Mexico - The Neo-monroe Doctrine
( Originally Published 1921 )
THERE can be little doubt that all the terms of recognition outlined by Mr. Fall in the report of the Senate Sub-Committee would have been imposed on Mexico, had the Revolution headed by General Obregón been quelled. For they were drawn up specially to meet a particular situation and to solve the problems to which it gave rise. And Cuban history leaves no doubt in our minds what the course of Mexico's affairs would then have been. As it chanced however the Mexican people was ripe for reform, rose up in arms and overthrew the system that was exposing it to that danger. Its leader inspired it with a growing passion for social justice which is fast bearing fruit and he implanted in the soul of the whole nation a sentiment of dignity and self-respect which will stand it in good stead during the work of reconstruction which has already begun. Every kind of outside pressure put upon the people under the new conditions will therefore operate as a potent irritant, and that the Mexicans should so regard the terms demanded of them as the price of recognition is neither surprising nor blameworthy.
With the overturn of Carranza's régime and the reversal of his policies the motive and justification of the Fall recommendations vanished and a new epoch was inaugurated. But the lack of preparation in the inelastic minds of North American politicians for this swift transformation and the strong influence of certain insatiable oil companies partially account for the tenacious clinging of the principal framer of the recommendations to what might aptly be designated the magnum opus of his public life. One can sympathise with a diligent worker who after a protracted period of strenuous toil, planning for the expansion of his own country at the expense of another and fancying he had devised a new and puissant agency for the reorganisation of the State systems of the world, beholds the outcome of his labour made valueless and void by the achievements of a citizen of the backward nation whose moral quality and political vision placed him all at once in the front rank of reforming statesmen. What Mr. Fall offered was a form of guardianship which would admit of the United States bringing up Mexico by hand. What General Obregón actually accomplished was to set his country on its legs and render it wholly independent of ethical, political and economic wardship. And one of the chief causes of the deplorable misunderstandings between the two republics to-day lies in the inability or slowness of the North American Government to realise that the necessity for the drastic remedial measures prescribed by the distinguished ex-Senator has disappeared. He is a poor surgeon who would insist on amputating a limb after it had recovered its pristine strength and flexibility. But there are such.
The roots of the matter, however, lie deeper than a mistake in political diagnosis and extend further than the boundaries of the Mexican Republic. They spread to all the lands of the American Continent south of the Rio Grande and may be labelled the Neo-Monroe Doctrine. Mr. Fall's suggestions, Mr. Hughes' condition of recognition, the various demands, strivings and protests of the foreign capitalists in Mexico are all so many tentacles of the doctrine of Monroe. And one of the indirect consequences of the World War which has stricken so many European powers with palsy is the creation of conditions exceptionally favourable to its resuscitation, growth and spread.
The friends of this elusive canon admit that it thrives on anarchy and confusion. And its enemies maintain that it produces the conditions on which it lives and thrives.
The Monroe Doctrine, long dormant and never authoritatively defined, is looked upon by easy-going Americans as an old-fashioned weapon of defence against Europe's long for-gotten velleities of conquest by means of colonisation. And they consign it to the dusty archives rather than to the arsenal of effective political armaments. Those among them to whom current history is not a sealed book invoke good authority for their contention. For example, William Graham Sumner, the patriotic American, terms the doctrine a fetish and asks : "Does the United States intend to deny that the States of South America are independent States open to access by any other nations and liable to have any kind of friendly or unfriendly relations with European States such as any two independent States may have with each other?"1 President Wilson answered that question in the following passage of a public speech : "It is none of my business . . . how long they (the Mexican people) take in determining what their Government should be. Their country is theirs. The Government is theirs. Have not European nations taken as long as they wanted, and spilt as much blood as they pleased, in setting their affairs? And shall we deny that to Mexico, because she is weak? No, I say." That interpretation was as authoritative as any. And it reassured the States of Latin America whose peace of mind had been perturbed by the imperialistic utterances of responsible and irresponsible politicians. But President Wilson's successor implicitly puts a different construction on it, as indeed Mr. Wilson himself did in other declarations and acts of his. And yet Mexico and the sister Republics are expected, nay enjoined, by Mr. Fall to accept formally, solemnly and irrevocably what he is pleased to term the "Monroe Doctrine." Those Americans who complain that one Mexican President is apt to reverse the political maxims of his predecessor and go on a wholly new tack are the best qualified to comprehend the bewilderment of the Mexicans when faced by these contradictions and the fervour of their desire to be freed from the painful uncertainty now prevailing respecting the policies of successive administrations of the United States.
That lucid statement was not the only one given to the world by Mr. Wilson.
Incidentally that President dealt a stunning blow to the imperialist interpretation of the Monroe Doctrine when he announced that "all the governments of America stand, so far as we are concerned, upon a footing of genuine equality and unquestioned independence." And Mexicans pertinently ask how they can satisfy the demands of the great Northern Republic if one of its Presidents contradicts or cancels the solemn utterances of his predecessor in a matter of such moment. And following the American demand for a treaty defining these reciprocal relations, they ask for an authoritative definition of the Monroe Doctrine.
Mr. Sumner, commenting upon President Cleveland's reference to the doctrine, wrote : "He talks about the Monroe Doctrine and he tells us solemnly that it is true and sacred, whatever it is. He even undertakes to give some definition of what he means by it; but the definition which he gives binds nobody, either now or in the future, any more than what Monroe and Adams meant by it binds anybody now not to mean anything else." In another passage the same author says : "If you want war, nourish a doctrine . . . it would ruin a doctrine to define it, because then it could be analysed, tested, criticised and verified; but nothing ought to be tolerated which cannot be so tested."5 Accordingly the Monroe Doc-trine has never been authoritatively defined. It is a blank cheque on which any sum may be written by the State Department in Washington. Hence Mexico refuses to sign it.
If the principle underlying those important pronouncements represented the policy of the United States Government, as might well be the case, seeing that President Wilson was as great an authority on the subject as President Monroe, the doctrine might decently be buried, for it would certainly be dead. But in the course of the World War this canon, quickened into fresh vitality by combination with a principle misnamed "manifest Destiny," has tacitly become the palladium of certain superior races who feel themselves charged with a providential mission to guide their lesser brethren and shoulder the "white man's precious burden." Today therefore under the pressure of economic necessity the dogma and its gloss bid fair to crystallise into a political maxim which may be formulated thus: "If an inferior nation cannot or will not develop the natural resources of the country it inhabits, the superior race on the other side of its frontiers has the right and the duty to develop them and to take the inferior nation under its guidance."
In effect certain progressive peoples are seriously reconsidering the accepted doctrines of democracy, progress and self-determination with a view to their amendment. Limitations have already been set upon these and upon various other forms of liberty. The State has begun to make weak-willed individuals virtuous by statute and from this to the reformation of weak-willed States by a neighbouring Superstate in the name of humanity and economics there is only a step and it looks as though it too would shortly be taken. Such is the trend of social thought to-day among those advanced nations who believe that their moral vision fits them for the work of discerning the needs of their backward neighbours and devising the ways and means of satisfying these. The functions of government are thus being stretched so as to cover part of the sphere formerly regulated by religion and the moral law.
This innovation looks like the prelude to a new altruistic move which will bring together in close contact the lion and the lamb, the hawk and the pheasant. And neither the lamb nor the pheasant like the prospect. It is generally considered an ill sign to see the fox manifest tenderness toward the lamb. This introduction of "morality" into international polity was applied at the Peace Conference in Paris in the shape of the system of mandates for such backward and wealthy lands as Mesopotamia, Persia and Syria, and it bids fair to leaven politics with this new type of international ethics in other regions and in a way never struck out before. It may become in the international sphere what prohibition is in the national. In the western hemisphere it was implicitly adopted by the versatile President Wilson when he wrote to Carranza: "I therefore call upon the leaders of Mexico to act. . . If they cannot accommodate their differences and unite for this great purpose within a very short time, this Government will be constrained to decide what means should be employed by the United States in order to help Mexico save herself and serve her people."6 Here we have the magic word fated to attract and crystallise the floating ideas and aspirations of the new era which have not yet been embodied in practical politics. Mexico must be helped to save herself. And yet her Government "stands upon a footing of genuine equality." President Roosevelt with whom I had the privilege of exchanging views on this subject upheld the same principle and looked to it for the solution of the Latin-American riddles. Publicly he laid it down that "chronic wrong-doing or an impotence which results in a general loosening of the ties of civilised society may in America as elsewhere ultimately require intervention by some civilised nation, and in the western hemisphere the adherence of the United States to the Monroe Doctrine may force the United States, however reluctantly, in flagrant cases of such wrong-doing or impotence, to the exercise of an inter-national police power. It is a mere truism to say that every nation whether in America or elsewhere, which desires to maintain its freedom, its independence, must ultimately realise that the right of such independence cannot be separated from the responsibility of making good use of it." But who is the judge? The Power that is able and willing to employ force? And suppose its economic interest in intervening overbears its judgment, what then? Is there to be no appeal? Apparently not.
Now that would seem to be the accepted way of applying the enlarged Monroe Doctrine to-day on the principle that duty changes with conditions and rights expand commensurately with responsibilities. All that is further needed in order to reveal the concrete embodiment of the canon thus 'widened and raised to the status of a world-policy is to determine which are the nations thus qualified to intervene helpfully in the internal affairs of a restless neighbour, for the laudable purpose of raising barriers to the possible spread of anarchism and attuning progress there to the rhythm of the culture-bearing race. The necessity of instructing the executors of the Monroe Doctrine, who were already admittedly the protectors of a whole continent against foreign aggression, with the interpretation and maintenance of the basic principles of social stability and accepting them as moderators and mentors of backward American communities in matters of social, political and moral advancement, and of generalising this principle and extending this trust, is being slowly stamped into the political consciousness of the leaders of the English-speaking peoples throughout the world.
At first sight it seems to be a maxim capable of working vast changes in the destinies of the human race by conjoining resolute will with overmastering power and quickening both with lofty ethical professions. But the student of history knows that world-wide policy, however mild and moral, invariably challenges world-wide resistance for it assumes what cannot be accepted universally—that all kinds of culture must give way to that of a single type. And this is especially true when the privileged form is believed to consist mainly in material well-being, mechanical morality and spiritual pretensions.
It is fair to add that in such a classification of nations the ethical values are necessarily relative. W. G. Sumner lays it down plainly that this doctrine is but "a glib and convenient means of giving an appearance of rationality to an exercise of superior force." And it is impossible to gainsay the statement. He further avers that : "There is something hideous in the attitude of one community standing over another to see whether the latter is 'fit for self-government. Is lynching or race rioting," he asks, "or negro burning, or a row in the legislature, or a strike with paralysed industry, or a disputed election, or a legislative deadlock, or the murder of a claimant official . . . or financial corruption and jobbery, proof of unfitness for self-government? If so, any State which was stronger than we might take away our self-government on the ground that we were unfit for it. It is, therefore, simply a question of power, like all the other alleged grounds of interference of one political body with another, such as humanity, sympathy, neighbourhood, internal anarchy, and so on."
This deliberate judgment of the eminent American sociologist is identical with that of serious Mexican politicians. They too feel and say that if Mexico were a country devoid of natural riches, no Great Power would worry much about its ethical or social advancement. They would look elsewhere for the white man's burden and first scrutinise its contents. "Some righteous folks," exclaimed a Mexican to me, "would be disappointed if there were no wealthy peoples backward or peccant enough to need salvation from without." The remark is true. None the less, it is refreshing to know that there are men who profess to lay greater store by the saving of their brother's soul than by the cut of his coat or the colour of his tie, and nations which think that they set a lower rate on their trade and industries in a foreign land than on the moral upbringing of its inhabitants.
But if a privileged race be qualified to sit in judgment on less progressive peoples, is it equally capable of deciding what is good for them? No one conversant with contemporary history can truly answer that query in the affirmative. As a whole the politico-social institutions of communities of English speech are passably good in themselves and in a rough way suit the peoples who elaborated them, because they have grown out of their needs and of their national and racial consciousness. But only a visionary would regard them as appropriate to all other nations and races. Neither the British conception of self-determination nor the North American interpretation of individual liberty will commend itself to France, Italy, or Japan. And as for the craze of imposing the institutions of either upon such backward communities as Persia or Mexico, it would be little less than a crime against humanity. Indeed it is no exaggeration to affirm that most of Mexico's tribulations are the direct outcome of her own foolish effort to model her political system upon that of the United States, and of the resolve of the United States Government to punish her for the results.
None the less, the new canon, which might be termed the doctrine of ethical guardianship, may possibly be incorporated for a time among the unwritten laws of nations in the new era which has begun. Already at the Paris Conference it received, as we saw, the implicit assent of the greater and greedier States which profited by it considerably. They freely gave and took mandates to protect well-to-do wards—but fought shy of poor ones—on the ground that moral responsibility and guardianship are the correlates of political power and high moral standing. And in the near future wherever on the globe there happens to be a strong, thriving, order-loving, assimilating and progressive people and beside it a restless, backward, potentially wealthy, politically incohesive State, there will be a strong temptation to apply the principle.
Divested of its moral wrappages it is the doctrine of might. As General Obregón puts it: "The World War is obliging great nations to choose between force and justice and the little ones can escape from force only by submitting to justice."
Force decked out in the garb of ethics would seem to be the one fixed and immutable point in the various doctrines which still inspire Latin-Americans—"the inferior races"—with alarm. For what it connotes is the Anglo-Americanisation of the western hemisphere.
The North American politician who dwells in the high politico-spiritual latitudes of righteousness professes to regard Mexico as a huge decaying organism at the very doors of his country and proclaims that it has become a danger not merely to group interests or to legitimate political aims but also and especially to the normal progress of the world. And he refuses to inquire whether the germs of the decay were imported or nurtured by outside influences, as Mexicans assert, and deliberately cultivated by outside sordid interests. He takes the ground that the whole organism being tainted with gangrene, it is bootless to seek to heal this or that symptom. Of all Mexico's democratic institutions he denies that there is one which is real. Of all its avowed aspirations he perceives none that are attainable. Every native effort put forth to stay the moral, social and political dissolution which has played such havoc with the people he dismisses as nugatory. Riveting his gaze on the past, he is blind to the present and incredulous about the future. Hence, to his thinking, none of the functions of an organised community is being discharged; none of the objects of civilised society is being achieved: the State is without a Government, the people are devoid of guidance, misery stalks a country which abounds in all the resources necessary and adequate to material well-being. Relations between the governing and the governed, between this racial element of the population and that, between the judicial and the executive powers, between the States and the Federal Government, although defined by paper laws, are in perpetual flux and inextricable confusion. That such a diseased body should be left decomposing in the sun during a period of psychic epidemics is contrary to that common sense which is to be found in the soul of every man of Anglo-Saxon blood.
Such is the gist of the staple argument in favour of prompt action and drastic expedients. Official recognition of the Obregón administration will not silence or discourage those who rely upon it today. It is one of those obsessions or pre-texts which are independent of the reasons advanced for holding it. Hence it is argument proof.
A glance at the curious relationship which prevailed between the United States and the Diaz Government will enable the reader to perceive why the minds of the average North American investor and of the imperialistic politician are stereo-typed against any form of future intercourse with Mexico further removed from overlordship than that.
It has been often termed "intervention by 'fantasma.' " Whenever the Dictator Diaz whose statecraft was but surface-deep desired to carry a measure he was wont to dangle before the eyes of the dissentient members of the Cabinet the menace of the United States' intervention. This sobering prospect which was always efficacious he playfully termed the "fantasma." The essence of his domestic and international policy was respect for property and for all that that implied. Many of his own friends and most of his adversaries admit that it was an exaggerated respect—a species of idolatry—and that some of the ways in which it was manifested were indefensible. It was founded, they alleged, on no higher principle than expediency and therefore was devoid of a solid basis. One might describe it as the quest of material prosperity for the benefit of the few. It was the thinnest of materialisms translated into politics and as such could not stand the test of time. It lost sight of the nobler aspirations of human beings and used the bulk of the population as a means to an end instead of treating them as the proper end of all governance. Indeed the paramount, nay the sole, interest which they had in the matter was to rise up in arms against it.
Diaz' statecraft was but a series of sorry expedients. It took hardly any account of distant bearings or interdependent relations. The Dictator contented himself with holding up to the imagination of his fellow-workers the "fantasma" of Yankee intervention and strove to burn into their minds the constant peril which Mexico ran of forfeiting her sovereign attributes if she failed to retain the good will of the United States by foregoing certain of those attributes spontaneously. That was the ever-present spectre which haunted the National Palace and the legislatures, frightened gainsayers of Diaz' policy and kept the Mexican ear open to the breeze of inspiration which blew steadily from the north side of the Rio Grande. Hence the alacrity with which foreigners' claims were satisfied, foreigners' complaints were listened to and foreigners' grievances were redressed. Even the Supreme Court itself was trained by the Dictator to shape its decisions in strict accordance with the requirements of this settled policy and to await his injunctions before pronouncing them. It is contended that on the whole in these law suits right was on the side of the foreigners, so that what the President violated was not so much essential justice as the mechanism by which it was administered and the respect in which it ought to have been held. But even admitting this, one cannot gainsay that he was sapping the foundations of the State.
The "fantasma" which silenced opposition and enforced unanimity is gone. Many outlanders hoped that General Obregón with an eye to his own interests if not to theirs would follow the Dictator's example. They can plead as their excuse that they did not know the character of the new President. Diaz was' solicitous above all else about suppressing revolts, murders and other excesses, keeping the seamy side of Mexican life out of eyeshot and maintaining himself in power. But he only partly accomplished these objects and by practices which were ruthless. Sacrificing the lives and liberties of a section of his own people he pleaded in justification that by killing off a few he saved many. Possibly he did. But it is credibly alleged that the direct effects of this policy were to lay in the materials for the ten years of conflagration that began after his overthrow, to create an economic oligarchy of grasping foreign capitalists and to keep the Indian workers and the poorer classes of the population wretchedly paid, ill housed, ill fed and in a state of benighted ignorance.
The general character of Diaz' rule, which ignored the maxim that sheep may be shorn but not flayed, became widely known by its fruits, passable in the field of international finance and poisonous in the social and political spheres at home. Here is a mild sample of the consequences of the vicious economic arrangements in vogue. A highly intelligent non-political Mexican travelling in the Republic towards the close of the Diaz régime found conditions suggestive of those described by Arthur Young in France on the eve of the great Revolution. "I visited haciendas and factories," he said, "filled with workmen who toiled from sun-rise to sun-down for a few measures of beans, half a dozen bananas, a little sugar, coffee and bread. They were attired in the cheapest of cotton garments and slept on coarse mats spread on the earth. Heavily in debt to their masters they had no hope of ever freeing themselves from thraldom. They were taught to undergo their trials uncomplainingly, accepting them as immutable conditions of the cosmic scheme of things. In a Chiapas plantation I came across a large number of these hopeless toilers, Indians most of them, but to my great surprise there was one genuine Frenchman among them. This to me was a revelation. I questioned the interesting foreigner who wore the same kind of ragged garb as the natives and I ascertained that he had wandered to the place several years before and, being penniless and friendless, had taken work in the plantation, married an Indian girl who bore him several children, and continued to live there ever since. He had acquired the language of the tribe, had contracted, like his comrades, a debt which he could never hope to refund and was sullenly contented with his daily rations of food which included portions for his wife and children. He had no prospect of betterment, no expectation of innovation, except the exchange of his wretched hut for the grave.
"I rode away from the plantation heavy at heart meditating on the cheerless existence of these semi-human machines and their functions in the divine ordering of mundane things, when I came up with a strapping young fellow trudging along the road. With him I at once entered into conversation. For the by-ways of Chiapas were not encumbered with traffic nor frequented by travellers, and a meeting with a chance pedestrian was calculated to awaken all one's dormant social instincts. The wanderer who carried his 'property in a little bundle on his back informed me that he had come from afar and was on his way, I think, to Salina Cruz, where he hoped to find work. 'But surely you might have found work much nearer, in that plantation yonder, for example?' I remarked. 'Yes, I know,' he replied, 'but that kind of work is of no good to me. There is no money in it. All you get is your food and barely enough of that. And I am in quest of something else.' 'Of money?' I queried. 'Well, you see,' he replied, 'my father is employed on that plantation, has been there many years and he could give you a wrinkle or two about it. For him it is a life sentence in the galleys. He can never get out again if I don't help him and I am in search of work that will give me the money to buy him out. That is what I am looking for. Every mother's son of those workmen over there is laden with debts, debts they never fairly contracted and yet can never wipe out. For the money they owe they never received. That is the way the business is done. I am sorry for my poor father who should be resting at his time of life and I am going to ransom him if I can get a job that will bring me in a little money. I don't care how heavy the work is or how badly I fare myself. What I want is to buy the old man free and that is why I am going so far afield.' 'How much does your father owe?' The answer was fifty or sixty Mexican dollars. I would myself have given the lad the sum he needed if I could have afforded it, added my friend, "but my own spare cash was very limited. All I could do I did. I made him a present of nine Mexican pesos, and my reward was instantaneous. He embraced me. He shed tears of joy. He tendered me rapturous thanks which filled me with intense grief that I could not do more for him and with abiding gladness that I had sent a ray of hope to his aching soul."
When one contemplates the grinding, relentless spirit in which the natives of one of the richest countries in the world were thus beggared and crushed by the few who were living on the fat of the land and building up colossal fortunes, one may still deplore but one can hardly feel surprised at the mad attempts made by a section of the downtrodden people to annihilate the privileges and sources of power possessed by their taskmasters. Probably no such spectacle has been witnessed anywhere before. Mexico is an Eldorado. Its natural resources are incalculable. Even this very year it has produced sixty per cent of all the world's output of silver. It is capable of maintaining a population of a hundred million people instead of the fifteen or sixteen millions, mostly lack-ails, living from hand to mouth. To watch the stream of riches flow smoothly by into foreign channels without benefiting the bulk of the natives that own it, is a constant provocation to lawlessness, the force of which is realised only by those who experience it.
When the opportunity at last arrived and the revolution broke out it was expected that a new and improved state of affairs would at once ensue. But these hopes have been shattered. By whom? Mexicans unhesitatingly answer: "By those very groups which have accumulated wealth at our expense and are using it to our detriment." If the economic resuscitation of the country has not yet been realised, if foreign capital keeps aloof, if the foreign politicians and industrial corporations have erected a Chinese wall around the country in the hope of reducing it to subjection, is it fair, is it humane, to taunt Mexico with its shattered finances, its defective transport system, its halting internal reforms?
The would-be foreign masters of the country still look back wistfully towards the fantasma of the Diaz régime and are hopefully striving to substitute for that another and more durable method of exerting a predominant influence over the Republic. As this innovation is "Cubanisation," it is a matter for surprise among Mexicans that so little heed has been paid to this aspect of the subject seeing that if embodied in the concrete proposal which emanates from Mr. Fall it would thrill with emotion all the peoples of Latin-America.
When the demon of terror—the fantasma—was exorcised and together with it the ready consideration vanished which had theretofore been bestowed upon every expressed or implied wish of the northern Mentor, the foreign groups turned their attention to the filling of this gap. And the execution of this scheme is regarded as an essential condition of satisfactory relationship between the two Republics. It would seem as though nothing else, not even a treaty guaranteeing the effective protection of life and property, the payment of the national debt and the return of the railways, will be regarded by the self-constituted saviours of Mexico as an adequate substitute for the threatening shadow which Mexican officials under the Diaz régime carried in their hearts even under the brightest sunshine.
That is the crux of the situation to-day. To ignore it is to operate with misconceptions and to waste time on bootless endeavours. Mexico is now being summoned to fulfil certain international obligations, the binding force of which cannot be called in question. Her official spokesman acknowledges the duty and is prepared to discharge it. The obstacles in his way come from the United States and are wholly artificial. If the leading men in the southern Republic have, as behooved them, ascertained the true leanings of their foreign colleagues' minds they must feel that such international commitments as payment of interest on the national debt constitute but the merest fringe of the matter and that the problem which is being gradually pressed forward as essential, though it has not yet been officially formulated, may be described as the establishment of such relations as will render the Mexican Government, irrespective of the party which may chance to be in power, permanently and readily accessible to whatever counsel the United States as ethical Mentor and self-constituted friend may feel prompted to vouchsafe. Diaz expedient of the fantasma was accepted as satisfactory so long as its author's tenure of office lasted. But what is demanded today by many of those who are engaged in moulding public opinion in the United States is a stable arrangement which will outlive presidents and revolutions, commit the country for all time and warrant the State Department in Washington, to offer, and if need be press, its services upon its weak neighbour. Haiti is the model.
An exhaustive discussion of the motives of this striving is beyond the scope of the present study. The writer's only contention is that it is a factor which ought to be fully covered by the surveys made of the international situation by those whose duty it is to keep a sharp look-out and recommend or adopt such measures as are called for. It would be a lack of candour on his part to pass over this far-reaching issue in silence or without due stress. For however completely Mexico may meet her present obligations the unavowed issue, which has not yet been clearly mooted, is certain to crop up in un-familiar shapes, at times with vexatious accompaniments and possibly sinister consequences until it finally stands out with-out wrappage or disguise as a corollary of the latter-day doctrine sketched above, of the ethical guardianship of the superior political organism over the inferior.
No arrangement less far-reaching than that can be expected to satisfy the aspirations of the money-seeking American groups which are bent on "saving" the southern Republic. And Mexico, it may be added, feels that in this connection she stands for all Latin-America. This was one of the few issues of the international enigma which Carranza, short-sighted though he was in most other matters, thoroughly mastered and clumsily strove to tackle. His sole claim to political vision reposed upon his correct reading of that phenomenon. And his dismal failure was due to the fatuous expedients with which he encountered it.
A line of action becomes a policy only if it-extend to far-off aims. And the attainment of these invariably requires labour, skill, time and the frequent readjustment of tactics to shifting conditions. Carranza devised such a rounded policy : he undertook not merely to liberate all Central America from the guardianship of the northern Mentor, but further to create a sort of lesser Monroe Doctrine there for the behoof of Latin-America without reference to the North American Republic. And he might as well have dipped a sieve into the ocean in the hope of catching the stars.
Immunity from unwelcome guardianship was guaranteed by President Wilson when he laid it down in his message to Congress that the "governments of America stand, so far as we are concerned, upon a footing of genuine equality and unquestioned independence."10 This pronouncement, had it been final, was the utmost that any central or south American Re-public could reasonably demand or expect. To set about improving it and propounding a brand new Latin-American Doc-trine on the very lines of the one which aroused Mexico's resentment, and in open defiance of the great northern Republic, was an enterprise which gives one the true measure of Carranza's political acumen. If, moved by the desire to pre-serve all that appears worth preserving in their national or racial customs, institutions and strivings as well as their independence and language, the Latin-American Republics could band themselves together for the attainment of these legitimate objects and for friendly emulation with the great people of the United States, they would have made as much headway as is possible or desirable in the direction struck out by Carranza.