ARMS AND THE POLICEMAN
Perhaps the most difficult among which held against the attempt to ratify the League Covenant in America was the provision setting up armed sanctions against nations who violated the peace. With the late mistaken venture into the morasses of European diplomacy and politics still uppermost in their memories, the American people were taken with a fever of isolationism. They shrank quite excusably from any agreement that might result in more bloodshed for themselves or for their sons. Later interpretation, especially from the British government, drew the offending claws from the Government, but the question of sanctions is still paramount in the world's attempt to keep the peace. In selecting this problem for discussion the Model-League of Nations showed itself awake to the real perplexities of international statesmanship.
Doubtless there will be many in the Model Assembly to cry out against further destruction of human flesh and blood, no matter what the cause. The idea of attaining peace by further warfare has in it something repugnant, quite apart from the practical difficulties for doing it. It is clear that with the armament of the nations in its present state, enforcement of any decree agreeable to all nations but one would be a long and bloody task. With national mentalities as they are, people would be quick to defend their governments crimes, and loath to punish the transgressions of others, so long as they themselves were not molested. Their governments would of course encourage their ardor with propaganda, and supply them their guns and graves. Any war of enforcement against a major power today would call for a mobilization of the other powers and enlistment and drafting of citizens. So long as this holds true, and everyone knows that it does, international policing will be an impossible dream.
In his speech before the League at Geneva, some days ago, Herriot suggested the alternative of small standing units of professional soldiers levied from each country, ready for international police duty. Such an organization would not be complicated by ideals. Its is not difficult to get a Marine to fight, whether it be for one nation, or for the peace of the world. With a dangerously efficient world police in mind, the desire of one nation to annex a bit of another's territory would be lulled into inactivity. Unfortunately such a method of enforcement would work only with almost complete disarmament the world over, when it would be scarcely more necessary than a police squad in Paradise. The first necessity it to attain our international Paradise, after which we can bother about not losing it. Milton to the contrary, we cannot storm it with petards.