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CHAPTER XIX.

ARBITRATION AS A DUTY BETWEEN STATES OR

NATIONS.

MEMORY GEM "We are made for co-operation, like feet, like hands, like eye-lids, like the rows of the upper and lower teeth. To act against one another, then, is contrary to nature. -Marcus Aurelius Antoninus.

Dialogue.

And now let us apply what we have been saying about strife, still further to the disputes between states and countries, to the subject of war, for instance.

What if two states fall into a dispute over some point, one of them being aggrieved by something done by the other, and the other insisting that the course it has pursued was fair and right, what may then happen? How will they settle it, perhaps? "Oh, by going to war," you answer.

Would there be any other way? "Surely, if it is a small matter, they could drop it and agree to disagree." But if it were a very important matter, what then? "Oh, they could perhaps arrange to have a conference over it."

Yes, that is a point you have also not mentioned with regard to strife between two persons. How could it be arranged, when two boys or girls fall into a dispute? "Oh, they could agree to wait and talk it over the next day, at an appointed time, perhaps in the presence of others."

What good would this do? "As to that," you tell me, "there would be the advantage that they would not be so excited, after having had time to think the

matter over, and they would be in the presence of others whose good opinion they would care to have.”

And might this plan be carried out between two states or countries? "Yes, they could appoint two sets of persons who might come together and discuss the matter openly and frankly, in the presence of the whole world, if need be."

What should we call this, I wonder? It would be between what? "States or nations?" Suppose that we call it international. It would then be an international what? "Conference?" Yes, it would be an international conference, in order to settle a dispute without war.

What other course would be open then, if they could not come to an agreement? Any further means besides war? "Yes, there could be the method of arbitration."

How would that be possible, when nations do not have parents, like children; when they could not get older heads with more experience, as better judges?

"Why, at any rate, they could try to find other persons, not closely connected with either side, who might be more impartial." And why would such individuals be more impartial, if not on either side? "Because their own interests would not be concerned."

Do you mean to say, even when people may be calm, in a judicial frame of mind, free from excitement, that they may not be able to judge impartially, if their own interests are concerned? "It would seem that way," you admit.

It implies, then, that a nation may be misled by its own interests in judging about what is just or unjust? "Yes," you hesitate. Would it actually be possible, I ask, for one nation to go to war with another, believing itself fully in the right and sure that its cause was just, when in reality it would be

in the wrong, and justice be on the other side? How is that possible?

"Why," you tell me, "it might be just because its own interests were concerned and it could not see clearly or be impartial in its judgment."

It indicates, does it, that a nation cannot always be trusted to decide what is justice, when its own affairs are concerned? "Not if there is strife between it and another nation," you explain, “and the other nation also believes itself in the right.'

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In that case, what kind of judges would be sought for, if the two nations wish to avoid war, and to submit to arbitration? "Why, they would try to get arbitrators who were neutral."

What do you have in mind by that term? "It implies not being selfishly interested in one side or the other." Anything more than that? Could the arbitrators give wrong decisions, and yet not have a personal interest for one side more than the other? "Yes, they might be prejudiced."

It would also imply, then, trying to get persons who were unprejudiced as well as neutral in their interests, so far as the strife would be concerned. This sounds easy in one way; but how could it all be brought about?

Suppose that in a strife between two young people in the instance we gave, they should agree to refer it to their parents. It might happen that they would be children of different families, and perhaps there would be danger that each parent would favor his own child. What could they do then?

"Why, they might let some other person choose the judges or they might each choose one judge and then let those two choose a third."

Yes, that could happen, and it would be the usual way. If they wish to have arbitration, the best method would be for each side to choose certain

judges, and then those judges should choose some others who would be more neutral. Why should this be necessary, however? I ask.

"Because naturally each side would try to choose certain judges who favor its cause, or believed its side to be right." But this would not be acting

impartially, I insist.

"No," you explain, "but it could not be expected that individuals or nations under prejudice or excitement would be impartial at such times. The only possibility would be that the judges they choose would be obliged to get others who were impartial, because they would have to agree on the persons chosen."

All this may sound very simple and natural; but after all, it looks a little like what we call theory, or as something not very liable to take place. Would it come easy, for instance, on the part of two children in strife, to agree to settle it in this way? "No?"

Why not? Would they not prefer to avoid coming to blows? What makes them unwilling to submit the disagreement to parents or arbitrators?

"Oh, for one reason, because they are children; they are impulsive, quick to act, not inclined to wait and have the thing settled in a slow way." Do you assert that self-control comes harder for children than grown people? "Yes, surely."

What other reasons would they have for not wishing to settle the matter in this way? "As to that, it might be that they really enjoy fighting." Do you actually think that they would take pleasure in the blows they receive? "No, not exactly that; but there is a certain excitement in a battle, and each side thinks it can win if it fights hard enough."

How would it be with nations, do you suppose? They are made up of grown people. The persons who decide are not children. They have all had

experience. They would be quick to prefer this method of arbitration, would they not? "You are not sure?"

Why do you hesitate? "Because," you say, “if this had been the case, why so many wars in the past?"

But what possible reason or motive could they Lave had for any reluctance in settling a dispute in this way? "As to that, it might be that one nation would be much stronger than the other, and feel perfectly sure it could win in the battle or in the war. Then the selfish motives would perhaps decide."

But what if, on the other hand, there were no such certainty? "Well," you say, "there might be the real wish to have a fight over it." Do you fancy that human beings actually take pleasure in war? "It almost seems that way at times," you confess, "judging from what has taken place in the past."

You do not exactly assert, do you, that people like to shed blood or kill one another, just taking pleasure in the slaughter of other human beings? "No, not quite that; but there is a kind of an intense excitement in a battle apart from the bloodshed or the killing. If people do not stop to think, they may really prefer to go ahead and fight."

But what if they stop to think? "In that case, they may reason out the awful consequences, not only to themselves who may be killed, but to the homes and to the whole country."

You think, then, do you, while arbitration would seem to the natural and true way for settling disputes between nations, that the nations might not always resort to it, for the reasons you give? "Yes?"

If they do not resort to it, who is to blame? "Why, the people, those who make up the nation." True, I continue, but all the people may not be in

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