Ashburton Guardian Magna est Veritas et Prævalebit. TUESDAY, JUNE 27. 1905. A SUGGESTED ALLIANCE.
According to yesterday's cable?, a suggestion, was made the other day m fcbe Freurh Chamber of Deputies during a discussion on foreign affairs, that Prance ahou'd nlly herself with Britain m order to attack Germany. The speaker who made this suggestion emphasised the fact that the Kaiser wa9 trying to destroy the cordial understanding now existing between Britain and Franoe m order to rtttrtot France t« Germany's side m the conflict which he foresees ia destined to eventuate between the latter country and Britain. Whether the understanding between the two countries separated by the British Channel will, m the long run, develop into a formal alliance cannot be predicted with certainty j but it ia clear that European international relations will gradually assume an increasing complexity within the next few years. At present Franco is allied with Euesia, who is engaged m a disastrous war with the ally of Britain, who on the oth^r hand is on the friendliest terms with France. The Triple Alliance unites Germany with Italy and Austria, this being an alliance for offensive and defensive purposes concluded m 1887, under which, it. is believed, Italy S9crebly undertakes to invade south-western France with 200,000 men m the event of a war between Germany and France. On the other hand, Italy and H'rance have, since 1903, been on terms of the greatest friendliness, and have come to a complete understanding regarding all matters affecting Italian interests m the Mediterranean and m Tripoli. It has been admitted by Italian statesmen that the development of this understanding between France and Italy has deprived some of the considerations that led Italy to join tho Triple Alliance of much of their weight. That the British Alliance with Japan will be renewed for a further term is a certainty, for Lord Lansdowne, British Foreign Secretary, haa declared that the only question to be decided is whether the Alliance shall be renewed m its present form or m a stronger form*. Under the present circumstances there is very little probability of Germany succeeding m inducing France to ally herself with her m ordei that they may embark together m a struggle with Britain, There is hardly a country m Europe that has a really friendly feeling for the Kaiser's nation, and whatever Alliance does exist botweon Germany and other nations is diotated purely by considerations of policy or even necessity. The Kaiser by his lack of tact and his somewhat arrogant attitude has made himself and his people pretty cordially disliked among the nations of Europe. Once the war m the Far East is concluded, it is quite possible that m a few years' time international relations may ! so develop as to bring France and Britain into a formal and open alliance. Should that alliance ever eventuate, it will certainly not be for offensive purposes, such I as were advocated the othor day m the French Chamber of Deputies ; the object of such a union would be purely defensive, ! and the time for putting it iato active operation as a weapon of military defence would occur when Germany has raised her naval power high enough to put her m a position to dispute seriously Britain's supremacy on the sea. It is the naval power of Britain that constitutes the chief obstacle m the path of Germany m her efforts towards colonial expansion. The Kaiser und his statesmen cherish colonising ambitions which they have no chance of realising as long as Britain retains her present command of the sea, and as those colonising I ambitions are not dictated by national pride only, but are to a large extent forced on the German Emperor and his advisers by the necessity of finding an outlet for surplus and possibly discontented population, it is evident that naval expansion is necessary to Germany's existence. Whatever Germany's, traders and cruisers go there they find the British too, and this must be very galling to their pride, us indeed some of their leading officers have frequently confessed. Many German military, and naval critics do not believe that the alleged invincibility of the British. navy rests on such a firm and solid 1 founda. tion as is generally supposed, and Germany would attain all she wants if she could by some sudden stroke inflict one reverse on the British fleet, and thus destroy its reputation for invincibility. That the attempt will be made is believed by the highest navnl authorities, and it is the practical certainty of this that helps to keep the Wac Office alive to the continued necessity of maintaining a navy equal m strength to those of any other two Powers combined. If the Alliance with Japan could be relied on to be a permanent one, that would, of course, largely do away with the necessity for Britiin keeping up the fcwo-Power standard m the navy; but international changes of policy occur so suddenly that it is not likely the British Government will ever rely on the possible permanence of the Anglo-Japanose Alliance as an excuse for lowering the present standard of the navy.