The American Road to World Peace

By Alfred Zimmern | Go to book overview

titles. Very well, we have got to do something like that internationally. You cannot set up Poland, whom all the world through centuries have pitied and sympathized with, as the owner of her property and not have somebody take care that her title-deeds are respected. You cannot establish freedom, my fellow citizens, without force and the only force you can substitute for an armed mankind is the concerted force of the combined action of mankind through the instrumentality of all the enlightened governments of the world."

Admiral Mahan, whose thought was very close to Mackinder's, put the same idea in a telling phrase: "The true function of force is to give moral ideas time to take root."
CHAPTER 33: Self-Determination
THE mention of Poland forms an appropriate introduction to another vital element in Woodrow Wilson's thought-that which he crystallized in the watchword "self-determination." No part of his thought has had more momentous consequences, especially in regions of the world where it cannot be taken for granted that the practical application of this watchword will lead to the assumption of political power by what he termed "enlightened governments."There is an inherent dilemma here with which Woodrow Wilson manfully grappled while he was trying to arrive at a satisfactory formula:
1. Peace requires that men and nations should enjoy a sense of security under the Rule of Law (like the South Dakota farmers mentioned in the preceding chapter).
2. If such a sense of security is not to rest upon armed force alone and if it is to be provided impartially for all states, the small as well as the great, it must rest upon a general system of mutual guarantees of territorial integrity and political independence.

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