The Charlotte News
Wednesday, July 31, 1940
Willkie Should Renounce Machines Before Criticizing
It is just as well to keep perspective in politics as elsewhere.
Out in Colorado Springs, Mr. Willkie told reporters:
"The only Democrats who won't vote for me are those bound by regard for parties or controlled by the corrupt and nauseating party machines that dominate some majorities of the country with relief and other funds furnished by the Federal Government."
That goes much too far. It denies all honest difference of opinion. And it assumes exactly what Mr. Willkie has been lambasting Mr. Roosevelt for assuming--an absolute possession of truth, wisdom, and infallibility.
Mr. Willkie has made it clear before now that the machines he is talking about are the Kelly-Nash machine in Chicago, the Hague machine in New Jersey, etc., and that he means to ride the Roosevelt Administration very hard about them. Well and good. One of the most indefinite things about the Roosevelt record is that an Administration which is set up to be particularly pure and starry-eyed has all along dealt with these gangs.
But there is a corollary to this attack. Mr. Willkie, as the candidate of the Republican Party, automatically comes in to a few machines. The Pew machine in Pennsylvania is merely the successor to the old Vare machine, which looted Philadelphia until it is today in the worst financial condition of all the large American cities. And there are other Republican gangs.
These gangs certainly planned to back Mr. Willkie to the hilt, and if they back him it will be in the expectation, that he will play ball with them when the time comes.
Is he prepared to repudiate them and make it clear that he will have nothing to do with them? That is his opportunity. If he muffs it, he will simply be in the position of playing pot to the Roosevelt kettle.
Professional and Personal Qualities Distinguished Him
It may be that Dr. Harvey Barrett, because of a somewhat modest nature and an illness that had kept him into near retirement for the last six or seven years, was not known to a great many Charlotte people. The successive classes of graduates at Central High will remember him fondly as the busy man who came out and coached the school's track team. And the doctors will not soon forget him.
All through his absence, extending back to 1933, the Mecklenburg Medical Society has kept reaffirming the selection of Dr. Barrett as a permanent vice-president of the society. The doctors held him in high esteem on two counts: as a noted pathologist credited with important original research in parasites of the intestinal tract, and as a person of quiet charm and good humor.
Dr. Barrett was another of that host of good citizens who have come to Charlotte, strangers from afar, to be promptly adopted and taken into full fellowship. The community gained a great deal by his residence here.
Hitler's Move Heralds the Destruction of Switzerland
Apparently it is about time for Switzerland to prepare to go the way of Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, The Netherlands, Belgium, France, and Rumania, and be swallowed up into the maw of Nazism.
Hitler has presented his "suggestion" that the Swiss agree to have their economy incorporated with that of the Nazi state. Switzerland has refused. She has good reason in economics. Switzerland lives by trade which covers the world. In the past, she has had the making of her own terms with those who bought from her. Under Hitler's plan, terms will be made in Berlin that regard the welfare of Switzerland--purely with regard to advantage to the Nazi state. And under those circumstances, the proud and sturdy Swiss may confidently expect to be reduced to the status of slave-laborers in short order.
Switzerland also has reason in politics. Switzerland is a democracy.
But it will do her no good to refuse. Switzerland has great supplies of butter and cheese. Adolf Hitler wants them to feed his Nazis this Winter--on his own terms, not Switzerland's. He will take them.
They Rightly Distrust a Policy as Vague as Ours
Despite the formally optimistic announcements by Mr. Hull and our assorted diplomats, the Havana Conference was at best a half success. Notice was served on Hitler that most of the nations in this hemisphere would more or less object to his entry into it, and the United States got some generally grudging acquiescence in the idea that it would have to do the acting in an emergency.
But the surprise move of Argentina at the last hour set off a stampede of seven nations to make "reservations" which pretty well demonstrated that there is no real and solid unity of feeling of purpose between Latin-America and the United States--the thing that Mr. Hull desired most.
Worse, these nations included our backdoor neighbor, Mexico; Columbia, which is only a step away from the Panama Canal and which is supposed to be our special pet and friend; Venezuela, thought to be as friendly to us as Columbia and which occupies an immensely important position for control of the Caribbean; and Uruguay, which only the other day we were rescuing from a Nazi revolution by the show of our naval power.
Behind all this there is the hand of the Nazis, of course. Their agents have been very active in all these countries of late.
But there are good reasons why the Nazis could succeed. One of them is the old jealousy and hatred of the United States. Another is the fact that most of these countries look to Europe as their primary market, and hesitate to offend the power which may well control the whole of the continent.
There are still other reasons, however. The Latins are realistic in the stark fashion of the Latin nations of Europe. And if they are to make a solid political front with us, as opposed to a solid economic front (probably an impossibility) they quite rightly want to know exactly where they stand and exactly what may be expected from us--above all, the confidence that we have the power to make good on what we undertake.
As matters stand at present they have no such assurance, and indeed it is almost impossible that they should have. For instance, if Britain falls naval control over the South American Atlantic Coast will almost certainly pass to the Axis powers unless we first establish naval bases down there. In that case, we could defend the countries close to us only by having a great army ready to destroy any Nazi revolution or invasion. But there is no move to get naval bases; Congress does not even consider it. And at the present it is far from certain that we are going to have any army at all save the present one, which is a third the size of that of a country lately called Belgium.
A reading of the Federalist suggests that the founders of this Republic did not mean for Congress to make foreign policy but merely to exercise some check upon it. And the early Presidents mainly exercised the power by themselves. In 1823 nobody even thought it necessary for Congress to ratify the Monroe Doctrine. But for a long time Congress has been asserting more and more authority to make the policy down to the last detail. It hasn't mattered before because the United States has faced no great crisis while it has been going on. It does matter now.
For it results in our having no real policy at all. France died, in part at least, because legislative wrangling made a definite foreign policy impossible until it was too late. We are plainly repeating her history.
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