur again. China is helplessly weak. The Panama Canal is temporarily obstructed. The defenses of American possessions and strategical positions in the Pacific are incomplete and insufficiently supplied. Japan cannot much longer bear the burden of large armaments without courting bankruptcy. If Japan is ever to challenge this nation on the critical issues that lie between them, this to her seems to be a God-sent occasion.
There is a peaceful party in Japan, of course, which from conviction or timidity or caution or doubt is disinclined or hesitates to take such a plunge, with the consequent risk. This party has consistently opposed the nation's extraordinary armament program, and advocates a national policy based on trade and international mutuality. But this party has lost every test of strength with the imperial militarists. It does not control the policy of the Government at present, and it does not represent the inner sentiment of the Japanese nation.
Thinking Americans must begin to perceive that hereafter a policy of international isolation for our nation will be neither possible nor desirable. Our geographical isolation has been destroyed by time and science; our political and diplomatic isolation there from inevitably ceases, too. Since we cannot escape the effects of forces loose in the world, we must in self-interest, if no higher obligation is invoked, take part in regulating them. This means that no major international alliance or entente can hereafter be formed without it directly affecting our national interests and security; and a corollary of this proposition is that we probably will be forced into alliances or ententes ourselves. That condition should be squarely faced, and whatever we do or do not do by way of armaments should be predicated in some coordination of practical conditions in the world with our own national position and ambitions.
For instance, Americans cannot be unconcerned about the Anglo-Japanese Alliance and what it really means, for recent experience has again enforced the lesson that treaties may mean anything except what is written in them. There is much in constructions put by both nations on that alliance in the last few years to cause uneasiness to the United States. Yet I do not especially blame Great Britain for that. If an American reproaches a British subject with having sacrificed principles to certain expediencies of the Anglo-Japanese alliance, the Britisher can reply, with justice, that in the far East the refusal or failure of the United States to supply its quota of police power, and its consistent diplomatic support to a definite entente organized to sustain the open door in China and to suppress trouble-making ambitions of some nations there, have driven Great Britain to make what combinations she could. In the eyes of other powers the United States has been trying to avoid her share of responsibility and expense for policing the outlying districts of the world, while at the same time claiming a full share of the benefits and equal rights of participation. There is no such thing as disinterested friendship in international affairs, and moral responsibility remains nothing but a phrase unless it is translated into practical effort.
Phrases, whether embodied in treaties and communiqués or uttered in after-dinner speeches, will not solve any of the problems of the Pacific or abate the danger to America from that direction. I am sure foreigners who visit the United States on political missions are often rather dazed at our failure to understand or to be interested in what they come to say to us. Baron Shibusawa recently visited this country. He came for a purpose. He had something to communicate. In trying to do this, he was constrained by etiquette and custom to adopt the language of diplomacy, to say very important things by indirection and inference. He must have been astonished that most of his hearers did not know what he was talking about, so after a few attempts he fell back on the usual "hot air," always sure of applause. That would get attention while his serious utterances passed uncomprehended.
Baron Shibusawa himself enunciated, in his speeches and interviews while here, his mission among us, euphemistically expressed. Put plainly, he came to try to win over leading American financial interests to support Japan's policy in China. As Baron Shibusawa publicly put it, "America and Japan should cooperate in developing China." Let us see what he really means by that. Taking advantage of circumstances, Japan wrung from China last May an agreement whereby Japan, unless prevented by outside influence, can compel China to do whatever Japan wishes, under menace of force. China needs foreign capital and foreign knowledge to aid in developing her wonderful resources on modern lines, and she wants this assistance, too; but she wants it to enter China under conditions that will not qualify or limit China's sovereignty or injuriously exploit China. In that China is right. Entering China in certain forms, foreign capital is an actual menace to her national existence. Now Japan, having an "agreement" exacted from China by compulsion, virtually makes this proposition:
China will not, except under compulsion, grant preferential facilities in her territory to foreign investments and enterprises or give guaranties such as some foreign investor's desire. Great Britain and the United States, the nations to which China naturally looks for foreign advice and capital, are inhibited by their ideals from putting such compulsion on China. Japan is in a convenient position to overawe. China and exact the desired terms from her, and Japan is willing to use her power for these ends. But Japan herself cannot finance large enterprises in China. Therefore an ideal combination would be for Japan to exercise police power in China, to regulate her, and the United States and England provide the capital.
This proposition, I am reliably informed, was carried to London within a month after Japan got her so-called "agreement" signed at Peking last May; but it was coldly received, for the British foreign office fully understands what it would mean, and is not yet willing or forced to pay that price. Put sententiously, Japan's proposal means:
We will do the dirty work, and coerce China, while England and America furnish the money to exploit her.
Any one can see how this scheme would provide an attractive temporary opportunity for a small group of British and American financiers, which in the next decade or so could "clean up" a big profit at a minimum of political risk, provided their own governments would countenance the deal. But it also would mean a permanent injury to other and larger groups of British and American commerce and industry. It would mean the betrayal of China. It would, for the sake of an immediate and easy profit to a few financiers, mean the establishment of Japan in a position completely to dominate China politically and commercially, to the handicap of trade and enterprises of other foreign nations. It would mean using American capital to finance Japan's competing commercial campaign in China, instead of financing our own trade there. What has happened in Manchuria, in Korea, and is now happening in Shan-tung would happen in China as a whole. It would mean the eventual destruction of the position of Christian religious and educational work in China such as is now taking place in Korea. And, by giving Japan a virtual suzerainty over China, recognized or acquiesced in by America and Great Britain, it would in time create a real Yellow Peril, especially for us.
Baron Shibusawa's suggestion, except in isolated instances, apparently did not make much of an impression on the financial world of America, which probably does not see why it should ask Japan's permission to do dishonorably what may be done honestly and independently. But it serves to direct attention to certain circumstances of the far-Eastern situation created by the war, and to the urgent need for constructive effort to save international principles which have been considered by every American statesman of importance who has studied them to be essential to permanent peace in those regions. Those principles, and with them the interests and security of our nation, are in danger of being sacrificed to the unforeseen exigencies of this war. The United States is in a position to influence these matters if it acts, and a plan to restore a safe and just balance of power in the far East should be formulated without delay, so that it will be ready, and a measure of support assured for it, when the peace settlement comes. We hear a good deal of talk about the responsibilities of our nation in this world crisis, and the part it can take in restoring the rule of law and justice among nations, but unfortunately there is little evidence of practical effort by it in that direction. Mere opportunism will not solve these questions rightly, with due regard for our own national interest.
It is a political axiom that America, by the Perry Expedition, forever ended the isolation of Japan. There are portents that, in turn, Japan may give the shock which will forever end the international isolation of America. John Hay, the father of the Hay Doctrine for China, said: "The storm-center of the world has gradually shifted to China. Whoever understands that mighty Empire socially, politically, economically, religiously, has a key to world politics for the next five centuries."
© J. Fred MacDonald, 2013
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