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Gunton's Magazine, Vol. 14

Gunton's Magazine, Vol. 14

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Excerpt from Gunton's Magazine, Vol. 14: Jan.-June, 1898

Either kind of sentiment, either the belief that we can dare anybody to fight, without preparation, or the belief that we ought never to fight or adopt a policy which might lead to fighting, is bad enough; but the result of a mixture of both is even worse; and it is this mixture in our foreign policy which offersaperpetual menace to our welfare and honor. If we build and maintain an adequate navy and let it be understood that, while we haven't the slightest intention to bluster or to commit any wrong, yet that we are perfectly ready and willing to fight for our rights, then the chances of war will become infinitesimal, and no power will dream of protesting against the Monroe Doctrine. If, on the other hand, we announce in the beginning that we do not class ourselves among the really great peoples who are willing to fight for their greatness, that we intend to remain defenseless, hoping thereby to escape the anger of anyone, and that we shall of course refrain from push ing any policy, whether that embodied in the Monroe Doctrine or any other, if it can possibly be distasteful to nations who actually will fight - why, under such circumstances we doubt less can remain at peace, although it will not be the kind of peace which tends to exalt the national name, or to make the individual citizen self-respecting. But if together with a policy of refusing to fight at need we allow the policy of blustering self-assertion to go hand in hand, we may at any time find ourselves in a very awkward position. We asserted the Mon roe Doctrine as against Great Britain in the Venezuelan case. Personally I am very glad we so asserted it, but it would be a cause for bitter humiliation if, having once taken this position.

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