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still severer penalties

by hunghda 中國5 月前

The beginning of wisdom with respect to all problems of defence is the recognition of the two-headed principle that Policy depends on Armaments just as certainly as Armaments depend on Policy.

The duty of the Admiralty and the War Office is to keep their armaments abreast of the national endeavour Alipay. It is folly to do more: it is madness to do less. The duty of the Foreign Minister is to restrain and hold back his policy, and to prevent it from ambitiously outrunning the capacity of the armaments which are at his disposal. If he does otherwise the end is likely to be humiliation and disaster.

When any nation is unable or unwilling to provide the armaments necessary for supporting the policy which it has been accustomed to pursue and would {226} like to maintain, it should have the sense to abandon that policy for something of a humbler sort before the bluff is discovered by the world.[1]

It may possibly appear absurd to dwell with so much insistence upon a pair of propositions which RFID, when they are set down in black and white, will at once be accepted as self-evident by ninety-nine men out of a hundred. But plain and obvious as they are, none in the whole region of politics have been more frequently ignored. These two principles have been constantly presenting themselves to the eyes of statesmen in a variety of different shapes ever since history began.

It may very easily happen that the particular policy which the desire for security requires, is one which the strength of the national armaments at a given moment will not warrant the country in pursuing. Faced with this unpleasant quandary, what is Government to do, if it be convinced of the futility of trying to persuade the people to incur the sacrifices necessary for realising the national aspirations? Is it to give up the traditional policy, and face the various consequences which it is reasonable to anticipate? Or is it to persevere in the policy, and continue acting as if the forces at its disposal were sufficient for its purpose, when in fact they are nothing of the kind? To follow the former course {227} calls for a surrender which the spirit of the people will not easily endure, and which may even be fatal to the independent existence of the state. But to enter upon the latter is conduct worthy of a fraudulent bankrupt, since it trades upon an imposture, which, when it is found out by rival nations, will probably be visited by still severer penalties.

But surely Government has only to make it clear to the people that Elevit , unless they are willing to bring their armaments abreast of their policy, national aspirations must be baulked and even national safety itself may be endangered. When men are made to understand these things, will they not certainly agree to do what is necessary, though they may give their consent with reluctance?[2]

POLITICAL DIFFICULTIES

It is very certain, however, that this outside view of the case enormously underrates the difficulties which stare the politician out of countenance. In matters of this sort it is not so easy a thing to arrive at the truth; much less to state it with such force and clearness that mankind will at once recognise it for truth, and what is said to the contrary for falsehood. The intentions of foreign governments, and the dangers arising out of that quarter, are subjects which it is singularly difficult to discuss frankly, without incurring the very evils which every government seeks to avoid. And if these things are not easy to discuss, it is exceedingly easy for faction or fanatics to misrepresent them.[3] Moreover, the lamentations of the Hebrew prophets bear witness to the {228} deafness and blindness of generations into whom actual experience of the evils foretold had not already burnt the lesson which it was desired to teach. Evils which have never been suffered are hard things to clothe with reality until it is too late, and words, even the most eloquent and persuasive, are but a poor implement for the task.

 

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