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The Balkan situation is not clearing up. We are further from a settlement of the problems presented in the Near East than we were at the time of the Armistice. Bulgaria feels she has been treated unjustly by the Powers: She has had much territory taken from her in which the population is predominantly Bulgarian. The Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes contain elements which show no desire to mix. Italy's claims to Fiume and Dalmatia are causing each day more jealousy and dissatisfaction on the part of both sides. Turkey shows signs of coming to life and disputing again for what she believes to be her rights in Asia Minor. The Greeks have gained much, but they still lack the Dodecanesian Islands and Cyprus, where their claims are good. Everywhere we find the germs of future disputes.
What is most disheartening about the whole problem is that no public opinion has formed on the subject in those countries who are not directly interested in annexing territory. In the United States few people are aware of any issue. We read the German treaty with some interest, but we neglected the Austrian Treaty beyond noticing its existence, and the Bulgarian Treaty might quite as well never have been written so far as American opinion is concerned.
Yet the Balkan problem underlies more previous wars than any other international difficulty. If we are to hope for real results from the League of Nations we must apply all our experience as a nation to this hotbed in Southwestern Europe. There must exist a solution to the problem. If we emphasized the idea of a federation with local autonomy but a common purpose, rather than self-determination, we should accomplish much towards peace. And what country is in a better position to discuss federalism than the United States? The problem of the thirteen colonies was only a simplified version of the Balkan difficulty. It is our duty in the cause of preventing future wars to pay more constructive attention to the Balkons.
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