REVIEW OF REVIEWS

Europe’s Chaos to Aid Britain?

May Prove Blessing in Disguise to English-Speaking Nations, Says Eminent Writer

J. ELLIS BARKER December 1 1923
REVIEW OF REVIEWS

Europe’s Chaos to Aid Britain?

May Prove Blessing in Disguise to English-Speaking Nations, Says Eminent Writer

J. ELLIS BARKER December 1 1923

Europe’s Chaos to Aid Britain?

May Prove Blessing in Disguise to English-Speaking Nations, Says Eminent Writer

J. ELLIS BARKER

GLOOMY is the political, social, and economic outlook for Europe as depicted by J. Ellis Barker in the Fortnightly Review. It is an ill wind, however, that blows no one any good and Mr. Barker foresees that one of the consequences of European confusion may be beneficial to the British Empire and the English-speaking world generally.

The European outlook, says the writer, is unpromising and threatening. _ The forces of reaction and of Socialism in its various forms are distracting the nations. Besides, the peoples are dissatisfied with the results of the war. The defeated nations wish to regain what they have lost, and the newly-created ones have not yet found their feet. Everywhere there is absence of stability and tension. The air of Europe seems overcharged with electricity. Most nations consider the post-war settlement as only provisional.

Political and social chaos in Europe will, of course, lead to economic chaos. It is hopeless to expect that England can settle the numerous and very intricate problems which have arisen, even if she were asked to do so. Europe seems to be more or less in the position of distracted ancient Greece. Possibly those were right who said at the beginning of the war that the great struggle would lead to the permanent eclipse of Europe. We must be prepared to see our Continental business decline and shrink still further, especially as the nations of Europe endeavour to make themselves independent of English productions.

The eclipse of Europe seems inevitable. Germany and her neighbors may not settle down for a great many years. The rebuilding of Russia may take decades, and one revolution after another may take place in that unhappy country. However, the distraction of Europe may prove a blessing in disguise to the English-speaking nations. It should lead in the first place to the drawing together of England and the United States.

England and America combined can ensure peace and order, fairness and justice throughout the world. An AngloAmerican League is practicable. A League of Nations is a dream.

In the second place, the eclipse of Europe, increasing chaos in the markets on the Continent, will force British trade and industry to seek new outlets elsewhere, and not unnaturally the declining value of the European markets will bring about the more intensive cultivation of the oversea markets and especially of the Empire markets. For many centuries the principal interests of England lay in Europe. The lands on the Baltic, the Elbe and the Rhine, France, Spain and Portugal, and Italy and Turkey were England’s most important outlets. A century ago both Australia and Canada had only a few thousand British settlers. Now the greatest interests of England are extraEuropean. Greater Englands are arising across the sea. The economic decline of Europe, which seems inevitable, will cause England to concentrate all her energies upon the development of her magnificent overseas domain, which hitherto has been much neglected. The oversea lands under the British flag are between four and five times as extensive as the United States. Yet they contain only about a score of millions of white people. How seriously the British oversea lands have been neglected may be seen from the fact that they contain only half the railway mileage of the United States, that per million inhabitants, or per thousand square miles, there is only one mile of railway in the British Empire for every eight miles in the United States. If, as is to be feared, economic chaos should distract the Continent of Europe, that event may prove the most powerful factor in securing the permanent supremacy of the English-speaking nations and their peaceful control of the world.