21 SEPTEMBER 1901, Page 13


[TO THE EDITOR OP TUB "SPECTATOR."] Sia,—You are doing an admirable service to the nation by your convincing articles on Russo-British relations. What surprises me is the lack of ordinary common-sense in the Russophobite. It is quite certain that we shall not fight Russia either in the Persian Gulf or China. Where, then, is the sense of a policy of perpetual snarling ? In India and elsewhere it gives the impression that we are " willing to wound, and yet afraid to strike." But if Russia were to annex the whole of Persia we should be immense gainers instead of losers. A commercial and naval country like ours always gains by the annexation of a barbarous country by a civilised Power. Is Mr. Bennett (Spectator, September 14th) aware that our trade with Russia is at this moment much larger than our trade with China ? No tariffs can exclude British produce from Russia. In spite of the McKinley Tariff, British manufacturers undersold American manufac- turers in their own markets. Since, therefore, we certainly shall not fight Russia, ought not common-sense to dictate the policy of our imitating France by forming It working understanding with Russia ? Russia, like other countries, is in politics governed by its interests, and a really friendly understanding with England is of more consequence to Russia than a friendly understanding with any other Power. It is probably not too late to form such an understanding still, but it may be too late soon. The one aim of Germany since Bismarck began to shape its policy is to make bad blood between Russia and England. Russia, in despair of concili- ating us, may form an alliance against us with our bitterest and implacable foe,—Germany. To destroy our commercial and naval supremacy is an economical necessity to Germany, for we are the one Power which stands in the way of her national aspirations and expansions. We all remember the Kruger telegram. But few are aware that in the Fashoda imbroglio Germany urged France on to a rupture with us, and offered a German alliance against us. We owe it, in some degree, to Russia that this German coup failed. The new German Navy is almost avowedly aimed against us. We have no time to lose if we wish to maintain our supremacy