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RISE OF EMPIRE: THE ANCIENT DESIGN: II

The second height to be regained is that where of old foreign policy was submitted to public debate. How long ago that seems! And how was that height lost? There was no battle for it. The government seized it without a struggle; and now the President may say the people ought to accept the government's foreign policy without debate.

In a speech to the National Women's Democratic Club on November 20, 1951, President Truman said: "You remember what happened in 1920. When the people voted for Harding, that meant a tremendous change in the course the United States was following. It meant that we turned our backs on the new-born League of Nations.... I think most people now recognize that the country chose the wrong course in 1920 Since I have been President I have sought to steer a straight course of handling foreign policy matters on the sole basis of the national interest. The people I have chosen to fill the major positions concerned with foreign policy have been picked solely on merit, without regard to party labels. I want to keep it that way. I want to keep our foreign policy out of domestic politics."

So far had the American mind been conditioned by the infatuate phrase, bi-partisan foreign policy, that this extraordinary statement was vacantly received.

What was the President saying? He was saying that because, in his opinion, the people once voted wrong on foreign policy, they ought not to vote on it at all any more. Let them leave it to the President. It follows logically that the people have no longer anything to say about war and peace.

On this height, where foreign policy once more shall be debated by the people who may have to die for it, let the wind be cold and merciless. Let those be nakedly exposed to it who have brought the country to this impasse, who so misunderstand the nature of what they have done that they find no ignominy in having brought national security to rest upon the good will of boughten allies—if it is so; who petted and nourished the Russian aggressor and recommended him to the affections of the American people as a peace-loving collaborator. If they can justify themselves to the free and disenthralled intelligence of the people, so that the people knowingly choose to go on with them, then there will be nothing more to say, or to do, but decently to perform the obsequies of the Republic. Until this is settled it will be useless to discuss domestic policies because what is at stake in the first case is the fate of the republican form of government.

RISE OF EMPIRE: THE ANCIENT DESIGN: II

RISE OF EMPIRE: THE LOST TERRAIN: III