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SCHOOLBOY TRAINING The recruit on entering the service at 20 years of age is by no means raw material. Up to 15 years of age every boy is compelled to attend school, in which there is systematic physical training intended to give preparation for military service. There is also an elaborate cadet corps system, which boys are encouraged to join, and in which they are instructed in rifle-firing and other military details. At 20 the average young Swiss is already expert in the manual of arms and in many of the duties of a soldier's life.
The cost of all this to the nation is trifling, the total cost of the military establishment being only about $13,000,000 a year. The cost of each recruit, for training and maintenance during his first year's period of service, is $13. He serves without pay, save for 16 cents a day for spending money, and the government pays for his uniform, rifle and other equipment, transportation, lodgings and food. The net result is that Switzerland, one of the most peaceful and least militaristic countries in the world, is a nation of efficient, disciplined and expert soldiers.
Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, though British colonies, are really republics; certainly they are no less democracies than the United States; and they have systems of universal service. In Australia military training and service is compulsory upon all boys and men between the ages of 12 and 26. From 12 to 14 they are junior cadets; from 14 to 18 senior cadets; and from 18 to 26 they are citizen forces, armed, equipped and disciplined precisely as in the regular British army.
The suggestion of what such a system would mean to this country-of what it would be meaning to us now, if it had been in force for the last score of years—is uncommonly profitable for consideration.
THE MONROE DOCTRINE IN THE WAR
Fears that Our Participation in the War Might Compromise the Monroe Doctrine — Talk about Abandonment of Our “Policy of Isolation" — What the Monroe Doctrine Is, and What It Means - How It was Interpreted by Those Who Made It - No "Policy of Isolation" to be Found in It or Elsewhere The United States a Full-sized Nation, "Able to Do All Things that Free and Independent States May of Right Do."
IS THE Monroe Doctrine abrogated by our entry into the war? The question is still asked, seriously if not wisely. So it was asked, years ago, if our conquest of Spain in the Philippines had not violated and abrogated that doctrine. Perhaps we might, Yankee fashion, answer the question by asking another. Did the Monroe Doctrine abrogate or forfeit our rights as a sovereign nation?
Beyond doubt, a certain fear that we should thus destroy that doctrine was conspicuous among the forces which so long restrained our government from declaring the war to which it had so abundant provocation. Even the President of the United States was troubled with such forebodings, when he intimated that we should perhaps have to abandon our traditional policy of isolation in order to take part in the affairs of the world for the sake of our own rights and of world-wide humanity.
NO ISOLATION POLICY The fact is, however, that the United States has no "policy of isolation.” It never had one. It never consistently practiced one. No trace of one is to be found,
in either the public pronouncements or the acts of the nation. Let us begin with the Declaration of Independence. It specifically asserts that the United States, “as free and independent States, have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce and to do all other acts and things which independent States may of right do." Certainly there is no hint of isolation there, but rather an assertion of our equal status as a nation among the nations of the world, competent to participate in any and all international affairs.
“NO ENTANGLING ALLIANCES' Washington and Jefferson are named as sponsors for an isolation policy; but they were not. Washington warned the nation against permanent alliances with European powers, but he made it clear that his advice was intended merely for that time, while we were comparatively small and weak, and in the same breath he cordially sanctioned temporary alliances for special purposes.
Jefferson also spoke epigrammatically against "entangling alliances,” but in almost the next breath he advocated a hard and fast offensive and defensive alliance with Great Britain, and twenty years later, in the ripeness of his retirement as the “Sage of Monticello,” he again recommended a permanent alliance with that country in order to detach it from the Continental system and to oppose the Holy Alliance with an Anglo-American alliance. His notable declarations of policy were thus at least two to one against “isolation.”
THE MONROE DOCTRINE
If we come on down to the Monroe Doctrine, which is perhaps most frequently referred to as the basis of our
"isolation" policy, what do we find? Not a hint nor a suggestion of "isolation," either in the doctrine itself or in the authoritative comments upon it which were made at that time. In his message Monroe expressed ardent sympathy with Greece in her struggle for independence, and a deep interest in the unhappy condition of Spain and Portugal. There was no hint at isolation, or even at neutrality. Then he proceeded with the doctrine:
“In the wars of the European Powers, in matters relating to themselves, we have never taken any part, nor does it comport with our policy so to do. It is only when our rights are invaded or seriously menaced that we resent injuries or make preparations for our defense. ... With the existing colonies or dependencies of any European Power we have not interfered, and shall not interfere.
Our policy in regard to Europe . . . remains the same,
which is not to interfere in the internal concerns of any of its Powers, .. and to preserve those relations by a frank, firm and manly policy, meeting in all instances the just claims of every power, submitting to injuries from none.”
NEITHER ISOLATION NOR MEDDLING There is no "policy of isolation" there, unless indeed it be isolation for a nation to refrain from being a busybody and a meddler in matters which are none of its business. It does not comport with our policy to take part in matters relating solely to other powers.
Our policy is not to interfere “in the internal concerns" of other powers. All that is quite true. But how about matters which do not relate solely to European powers, and concerns which are not internal but external? The doctrine leaves us perfectly free to take any action which may be dictated by our own interest and welfare.