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With every front page in the country screaming the details, it is going to be difficult to forget the "Panay," but in the light of what seems to be our foreign policy, it will be much more difficult to make an issue of it.
Prior to Japan's "punitive expedition" onto the mainland, the American public was of one mind that it should remain fervently isolated from the outside world. It thought, and still thinks, that no one spot of foreign soil is of sufficient importance to this country to merit our protection on purely economic grounds. It thought, and still thinks, that citizens venturing into a war zone once of the "Panay" and the Standard Oil vessels on the Yangtse was an exception to acknowledged policy, and while the myopic shortcomings of Japanese aviators are to be regretted, nothing can be done.
The invasion of China has to some extent modified isolationist feeling, and public opinion is clamoring more and more for the sanctity of treaties, respect for frontiers and other amenities of international life. But while this attitude is being welded into a strong, inflexible policy, the nation would do well to forget the "Panay." We remembered the "Maine," and we remembered the "Lusitania." Our memory cost us dear.
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