Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace: A Critical Examination of the Foreign Policy of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Its Aftermath

By Harry Elmer Barnes | Go to book overview
subsidy for its economic existence. Lastly, instead of bringing peace and order to Asia, World War II let loose in that vast area--as World War I did in Europe--all the passions of long-suppressed nationalism to create tumult and strife for decades to come."Wars begin in the minds of men," the framers of the UNESCO constitution concluded. So America's war with Japan began as much in the minds of Stimson, Roosevelt, and other architects of American policy, in the decade before Pearl Harbor, as in the minds of the leaders of Japan. It is unfair to ask that American leaders be endowed with superhuman powers of prediction and the ability to foresee all the results of their acts. But it is the responsibility of statesmen and diplomats to avoid war and warmaking policies unless there is a high degree of probability that unquestionably vital national interests can only be protected by war. A war policy must then be justified by the sanest of estimates of the outcome, evaluating the experience of the past and weighing the costs in blood and sweat against the benefits to present and future generations. By the standards of results--mankind's score sheet--the policies of Roosevelt and Stimson failed in their estimates of national interest and of the methods of achieving that interest. Their policy, paid for in American lives and resources, netted nought but ruin for Japan and assisted in the birth of an Asia more determined than ever to eject the Western interloper.
FOOTNOTES--CHAPTER 4
1. Cf. Walter Millis, This Is Pearl! The United States and Japan ( New York: William Morrow & Company, Inc., 1947) and Herbert Feis, The Road to Pearl Harbor (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1950).
2. An example of progress in this direction is furnished by George F. Kennan's American Diplomacy, 1900-1950 ( Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1951), in which a major State Department policy

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