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to the old weapons. I am glad to say that some of their English friends are now thoroughly shocked by the policy of the new Government. It is a singular commentary on the enthusiasm with which the revolution in Constantinople was welcomed that it should so soon have been found necessary to revive the old machinery for helping the victims of the Government which that revolution has set up. Yet what has happened might have been foreseen by anyone who looked facts in the face. The only alternative course to that actually taken by the Young Turks would have been to give the Christian population their full share in the conduct of affairs. But this would have meant a speedy end to the Ottoman dominion in Europe. Thus the continuance of the old policy was inevitable, and the old policy carried with it the old methods. That the Young Turks should choose the second of these alternatives was inevitable. What was not inevitable was that an English party which has always associated itself with Nationalist aspirations should abandon its ideal in the case of the Christian subjects of the Porte.
It is probably only a coincidence that this new-born sympathy with Turkey has been accompanied by an equally marked approach to the one friend that Turkey can claim in Europe. The understanding with France and Russia, which for years has been accepted as the corner-stone of English foreign policy, has suddenly fallen into disfavour with a section of the Radical party. The assurance of continued peace which the Triple Entente is supposed to offer has lost its value in their eyes. Every act of the Russian Government is once more viewed with suspicion. The impracticable rulers of Persia have been consistently encouraged to flout Russia by hopes of English support, while the Russian attempts to restore order have, by a fine imaginative effort, been denounced as massacres. The burdens of a French alliance are dwelt upon with hardly a reference to the advantages which so greatly outweigh them, and we are counselled to look to Germany for the peace we have so long sought for in the wrong quarter. This sudden desire for a German alliance cannot be set down to a disinterested admiration of German methods. English Radicals can hardly be in love with the conscription, with the position of the Emperor in the State, with the ingenious arrangements by which a Parliamentary vote is denied any real influence in the conduct of public affairs. What, then, is left us by way of explanation of this sudden change of front? Nothing, seemingly, except the unheroic desire to be on good terms with the strongest Power. It was suddenly discovered that our understanding with France might involve duties as well as benefits. The prospect of having to send an expeditionary force either to Belgium or to the French coast awoke absolute consternation in some English
politicians. Even peace seemed to them worthless if it had to be paid for in such coin. The true policy of England is to keep clear of entangling alliances; or, if this should prove impossible, to take care always to be the friend of the combatant which is most likely to win. For forty years Germany has been the only Power that answers to this description. She, and she alone, has been strong enough to threaten the peace of Europe. Consequently in an understanding with Germany lies our best chance of ensuring that, should war unfortunately come, it will find us on the side of the strongest battalions. The miasma of the French Entente and the misreading of the European situation in which it had its origin have blinded us to this plain fact. We have once more put our money on the wrong horse, and allied our. selves with a nation which has everything to gain by our friendship and nothing of value to offer in return. We have little to fear from France and a great deal to fear from Germany. Consequently France may be safely left to take her chance, so long as we can secure the goodwill of her great neighbour. That we can do this we may feel reasonably certain. No doubt we are not on very good terms with Germany at this moment. But that is really the outcome of Sir Edward Grey's perverse suspicions and of the mistaken naval policy of successive English Cabinets. Of this policy the recent growth of the German navy is the natural and inevitable result. What else can be expected so long as we go on building ships which a rational arrangement with Germany would at once make unnecessary?'
A good deal might be said of the meanness of the part which these calculations assign to England. But to say it would be useless, because to politicians of this type the profitableness of a policy is the only thing worth considering, and unnecessary because it is easy to combat them on the ground they themselves have taken up. In the present position of European affairs the maintenance of European peace is the end which it chiefly becomes us to keep in view. A German alliance is now recommended to us as a safer road to this end than our present understanding with France. But this alternative policy rests on a double misconception. It ignores both the obligations which a German alliance would entail upon us, and the extent to which the benefits which it is assumed would follow from it are already secured by the Triple Entente. The Radical explanation of the growth of the German navy is that it is simply the result of our own extravagance in the same field. What has made the German Government and the German people uneasy has been the action of the English Admiralty. These enormous estimates can, they think, only be explained as the preparation for a contemplated attack upon themselves. If our shipbuilding were brought down
to the modest figures which the lifting of the German cloud would make ample for all purposes, the growth of the German navy would automatically come to an end. The consequence would disappear with the cause.
If a German alliance meant no more than this, the Radical desire for it would at least be intelligible. If it left us bankrupt in the matter of honour, it would at least give us more money to spend on doubtful experiments in social legislation. In point of fact, however, the supposed harvest would never be reaped. The drain on the national pocket would go on at an even greater rate than before. Our new ally would be ready with new demands of the same kind as those we thought we had seen the last of. The most sanguine of Sir Edward Grey's assailants can hardly believe that France would not see in an Anglo-German alliance a direct menace to herself. The moment she discovered that she had no fleets to look to except her own, to have a navy equal to those of England and Germany would become a matter of the first necessity. When this change of front was understood in England the old feeling against France would at once revive. She would again be regarded as our natural enemy, and Englishmen would be the victims of a French panic as much more violent than any German panic, as the French coast and the French harbours are nearer to us than the German. Our new alliance would be no help to us here. Germany would certainly not be willing to bear our burden as well as her own. She would be far more likely to remind us that as in a war with France the principal part on land would fall to her, England must be prepared to play the principal part at sea. Our naval strength would rapidly rise to its old or greater proportions, with the solitary difference that it would be directed against France instead of against Germany.
It will possibly be objected that I am imagining a far closer and more intimate connexion with Germany than even the most advanced Radical desires. No doubt, if we could distribute the burden of the Alliance just as we pleased, we should prefer an arrangement under which Germany should do all the work and leave us only the gains. But is this a division likely to suit Germany's purpose? She will not accept our overtures unless we are prepared to make it worth her while. The notion that she wants nothing of us except our goodwill, and that when once this has been given we shall be left to thank our stars that the most efficient army and the biggest navy in Europe belong to a friend instead of to an enemy, has no foundation except in fancy. The value of Italy to the Triple Alliance has been greatly lessened by her African adventure, and though Germany cannot look to us to fill the place of an Italian army we can far more than fill the place of an Italian fleet. We shall have
deliberately turned France into an enemy, and our new ally will certainly not relieve us of the consequences of our choice merely because we find them inconvenient. She will hold that we are sufficiently rewarded for our change of policy by the blessing of her friendship. But that inestimable gift will certainly carry with it duties as well as advantages, and if we are to enjoy the one we must be prepared to perform the other. Least of all Powers is Germany likely to conclude a treaty in which the other party gets the lion's share of the spoil. The increase in the French navy which will certainly follow upon our virtual repudiation of the entente will be a menace to her as well as to us, and since England will have been the immediate cause of it, Germany will with reason expect her at the very least to pay her full share of the naval cost.
Nor is this the whole of the burden which the retirement from
the Triple Entente would lay upon us. France would naturally be indignant at our sudden change of policy, and she would be eager to show how much we had lost by abandoning her. She has far more opportunities of this kind than Germany has. Our interests cross hers in more parts of the world, and we should very soon learn the difference between making business arrangements with a present friend and with a friend whom we have lately discarded for one who, as we think, will serve our purpose better. English statesmen had large experience in the past of what France could do in this way, and their successors will not find her power of giving pin-pricks at all lessened by the recollection that we have thrown her over in the hope of conciliating Germany. To mention only one instance, Lord Kitchener would find his work in Egypt a good deal harder if it had to be done in the face of constant remonstrance and interference on the part of France. But what will this matter if we have Germany at our back? There would be great force in this question if we could be sure of German support in a quarrel with France. But we have no possible right to take this for granted. Germany might be of opinion that there was something more to be got out of a war between England and France than a decisive victory on either side. She might prefer to leave both combatants to waste their strength in a conflict which she would at last bring to a conclusion in which her own fee as arbitrator would not be forgotten.
This is the prospect-not surely a very inviting one-which a German alliance holds out to England. But there is no certainty that even this alliance, uninviting as it would seem to most of us, is really within our reach. Germany has no sentimental affection for England, and the English dominions contain large areas of scantily occupied territory which it would
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be very convenient to her to possess. An alliance which did not make proper allowance for this fact might have no attraction for her, while one that did make this allowance would not be popular in England. Quite possibly, therefore, Germany might prefer to take the chances of a war with England as soon as her naval preparations are complete. Nor would she run any great risks by this necessary delay. The alliance with England would not have been proposed to her until our understanding with France had come to an end, and with this gone we should be in no hurry to quarrel with the one possible friend remaining to us in Europe. The German statesmen would be quite alive to the significance of this change in our position. Our advances, worthless as they might think them, would not be at once rejected, and the interval of apparent hesitation might be turned to excellent account in another direction.
There is another aspect of the foreign policy that has lately found favour with some Radicals, which is more alarming than any I have mentioned. Our abandonment of France would not, it is true, leave her friendless. Russia would not be likely to change her policy for no other reason than because we had done the same thing, and, if the understanding between her and France were unaffected by the withdrawal of England, Germany would still have two possible attacks to prepare for. The movements of an army of invasion assembled on her western frontier would be seriously hampered by the need of keeping an army on her eastern frontier to meet a probable advance on the side of Russia. It is possible, no doubt, that Russia might see cause to reconsider her attitude towards France and leave Germany free to take what action she thinks best for her own interest. Even then, however, it would not follow that Germany would think it her interest to fight France. With England out of the way, what is there to prevent the two Powers from arriving at an understanding between themselves? No doubt with England and Russia remaining neutral, Germany might attack France in full confidence of victory. That confidence is not indeed shared by some highly competent observers outside Germany, but with the recollections of 1870 still in their minds her own people might naturally look forward with confidence to a similar triumph. All the same, Germany is not likely to provoke war when the objects for which it is undertaken may be had at far less cost. Germany has nothing to gain by a war with France that she may not equally look to gain by an understanding with France. And what has England to offer Germany comparable with what she may look for from an alliance with France? Our Radical advisers have not seemingly contemplated this contingency. They reason as though