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The proposal to expand the United States rearmament program, coming as it does on the hells of renewed tension in the Far East raises many interesting questions concerning America's foreign policy. Is the larger navy to be really for defense? Is it necessary for purposes of "prestige": Just what is the objective of the Roosevelt Hull foreign policy?
It was clearly indicated in the President's memorable Chicago speech that he wishes to abandon isolationism. "America hates war. America hopes for peace. Therefore America actively engages in the search for peace." And recently the trend to cooperation has been reenforced by several Administration spokesmen, notably Secretary Woodring.
This departure from isolation is undoubtedly one of the most encouraging developments of the last generation. It means that the country is at last abandoning the blissful dream that it can ignore the danger of another major war. Keeping itself at peace through the efforts of imaginative senators and through a great popular fear of war. It means that America is beginning to serve the cause of her own peace and security in the only practical way possible by cooperating in the interest of international law and order.
But the proposal that we plunge more deeply into the world armament race is a horse of another color. The President is right that tension in the world is high and that we must "think of our national security." But those arguments are losing their force through much repetition. They are always heard whenever armament increase is wanted; they are as inevitable as scare heads on the country's yellow journals. The fact is that we are already spending a billion dollars-a record peace-time high-on armament. Furious rearming on the part of Germany, Japan, and Italy has only begun to threaten our supremacy, and bears no threat whatever to our "national security."
The great race to rearm is a vicious circle of panic and increasing expense. It benefits no one, leads to war, and, most serious of all, creates an atmosphere in which the peaceful adjustment of fundamental problems is increasingly difficult. There is no need for the United States to add to this chaos. War is not inevitable. Our influence must continue to be a force for sanity and reason and not for panic, for law and order and not for aggression,-for peace and not for war.
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