Yesterday

Fytte the Second

To the acidulous surveyor of the current diplomatic scene, it appears that heaven contains not one Aristophanes, but many, all of them more than slightly insane. On no other hypothesis can one contemplate the present without an unpleasant intellectual vertigo. As foreign office vies with foreign office in the publication of phantasmal solemnities which become increasingly void and without rational substance, one recalls with cheerful malice the Aristotelian dictum that "Man is a rational animal." In a wholly objective mood one is tempted to congratulate the rest of the animal kingdom on its fortunate escape.

When the Japanese proclaim that they are assuming the responsibility of maintaining peace in the Far East, it is difficult to escape the conclusion that they mean not merely peace with honor, but also peace with profit. They are taking up the well-known and slightly nauseating White Man's Burden, much to its surprise, possibly to its displeasure. The remark that Japan will oppose any Chinese effort to enlist foreign support for resistance to Japanese encroachment is, in its own way, magnificent. The unknown author of that statement is Mr. P. G. Wodehouse's most dangerous rival.

On the other hand, London expresses gentle wonder at the probably accurate report of the unofficial spokesman for the Japanese Foreign Office. With shy remoteness, it makes no comment save that it has asked its Legation to secure an official report from Japan. This, of course, is the expected move. While awaiting the official statement, London will meditate with fasting and with prayer on its impending answer. In the meantime, it will probably deepen its concentration on possible methods of combatting the annoying increase of Japanese trade with India. Emerging from its anchoritic contemplation, London will point tactfully but firmly to treaty obligations, making game for each side, with China vulnerable.

What, incidentally, is China's reaction? The press, the public, and portions of the government become more and more hysterically caustic in their opinions. But in the Foreign Office, a marmoreal calm apparently prevails. Mr. Wang ChingWei, the Foreign Minister, assures the Legislative Yuan that the Chinese government is paying no attention to Japan's recent statements. On second thought, Mr. Wodehouse seems to have more reason to fear the Chinese threat rather than his Japanese rival. CONFUCIUS.