Page 4, 9th March 1945

9th March 1945
Page 4
Page 4, 9th March 1945 — A WORLD PEACE ORGANISATION
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A WORLD PEACE ORGANISATION

POR once we are inclined to sup' port Moscow " realism." The final decision that in the post-war international peace organisation a Great Power will retain a right of veto against the imposition of sanctions against itself is really commonsense. It serves to emphasise the truth that no international political organisation can possibly preserve peace against the willingness of a Great Power or Great Powers to risk war in order to attain their end.

A failure to appreciate this truth, and . its deep implications, really accounts for the ultimate ineffectiveness of the League of Nations. And the failure to understand this arose from the contemporary denial that peace depends on a right moral order rather than on any political dexterity. It is true that an intelligently constituted international political organisation can do a great deal to promote international understanding. This is because morals and politics arc inextricably mixed in most men. Get a number of men around a table, let them discuss their differences within an ordered framework. and the chances are that they will find a common basis in human nature and mutual interest to enable them to carry on without resorting to force to attain their ends. It is likewise true (as happens within every properly constituted State) that a majority -can make it too dangerous for a minority to break the common agreement by which they live. Though even in this case history shows that if the minority has a genuine moral case, that case will sooner or later be tested, if necessary by resort to force. But where ou are dealing with Great Powers or potentially Great Powers, you are dealing with a force which will never bow to the rule imposed by others, if it can persuade itself that it has a right to assert its claims. To pretend otherwise can only be to defer the day of reckoning. and when that day finally comes, it will be all the more terrible for the sense of frustration created by the attempts to delay it.

Moral Unity

nOES this mean that international peace can never be secured? To answer that, one has to distinguish between two levels, as it were, of moral idealism. Certainly, given fallen human nature, it would be vain to expect a degree of international moral development and agreement which would preclude the possibility of a Great Power ever feeling that it had not got the right to assert its claims by means of force. The most that could be hoped for is that it could be persuaded that it would not be worth its while to try. And that is a precarious security, for in the first place such a Great Power would plan to make its trial by force worthwhile, and, in the secOnd, it is extraordinary what risks will be taken by those who really persuade themselves that they are in the

But at a lower level of moral idealinn, it is possible to get common agreement about moral principles as they affect political, social and economic life. The disputes then arise at the level of interpretation and application, and these arc more easily resolved. Moreover within such a moral unity war, even if it is resorted to, can be localised and possibly restricted as to the scope and mode of fighting. Such of course was the kind of moral unity enjoyed by Christendom for many hundreds of years, though the Reformation spelt its ultimate destruction.

Our generation has been living in an era of radical moral division, as the Pope emphasised in his first Encyclical; and that disunity was never more clearly shown than during the years when the League attempted to keep the peace. The League proved utterly impotent to prevent the second war because it lacked a moral authority based on common moral understanding withwhich to tackle the deepseated moral grievances which made Nazism and Fascism possible.; It is some advance at least that there should to-day be an awareness of the meaning of such moral disunity and indeed that it should have expressed itself at once in the realist claim of Soviet Russia not to be bound by any decision, however unanimous, against itself.

Splits to Expect XVHAT then are the moral splits that we 'may. have to face after the war in any attempt to keep the peace? First and foremost, there is this particular division ; the division between those who cling to libertarian (and originally Christian) conceptions of social life and those who stand openly for the primacy of the national State or the .international Party. But another split may in course of time develop the division between the extreme assertion of popular rights (leading probably to another form of totalitarianism) and a revived moderate authoritarianism. This is the danger in Europe, and the real danger of a slowly reviving Germany to take the leadership of Europe against the victors of the war.

As the united forces of the Allies release their military grip on Europe and as the co-operation between the Western Allies and Russia weakens, as it inevitably must for a multitude of reasons, a highly precarious situation will arise. No world international political organisation, however constituted at present, will prove capable of dealing with the moral and economic tensions that will then be released. There is only one hope, and it is that some steps will have been taken towards achieving a measure of international moral understanding. Tragically, this is the one matter to which least attention is being paid. Everyone is thinking in terms of the past—in terms of revenge, punishment, staking claims, improving on the League, bolding down the already defeated, instead of thinking forward to the moral and political forces that will exist after the war. And everything that has been done so far is calculated to intensify post-war tensions instead of easing them.

Cases in Point LET us briefly glance at thc cases of the Vatican, Italy, Fiance and Spain.

By any test the international authority of the Vatican and the power of moral persuasion which it can exercise make it by far the most potent agent of international moral understanding and reconciliation in Europe. But not a single Great Power will take steps to enlist this invaluable help, and one of them loses no opportunity of attacking it. Italy, of whose present good-will there cart be no question and whose strategical importance in the Mediterranean is undisputed, least of all by Britain who assisted' her growth and expansion, is left to rot and threatened with the loss even of her original colonies.

France is only with reluctance and half-measures helped to rise again so that the new growth when it takes place will probably be distorted and still a prey to the phobias and weaknesses that marred her foreign policy between the wars.

Spain, another Power holding a vital position and at present settled in a developing policy of friendship towards Britain and America. is threatened with further internal revolution and disorder at the bidding of irresponsible mischiefmakers who prefer any troubles, international or national, to a peace which gives them no opportunity for subversive intrigue.

These are only obvious examples of political pettiness and blindness that no San Francisco Conference, however strongly limelit, can possibly remedy. Whom the gods wish to destroy, they first make mud, is a truth never before so well applied.

THE ARAB LEAGUE

riE announcement has been made that the Arab League Constitution has been signed in Cairo by the Foreign Ministers of

Egypt, , Saudi-Arabia, Transjordan, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and the Palestinian representative. Ministers of this powerful combination of Levantine States have been in friendly contact with thc heads or both the British and American Governments. Mr. Churchill told the House of Commons ,how he and Mr. Eden had had talks with King Farouk of Egypt and President Shukri of Syria. Ile also related how he had met King Ibn Saud, the ruler of Saudi

Arabia. Roosevelt made similar

• The position of the Aral? world, greatly strengthened by the formation of the League and by understanding reached with the leaders of Great Britain and the United States, has been still further reinforced by the entrance into the war (thereby assuring those concerned or representation at San Francisco in April) of Egypt and Turkey, both friendly to the Arab cause.

In his reference to his meeting with Ibn Saud. Mr. Charchill said that the help of this influential monarch would be needed at the close of the war " in reaching a solution of the problem of the Arab world and of the Jews in Palestine," and he added that he . had hopes that "good arrangements can be made for securing the peace and progress of the Arab world and generally of the Middle East," in which part of the world, he declared, both Great Britain and the United States are " taking an inc-reasing interest."

As regards the problem of Jewish immigration into Palestine, the Arabs, as a consequence of the factors named, are in a much stronger position than formerly. At the same time, it has to he admitted that the pitiable condition of those Jews who have survived Gernian brutality has given them additional claims on the sympathetic attention of the two great Western POWC1S. The problem, made still more complicated by imperial and commercial considerations, is not going to be easy of solution.

MORALS AND MONEY wHEN General de Gaulle, out lining his Government's social and reconstructional policy, declared for a national econbmic council on which " all concerned in the economic life of the country could cooperate," he gave expression to a purpose closely akin to that defended in the Commons by the Chaneellew of the Exchequer. Sir John Anderson, speaking on a Vote for Civil Estimates, based his remarks largely on the Macmillan Committee's report in 1931. This was concerned with the problem of the facilities available for obtaining credit for industry under various conditions, and it asserted that " some independent concern with an expert staff of its own was necessary." Sir John claimed that his proposals fulfilled this requirement and that the corporations to ad in the matter " were definitely separated from the Bank of England." Both these initiatives. in controlling money are, it need hardly be said, in keeping with the spirit of the Social

Encyclicals, ,

Though it differed in its view as to the manner in which the object in view was to be accomplished, the House was in strong agreement as to the principle of controlling finance. The irresponsible use of credit by capitalists in diverting money into channels which are useless or injurious to the public good has been, indeed, one of the prime causes of economic distress. It has created unemployment and favoured speculative concerns at the expense of essential but less attractive industries. It has even contributed to the building up of armaments in the countries of potential enemies. Under an effective system of control it Uwonuldr be possible to check the operations of armament firms and oil companies the transactions, of which arc a public scanndy

al.

A

recognition of the moral responsibility in the spending of money marks an advance. This is one of the directions in which the exercise of disinterested control is most needed, and no plea for freedom urged on behalf of the speculator can be allowed to stand in the way of legislation having the purpose of imposing such control.




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