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The New International, August 1944

Douglas Ellis

The Post-War Planners

“Peace Plans” and Historical Realities


From The New International, Vol. X No. 8, August 1944, pp. 251–257.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


As one surveys the voluminous and constantly developing literature dealing with post-war planning for “international security,” durable peace, etc., one can not help but be impressed by certain qualities characterizing a great deal of what passes for economic, social, and political thinking. No one can doubt the honest desire on the part of many of these contributors toward the attainment of a peaceful world (what sane person, after all, ever prefers chaos to order?), but noble intentions or pious wishes have never been adequate substitutes for accurate information and reasoned judgment Much of the literature is distinguished by the following characteristics: spurious “realism,” distortions and rationalizations of history, fallacious argumentation, and vague utopianisms.

These intellectual derelictions are not limited to the plans of any particular political party, social class, or economic group; they are also present in the specific programs of social and political reorganization as developed, for example, by such individuals as Winston Churchill, Clarence Streit and the Fortune editors (Anglo-American hegemony); Walter Lippman (American-English-Russian “nuclear” alliance); Wendell Wilkie and Henry Wallace (“One-World” organization of senior and junior partners); Otto Mallery (Economic Union); Ely Culbertson (Regional Federation and International Police-Force); Norman Angell (Protective Internationalism); Cannally-Fullbright-Ball (collective security declarations and commitments); George Jaffin (Western Hemisphere Security); or Nicholas Spykman (The American “Manifest Destiny” idea).

This literature dealing with post-war planning is written by and addressed to those politically-minded Americans who are either “isolationists” or “internationalists.”

Types of Isolationists

There are five types of isolationists at the present time. First, those who feel that we ought to exploit the potentialities of the home market before engaging again in imperialistic ventures abroad and to fulfill the “American Dream” by making this country an example to the rest of the world of economic, social and political democracy. The rationale behind such ideas is developed, among others, by LaFollette and the Wisconsin Progressives. The second group may be called “Hemisphere isolationists”; they see limitless economic and cultural possibilities in an organized and self-contained economy among the peoples of the Western hemisphere. Some of their plans envisage the inclusion of Canada within this orbit; others would limit the plans only to the Americas. The economic ideas of this group (Glenn Clark, Louis Corey, George Jaffin, William H. Chamberlin) are similar to those developed before the war by Peter Drucker, Neil Jacoby, and Stuart Chase. The third group are the partial isolationists who, while agreeing in some respects with the first two groups, would engage in economic and political relations with the rest of the world, but would determine our international policies on the basis of specific conditions only, and would not, therefore, hazard our interests in blanket commitments. The most prominent representatives of this group are Charles Beard and his followers. The “American Century” group constitutes the fourth type of isolationists. At times it speaks in vague terms of Anglo-American cultural ties, but its actual programs, as advocated by the various Luce editors of Fortune and Time, are excellent examples of “benevolent” imperialism under the guise o£ “national interest.” Their real policy of making America the dominant economic and political power after the war naturally attracts those commercial and financial interests eager to supplant British capital as a world power. The recent revelations of Anglo-American conflict in the rubber, oil, and tin markets, in the fields of aviation and merchant marine are indications of present and future economic struggles and apparent confirmation of this group’s desire to make America the dominant power of the world. For theory of rampant, unabashed American imperialism the reader can best refer to the writing of Nicholas Spykman. The fifth is a conglomerate group, possessed of no reasoned economic or political philosophy. It includes the pre-Pearl Harbor isolationist congressmen generally associated with the America First Committee who are once more employing cliches like “national sovereignty,” “no entangling alliances,” and “inviolability of our Monroe Doctrine”; the chronic Anglo-and-Russophobes still disseminating old prejudices and suspicions; and the “Undercover” ideological saboteurs, trying desperately to effect an Allied rift so as to save their totalitarian associates abroad.

In the interventionist camp we have at least seven types. First, the economic and financial groups who speak in terms of the 19th century concepts of “free enterprise,” “free markets,” etc., and who recognize the necessity of making “certain” concessions to smaller nations and colonials so as to facilitate our business interests both at home and abroad. The ideological formulations of this group are summarized in the slogans, “the common man,” “one world,” the “people’s war.” Its spokesmen are Willkie, Lippman, Welles, and Wallace. The next group of self-appointed educators and moralists, book reviewers, columnists, and psychiatrists turned historians whose messianic “plans” for post-war Germany and Japan run the gamut from vindictive dismemberment and physical destruction to “corrective education” according to our standards. A third group of interventionists is found in the Communist Party with its ubiquitous committees, leagues, and “fellow-travelers” acting as perennial apologists for Russian internal and foreign policies. The four remaining groups consist of propagandists for the different Allied nations, large and small; of public relations experts of former Axis partners who are making strenuous efforts to ingratiate themselves into American public opinion; of political refugees of lost portfolios and of various tendencies discredited by historical developments of the past twenty years who offer their plans of revived French and Weimar Republics, Baltic blocs, and Danubian federations in order to regain their own lost prestige; and finally of the great masses of people, sick and tired of economic insecurity and war, and whose deep desires are reflected in their support of what to them seem like panaceas; regional or federal associations, neo-leagues of nations, world federations, and forces of an international police.

The “Realists”

In the first place, the literature, speeches, and statements of all these groups of isolationists and interventionists are replete with warnings about the necessity of “realism,” “hard-headedness,” justifiable “force” and “practicality.” The underlying assumption seems to be that having already tried idealism or reason, and having found these inadequate if not disastrous, we are now to attempt power-politics, tempered, of course, by democratic imperatives. This “realistic” mood which pervades the world today can be explained as a great wave of counter-reaction to the crisis history of the past twenty-five years: the disillusionment and cynicism since the last war as a result of the disappointing Versailles Treaty, the failure of the old balance-of-power politics, the European defaulting on American loans, the historical and literary works revealing the imperialistic background of the war, and the alleged culpability of our Allies in inveigling us into their struggles, the misinterpreted psychological schools of “instinctivism” and psychoanalysis with their emphasis on the irrational impulses of man, the failures of the League of Nations in stopping war, the debacles of the 2nd and Srd Internationals, the Great Depression, the political developments within Russia, the totalitarian aggressions, the appeasements and capitulations of the democracies, the political ineffectualness of the Marxian tendencies, and the Second World War. These are the various forces which have generated a mood among all people today, expressing itself in such terms as, “We’re not going to be played for suckers any more,” or “This time it is going to be different.” It is this reaction of “realism” which explains to a great extent the interest among many people in the Neo-Machiavellians, Mosca, Pareto, and Michels or in their popularizers, Burnham, Hook, and Nomad.

However, while no one can question the integrity of these grim determinations, there seems to be an accompanying stridency which only succeeds in revealing an underlying uncertainty and insecurity. If one examines the writings of the isolationists and interventionists carefully, one will find so many “if’s,” “should’s,” and “perhaps’s” as to negate almost completely the projected social, political, and economic blueprints. This almost sub-conscious doubt and skepticism which haunts the contemporary mind in spite of (or which helps to explain) its preoccupation with global peace and security has been described with great power in the recent confessionals of Arthur Koestler.

For further examples of this intellectual and moral confusion one has only to turn to some of our leading molders of public opinion, the newspaper and radio commentators, especially such liberal interventionists as Dorothy Thompson, Raymond Clapper, William Shirer, Samuel Grafton, and Edgar Mowrer. It is among them that one finds the anxious but futile attempts to reconcile their democratic sentiments with the harsh realities of military exigencies, of inter-allied economic and political conflicts, and of governmental policies in connection with liberated territories. Edgar Mowrer, for example, (one could use the editorial comments of The Nation or the New Republic or PM as illustrative material) will write trenchant articles, one day critical of the ruthless power-politics of our Senate or State Department, of Churchill, Stalin, or Chiang Kai-shek, and of our opportunistic maneuvers with totalitarian groups in France or Italy; and on the following day he will demonstrate by some curious logic that if only the major powers could effect a global police force, we would be on the road to peace. Apparently, in politics unlike mathematics, the whole is not the sum of its parts.

To take one more example: the liberal publications mentioned above were obviously unaware of their ludicrous position when they continued to inform the President about the “Vichy-minded” members of the State Department or to advise him against sending Secretary Hull to Moscow, implying that President Roosevelt is either a political illiterate or that the State Department functions as some autonomous body unrelated to American class interests, to economic or political commitments, or to national security. As a matter of fact, there was so little evidence of the realism which these writers boast of, they actually believed before the Moscow Conference that the future of the whole world depended upon the mere presence or absence in Russia of one individual, Cordell Hull. We were only recently informed by Arthur Krock that the program of the Moscow Conference, which the liberals are still hailing, was not only drafted in Washington but that it was supervised by the Secretary himself.

The Democratic Community

In the second place, the position taken by many isolationists is weakened considerably by their misconception of the term “sovereignty” and by their rationalizations of history in order to substantiate their present political programs. Many isolationists subscribe to a monistic theory of sovereignty which justifies the absoluteness of the state in subordinating the will of all other organized groups within it (social, economic, religious, etc.). What they seem to be unaware of is that with the demise of feudalism, there occurred not only a shift of sovereign rights from divine monarchy to secular governments, i.e., “legal” sovereignty, but that this legal sovereignty, in turn, was supposed to symbolize the administrative expression of actual or “political” sovereignty, the democratic community. It was this transference of political power which provided the “pluralistic” theorists of sovereignty (in contradistinction to the “monists”) with historical justification for their attacks upon the absolute supremacy of the state. What is involved here is more than a discussion of juridical niceties, for once the political and moral validity of community sovereignty is accepted, it may be argued within the confines of bourgeois, academic theory that the community and its laws are precedent to the state itself which is subject to those laws as is any other institution of society.

With regard to the problem of international law and security, the community theory would mean that if the popular will should decide upon the inability of the state (for various reasons, military, geographic, etc.) to protect its citizens against foreign aggression, it has the democratic right to seek for international instrumentalities which can guarantee its security. Under such theory, geographic sovereignty, constitutional limitations, Senatorial prerogatives, Executive powers, etc., (the subject-matter usually debated when this whole issue is under discussion) become purely secondary matters, since what has to be argued is the will of the community. It is not the virtues of either the monistic or the pluralistic theories which are being presented here for consideration (neither one, of course, ever comes to grips with the class nature of the State), but the apparent inability of the isolationists either to discuss the underlying principles of their doctrine or to draw the logical conclusions from it.

As for the isolationist’s rationalizations or pure distortions of history, these concern themselves generally with “our traditional policies,” the “sacred advice of the Founding Fathers” (Washington’s Farewell Address), Jefferson’s opinion on “alliances,” and the “accurate” interpretation of the Monroe Doctrine. What is conveniently overlooked are the following: (1) the “Farewell Address” is historically and geographically limited by the conditions of “our detached and distant situation,” but Washington could visualize such situations which might necessitate making “temporary alliances for extraordinary occasions” (italics mine). (2) Jefferson favored alliances that would strengthen the U.S., e.g. (a) his opinion on Anglo-American joint action against the threat to the Americas of the Holy Alliance; (b) his proposal to the European Powers with regard to action against the Barbary States; and (c) his deep concern lest Napoleon conquer England, an act which could not “be to our interest.” (3) When the isolationists quote the Monroe Doctrine in their defense, no reference is ever made to President’s first draft which shows a much deeper concern over European history than is revealed in the final document (Secretary of State John Quincy Adams being responsible for the alterations). But even here there is an interest in wars abroad which can “invade” and “menace” American rights. Moreover, Monroe places the developments of the Western Hemisphere in their proper perspective by showing how these are America’s primary concern only because this country was “more immediately connected” with them. Surely no one can deny that today the United States is more immediately connected with an interdependent world than it was in 1823. (4) The whole defense of “our traditional policies” of isolationism breaks down further, in the face of such events as our War of 1812, the Mexican War, the Spanish-American, Philippine and World Wars, not to mention our action in China and in the Pacific islands. Finally, it neglects to take into account not only the opinions concerning our relations with Europe of the leading political figures like Clay, Webster and others, but the intense interest taken by the American people during the 19th century in the European revolutionary and progressive movements and in the assistance rendered even by our government to political refugees.

The interventionists are also contributing their share of historical distortions in order to defend their present proposals. What is especially annoying, even though understandable, about such actions, is not only motivating factors like sheer ignorance, illogical thinking, or willful deception in order to further specific interests but the implied priggishness and arrogance, the feeling of Allied moral and nationalistic superiority over the German and Japanese people (yesterday it included the Italians). There is a very definite attempt to rewrite both the histories of the Allied and Axis nations so as to create first an impression of our traditional nobility, our freedom from complicity in the rise of European and Asiatic totalitarianism, and second, a feeling of their unregenerate wickedness.

Historical Distortions

Let us look more closely at the nature of these distortions: first, there is a complete disregard for factual material; second, there is the promulgation of partial truths; and third, there is the confusing of historiography with animistic thinking. Space permits only a few examples.

As to the first method of distorting: (1) Both Walter Lippmann and Norman Angell have given interpretations of Anglo-American relations during the 19th century, especially in connection with the Monroe Doctrine, which are not substantiated by history. These writers attempt to defend the position that American security and the inviolability of the Monroe Doctrine have been guaranteed by British sea power. We are given the impression that the U.S. and England have enjoyed the benefits of what some commentators are referring to as our “unwritten alliance for over a hundred years.” Actually there were during this period Anglo-American conflicts over Oregon and California in Polk’s administration, over Venezuela in Cleveland’s administration, over British support of the Confederacy, and over their seizures of American cargoes during Wilson’s term in office. As for the Monroe Doctrine, it was England which violated it by her occupation of Vera Cruz while we were engaged in the Civil War. (2) Norman Angell dismisses as mere “scapegoat” psychology the idea that it was the “armament makers, international bankers, and Wall Street,” who are responsible for war. At no point does he present any historical data to refute the voluminous material at our disposal which substantiates the real existence of the above-mentioned “scapegoats.” His statements, therefore, must be considered as mere assertions. What are his specific answers to such information regarding the role of the armament interests as one finds, for instance, in Seldes’ Iron, Blood and Profits, Engelbrecht and Hanighen’s Merchants of Death, the Nye Committee Reports, or Beard’s The Devil Theory of War? As for the questions of the economic causes, American Loans, and British propaganda in this country during the last war (the last of which Angell denies), what of the writings by the “war guilt” historians, Fay, Barnes, Tansill; by Burtz on British propaganda, and what of the roles of Colonel House, McAdoo, and Lansing in connection with the “Wall Street” interests or of Woodrow Wilson’s own statements concerning the background of the last war?

As an example of the second type of historical distortion, namely, the promulgation of partial truths: (1) Norman Angell says: “wars arise from conflicts of nationalism rather than of rival economic interests” (referring to the conditions preceding the present war). He omits to mention, of course, statements to the contrary contained in the debates on foreign policy in Parliament since 1936 and in articles by such British figures as Sir Herbert Samuel, Sir Samuel Hoare, Sir George Paish, George Lansbury, and others. Angell belongs to “the new school” of historians who attempt to stress the “complexity” of causal factors in the maladjustments of society, war in particular. These writers employ these two contradictory methods. On the one hand, in order to correct the oversimplified approach of attributing the cause of war to mere economic factors, they show the inadequacy of such analysis and at the same time create the impression of “complexity” by mechanically itemizing a number of causes such as nationalism, insecurity, imperialism, high tariffs, frustration, etc. It is impossible to take such “factors” pot-pourri seriously, since at no point is there an attempt made to determine primary and secondary factors, to establish correlations, or to analyze casual relationships. On the other hand, these historians will abstract out of context some single factor like “high tariffs” or “nationalism” and invest it with “primary” or “basic” importance in contributing to war.

Instead of recognizing that they are dealing with multiple interacting conditions all constituting the culture pattern of our capitalist society, the historians present us with isolated factors. It is not the whole organically integrated pattern which is challenged, but this monopoly, that cartel or those tariff regulations.

(2) Angell maintains that England fought Germany during the last war, as well as the present one, merely to prevent German domination and not because of any “inner compulsion” of her capitalist economy; furthermore, England does not “own” her empire, but she only “governs” (Let the People Know and Shall We Writers Fail Again?, Saturday Review of Literature, March 20, 1943). And Dorothy Thompson informs us that “the British Empire was expanded more by the attraction of its generally benevolent power to protect than created by brute force. Her balance-of-power gave most of the world the highest measure of peace since Roman days” (The Only Road to Peace, American Mercury, Dec. 1943.)

Partial Truths About Imperialism

Such examples of partial truths as these omit to tell us that (a) “outer compulsions” or British defenses against German aggressions were only the end products of historical developments beginning in the 16th century. British defense of her empire in 1939 was a struggle to hold on to what had been accumulated by conquest, ruthless exploitation, and monopolistic imperialism (i.e., “inner compulsions” of capitalism); (b) the British Empire did “protect,” of course, but only that which it owned and controlled. Whenever it did not use its own “force,” it paid large subsidies to other powers to do the fighting. It was her tremendous wealth which enabled her subsidized governments and mercenaries to bring “peace.” But one should always ask, “peace for whom and on what basis?” or “protection” of whose interests and directed against what offenders?” (c) the British Empire cannot be viewed from a purely legalistic angle of “owning” or “governing” but it must be looted at from the standpoint of a global business enterprise with all that this entails, senior and junior partners (the British Isles and the Dominions), exploited laborers (the colonies, etc.). Angell, furthermore, does not take into consideration one of the most significant developments of our times, the relationship between ownership and control, which has been dealt with so fully by many economists and sociologists.

(3) As to our own history: The interventionists have been presenting us lately with rather slick versions of our refusal to enter the League of Nations. Woodrow Wilson has emerged as the purest of idealists who was frustrated in his plans for a peaceful world by his political opponents, the villains being the U.S. Senators, especially Mr. Lodge. That the Senate, as well as Mr. Lodge, fought our entry into the League is a fact. That many of the reasons adduced at the time in behalf of isolation were foolish and even fantastic, no one can deny. But a complete picture of the struggle between President Wilson and his opponents would have to include these additional facts: (a) his tactless statements a few weeks before the Armistice about the Republican leaders in Congress, his concessions to Lloyd George and Clemenceau, and his ignoring of Republican leaders in appointing the American commissioners to Europe in spite of his own friends’ advice to the contrary; (b) the Republican victories in the congressional elections of November 1918, and the public repudiation of the League despite Wilson’s personal appeal throughout the country, all of which ought to correct the present impression that he was defeated by a few vindictive or short-sighted senators alone; (c) the general post-war apathy of the American people who were eager to resume their peace-time existence; (d) the experiences of our soldiers whose disillusioning contacts with the English and French made them realize that we were not wanted in Europe after the war and that we were constantly being accused of wanting to dominate the affairs of the old world; (e) the opinions of many Americans that the provisions of the Versailles Treaty were unjust and that not only had we no moral right to underwrite them but that in making ourselves permanent partners in a League which guaranteed the hegemony of England and France, we were paving the way for future wars and (f) the feeling of many influential groups that the interests of American capitalism in Europe could be best served by economic and not “legal” intervention.

In their eagerness to convince American public opinion of the virtues of “intervention,” many writers and speakers (Willkie, Welles, and others) are creating the impression that had the U.S. not followed its policy of “isolation,” it could have helped avert the present war. Such complete oversimplification of American foreign policy does not begin to tell the whole story. (The American people have taken the deepest interest in the plight of the European and Asiatic masses, sending them at various times during the past twenty years or so, great quantities of food, clothing, and medical supplies. Nothing is ever mentioned of democratic American opinion and activity in behalf of the Axis victims, Ethiopia, China, and Spain.) Moreover the oversimplified picture of the interventionists ignores the tremendous American investments and interests all over the world, not to mention such government-supported ventures as the Dawes and the Young Plans; and from a purely political-military angle it fails to take into account the Washington Treaties of 1922 concerning the Far East the Washington and London Conferences, the Kellogg Pact, etc., in connection with armament reductions, and our active participations at the various conferences of the League of Nations. It should also be noted that it was not merely our absence from the League which gave the Axis powers a free hand in aggression. They could have been stopped very easily in the early Thirties by England, France and Russia, had these powers “chosen” to do so.

Rewriting Russian History

The most fully-developed attempt on the part of writers, columnists and commentators to rewrite history is seen in connection with Russia. People like Harry E. Barnes, Raymond Swing, Dorothy Thompson, Bernard Pares, Harold Laski, Max Lerner, Barton Parry, and others have contributed to a type of historical distortion which in its own modest way can be compared almost to the brash “Stalin School of Falsification.” Some of the more glaring examples concern themselves with proving that (a) Russia has always honored its treaties, (b) the Russian and American Revolutions are comparable phenomena, in that each developed into “strong nationalisms” and that the re-christened Ivan the Fourth has become a folk hero similar to our own George Washington or Abraham Lincoln, (c) the GPU is merely a police force like the FBI. (d) the Russian masses enjoy absolute religious freedom and economic democracy, (e) Russia has always championed the rights of oppressed peoples, especially the victims of fascism, (f) Russia’s territorial claims upon Poland have both an ethnic and historical justification, and (g) the present Allied coalition is a vindication of Russia’s earlier proposal for collective security which could have prevented war, etc., etc.

The third kind of historical falsification that is practiced by isolationist and interventionist alike is the substitution of animistic thinking for historiography, the kind of primitive pre-logical thinking which is rooted in awe, in panic, in general ignorance before an incomprehensible problem. The despotism of the Nazis and the paralyzing assault of the Axis took their toll not only of their immediate victims but of otherwise sane “thinkers” thousands of miles away. It was a comparatively easy matter during peace to observe that modern wars are the result of a decadent society; economic injustices, social insecurity, political strife; and that such conditions in turn give rise to scapegoat psychologies and rampant nationalisms feeding upon mass frustrations and humiliations, etc.

But when war and its attendant hysteria breaks upon us, our “historians” forget their previous analyses and revert to primitivism. Whole nations and races are accused of being afflicted with evil spirits; wars are now caused by “bad men,” by demoniac forces plotting, as in the case of Germany, conspiracies which go back a “thousand years.” The Germans suffer from a “superman” complex, from masochistic compulsions, from “paranoic” and “schizoid” tendencies. All the Japanese (or “Sneakanese”) are “savages,” “subhuman,” and “monkeymen.” Before the Italians became “co-belligerents” they were “cowards,” etc.

Sometimes this animism manifests itself in the more dignified or “scholarly” form of single-factor causation. If only the Japanese, for instance, had not been subjected for centuries to periodic earthquakes which have created such emotional instability among them; if only Western rationalism had penetrated Germany; if only Hegel, Treitschke or Nietzsche had never lived, if only Prussia had never been part of the German Empire, etc. Even Dorothy Thompson recently deplored (and with some justification) that whenever she presents some elementary facts about German history she feels like a “minority of one.” Drs. Brickner, Alexander, and others can have no such complaints. It is field day for such German, Italian and Japanese “experts” as Reynolds, Weller, Stout, Eliot, Matthews, Brown, and Vansittart, but not for the more sober judgments of those whose analyses, superficial as they are from a Marxian viewpoint, succeed in showing at least that there is “another” Germany, Japan or Italy besides that of the pathological stereotype. I am referring to such people as Chamberlain, Howard, J. Braunthal, Salvemini, Ambassador Grew, and others.

These animistic attempts to explain the behavior of whole nations or races in terms of isolated psychological tendencies are a variation of that psuedo-science which “analyzes” individual behavior in the same manner. The method is not new; only the terms are different. During the 18th and 19th centuries such concepts as the “rational,” the “economic” man were accepted as valid psychology. These in turn were replaced by “instinctive” man, and at the present time we have the “irrational” man of which the paranoia and masochism referred to above are specific types. The new school of “power” psychology (the Neo-Machiavellians) mentioned in connection with the prevalent attempt on the part of the “peace-planners” to be “realistic,” is part of the pre-logical thinking which we are discussing.

Falsa Analogies

In the third place, illogical argumentation, another characteristic of the general political literature under consideration, is clearly indicated in the many discussions centering around the panacea of an international police force to prevent war. False analogies and superficial generalizations can be found in the following examples, (1) the complex culture of modern society is compared with that of an early frontier town where vigilantes were organized to deal with marauders, assuming that nations are comparable with victimized individuals, (2) the gradual unification of the original colonies into a united nation is used as an historical precedent for the present proposals of nations to unite into an international body for global protection. This analogy is predicated on the erroneous idea that all present international economic, political, social, and racial conditions are similar to those which existed nationally within our borders during the 18th and 19th centuries. It also overlooks the fact that our complete unification was effected only after four years of civil war, and it fails to indicate the type of economy which is to accompany present political unification, since not only our own unification but all movements of European unification and centralization during the 19th century were the political expressions of capitalistic superseding feudalist or agrarian economies, (3) the function of an international police is compared to that of our local police in dealing with municipal outbreaks. Aside from the fact that the actions of local police do not involve the active participation of all able-bodied people in the community, or that police do not rampantly destroy property or bring death to masses of innocent people in order to catch some culprit, or that a police force implies a completely disarmed populace, there is a still greater flaw in the argument. Police power derives from law which, (according to the political theories of the interventionists themselves) the majority of the community have directly or indirectly formulated and subscribed to. Similarly, therefore, an international police could have justifiable validity only if it were no more than a military expression of international law which the majority of mankind had democratically formulated and agreed upon to support, an international law which, moreover, could not be precedent to the conditions underlying the peace but which would have to be the logical consequence of those specific conditions. Furthermore, to be consistent in their political theory, the interventionists would have to acept another principle of their democratic procedure, i.e., the equality before the law of all offenders regardless of their economic, social or political power. First things must come first. Do present relationships among nations exist which make the above principles sound feasible within the immediate future? The advocates of international police have only to ask these questions in order to have them answered.

In the fourth place, let us consider the general utopianism which characterizes contemporary political thought. Let us assume that the combined military power of the major nations has already effected an international police force. What kind of peace reigns globally now? Have the more subtle forms of aggression and control, such as economic penetration, subsidized governments and political movements, mandates, colonies, protectorates, etc., ceased to exist? Is there a genuine movement toward demobilization and disarmament in order to vest supreme military power in the international police? What will the police do in case of national civil wars, democratic revolutions, colonial movements for independence, racial and religious persecution? What of economic peace? Have national and colonial exploitation, monopoly, and cartels been abolished?

Are the conditions, in other words, under which we live a sounder basis for a peaceful world just because they have been frozen into a militarized status quo? If the world has learned anything at all from the experience with totalitarianism, it is that peace can be bought very dearly; there is also the peace of stagnation and death. People will not continue to obey laws which are unjust; neither will they be coerced by international police into accepting them. No status quo can endure; it can only generate hostility, rebellion and war, since the powerful nations will not permit its alteration in terms of modified territories, relinquished markets, spheres of influence, etc., and the less powerful will not be content to submit to this superimposed injustice.

The “international planners” seem to overlook one factor: disturbing events do not occur “globally”; they arise nationally out of internal economic, social and political conflicts, and unless such conflicts are dealt with first, any discussion of “global peace” is sheer nonsense. It is not to be wondered at that some historically-minded people are disturbed, not only by what to them are many startling similarities between contemporary triple and quadruple alliances or Allied conference-agreements on the one hand, and the Holy Alliance at the Congress of Vienna on the other, but by the possibility of similar subsequent wars and revolutions.

Economic Utopianisms

Contemporary utopianism is never seen to better advantage than when one looks at some of its economic proposals. While the international police planners reveal an over-zealous preoccupation with form (military and structural technicalities) to die neglect of social and political content, the economic planners are rich in slogans and blueprints but meager in the instrumentalities which are to bring the “brave new world” into being. It is important to take especial note of the economic as distinct from the political theorists because many of the former recognize the untenability of mere political or military techniques to ensure peace without first providing sound economic foundations.

When one examines these economic blueprints, however, one realizes that their authors are not living in the twentieth century at all; they have escaped not only to the realities of the eighteenth or nineteenth century but to a world which they imagine existed at that time. A detailed examination of some of the economic plans would take us beyond the limits of (his article, but their fundamental utopianism can be seen, for instance, in some of their key slogans or topical headings: restoration of “free markets,” “free access” to raw materials, abolition of tariff restrictions, revival of “free enterprise,” etc. Aside from the fact that such terminology indicates a sincere but ill-informed desire to return to a world that was never really “free” in the sense visualized (since eighteenth and nineteenth century development and world expansion implied “freedom” for imperialistic conquests, colonial exploitation, wars of empire, etc., and not the free exchange among equals), it also indicates an attempt to reverse the processes of history.

Moreover, these Utopian schemes reveal a complete indifference to class and political forces at work in the world today, as well as a misunderstanding of the economic system under which we are living. Instead of viewing capitalism as a complex interrelated system of which monopoly, competition, foreign markets, protective tariffs, etc., are integral parts, one planner will concentrate upon “stable price levels,” another upon “international banking and credits,” or still another upon the reforms of “economic centralization.” If only there were some new monetary mechanism or revised import restrictions to rectify the disastrous results of “recurrent economic crises” or of wartime “dislocations,” they say. If only, in other words, we could have stable capitalist economics without capitalism.

To use but one instance, take the plan that we do away with the evils of economic nationalism (protective tariffs, quota restrictions, etc.). In their concentration upon only one disturbing aspect of the economic nexus and assuming that the major difficulty lies there, such plans fail to realize all the other revolutionary reforms which would be necessary in order to effect a change in the desired direction. Not only would there arise the necessity for tremendous reshifts and displacements, both of national and international capital, of industrial populations, of productive centers, but along with them the necessity for the absolute curbing of monopoly and international cartels, and for great reshuffling of political power, assuming, of course, that there would be some body or group which could enforce all these changes.

Think of the powerful economic and financial interests involved in these shiftings who would fight to the limit any attempts made to affect their present status. The militancy and rapacity of these groups in the past have been graphically described by such writers as Woolf (Empire and Commerce in Africa), Brailsford (War of Steel and Gold), L. Barnes (Skeleton of Empire), Howard (America’s Role in Asia), and others. If after reading this material, the planners still think that the psychology of those groups has changed today, they can study further the realities of global economic conflicts contained not only in the radical press but even in such English publications as The Economist, Nineteenth Century and After, The Tribune, New Statesman, Contemporary Review, etc., as well as in the speeches of Winston Churchill, Jan Smuts, Rear Admiral Vickery, Senator Brewster, and in the “indignant” columnists, F.C. Hanighen, D. Bell and H.L. Barnes. One must surely be living in an imaginary world to speak of abolishing trade barriers when the Senate rejects by a vote of seventy-one to sixteen the Danaher amendment (to the Connally resolution) which would place the Senate on record as favoring the granting of all nations access on equal terms to the trade and raw materials of the world. (Incidentally, while only six senators voted against the Connally resolution, those isolationists who voted for it explained that its language was so vague as to mean nothing at all.)

Self-Condemned Planners

To conclude: throughout this discussion the approach has not been that of pure Marxian counter-critique and program, essential as these are. Before that is attempted, it was thought necessary to do some ground-clearing. That is why we have chosen as our primary purpose here to permit the “planners” to condemn themselves by merely presenting their dubious factual data, by raising for consideration certain unclarified issues implied in their proposals, and by drawing important conclusions from their ill-defined premises. In the first place, .the distortions concerning definite phases of allied history are deliberate attempts to provide a rationale for continued military collaboration and for varying patterns of post-war “isolationism” and “interventionism.” As far as the vindictive and self-righteous interpretations of Axis history are concerned, they not only stem from a profound ignorance of social, economic and political causation, but in many cases from a desire to conceal past Allied complicity in contributing to European and Asiatic totalitarianism. In the second place,

the political and economic proposals for international security are so illogically argued and so inadequately implemented with factual material as to be devoid of any historical validity. Politically they represent mere rationalizations for a perpetuated status quo. Economically they offer only nebulous slogans and a nostalgic escapism.

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Last updated on 16 December 2015