The old saying that it is "best oating when one's a-hungry' finds a close parallel in the present diplomatic situation. Ever since 1789, American statesmen have been wary of interference in foreign politics; and when in 1920 the executive sought to extend American influence more fully to international circles, our legislators balked. As a Parisian journal recently put it, Europe had mistaken Wilsonism for the voice of the American people; and the Allied powers, therefore, were disappointed that the American-made Treaty of Versaillers did not find acceptance with the United States Senate. The Fourteen Points, the great aim of "making the world safe for democracy"--all the idealism which had been the source of such inspiration during the war--failed to arouse that today to action.
After it finally became evident that the program of the administration had failed, an unofficial American delegation was appointed with the sanction of the European Powers to sit at the meetings of the reparations committee. These deputies, even in their unofficial capacity, were able to save millions of dollars to American interests from the ruins of European finance. The approach of a new presidential term, however, forced the recall of the delegation; and left the United States with some fourteen billions of dollars owed us from abroad--unrepresented at the conference.
It seems clear now that America will non longer have need of unofficial representatives; under the policy of the new administration the Government again turns its attention to the affairs of the world. President Harding's inaugural address affirmed that we would neglect no just cause merely because it was not domestic. But the slogan of idealism has been superseded by plain "America First". League or no league, our government demands as a well-earned right that it be consulted in the disposal of the spoils. There are those who recoil with horror from this so-called "Selfish and mercenary" attitude. Yet, after all the world little reckons whether we eat because of need or from a sense of duty.