The Akaroa Mail. FRIDAY, JANUARY 9, 1913. A NEW THEORY.
For the last two hundred years there has been a lixed idea among Biuisb naval authorities that Britain mn4 retain the MMliterrnneiin . Sea to be ruler of the waves. Gibraltar and the Suez Canal bavo been carefully ]uAo and the Levant well guard- d wkl.! warships Rear-Adruiral A. T. Mabac, in writing to the "Djily Mail," bring' forward quite anosher theory, He states tbat the navy could abandon the Mediterranean without di«astei» but that; it can hardly hold the Mediterranean wiihout disaster. He maintains that the great expense of keeping the Mediterranean guarded is not worth the candle, and will become such a heavy burden on the Empire tbat it will be better to risk losing control of that part of the maritime world. It will be remembered that the Mediterranean was always considered ibe chief base for the Imperial fleet, and a large number of warships were stationed at Malta. In the last few yeara naval authorities considered tbat Britain berself was in puch a perilous condition that the bulk of the Dreadnoughts were brought from Maltalo Gibraltar, and the English Channel was carefully guarded. Whether tbe concentration of the fleet about the Channel was a necessity or not cannot be said, but tbero sfeixs no doubt thai; tbe step was a v\i-& ore 'and showed tbat Eng'and wa3 on her guard. Since tbat date conditions have improved ocnsiderably. England's most dreaded enemy, Germany, has decided to slacken ber shipbuilding campaign, nnd ban given up her itiia« of marilime supremacy. France's friend.-hip to Britain is well securrd also, but another menace baa ari3r-n in the activity of tbe Levant. Italy has shown her determination to ex tend her empire. Greece and tLe. Ba! kan States are awakening to a realisation of tbe possibilities a future may bold for them, and it i 3 the fear of the power of these people which has caused Admiral Mahan to pro pound bis theory. Judging by tbe signs of tbe times Admiral Maban argues tbat every year the key?, to the Mediterranean will have to be strengthened more securely until tbe upkeep will be an intolerable burden. Instead of wasting time and money on this part of ihe world,. .RearAdmiral Maban argues that Britain should secure a strong foothold in the Pacific -Ocean, so that maritime supremacy may be obtained in the routes to Canada and Australasia. We think tbat the theory is an un sound one, and that tbe Mediterranean should be retained by Britain as long as possible. Besides being an outlet for most of tbe Latin races, Gibraltar and the Suez Canal are on tbe route to India and China, and it would \e a thousand pities to lose such valuable strongholds. Both Gibraltar and tbe Suez Canal can be guarded fairly easily and without keeping a large fleet of warships in the Mediterranean itself. England by keeping the keys well fortified can prevent the Mcdi terranean being used by any foreign power. The outcome of the war question is hard to see. As every year passes by tbe "dogs of war' , cm be made more terrible until a time must come when nations will caase to resort to arms. To our mind* the theory of Rear Admiral Maban's as to the waning importance of tbe Mediterranean is sound from another aspect altogether. Tbe battles of tbe future will be fought in the air and not on the sea Tbe Great Powers are experimenting feverishly with the newest styles of air caft, and tbat is no doubt tbe reason why Germany is not going to spend such enormous sums on her navy. The cost of tbe modern Dreadnought is a thing not to be thought of lightly W"e bad an opportunity of seeing our gif D-eadnought "New Zealand" last May, and we know she cost two million pounds, One of tbe greatest ibiokers of Britain, writing about tbe war question, said tbat as an Imperialist be believed in tbe making of warebipa and in war, but as a thinker be must consider it a waste of moneyOne of the chief reasons why these great ships are built in Germany and England is to give employment to thousands of men. This writer argued tbat England might ju3t as well employ large gangs of men to dig an enormous ditch and fill it up egain. These Fame men were taxed for every ship they built, and tbe money put into a warship is not reproductive. These arguments are well worth listening to, but thiir fallacy is quite apparent. 7 be British simply could not afford to slacken in the efforts to keep up our maritime and military strength unless we are sure all the otbxr Po\, us
were ceasing to carry on this unprotic able work of building ships and making engines of war. Angel, in his work, "The Great Illusion," proves i quite conclusively that the necessity of war is absolutely a myth. This may be very well, and Mr Angel's arguments se&rn unanswerable on paper, but we have to look stern facts in th« face. Take any community in the world and it will bo found that there Jβ a Etrugg'e for existance and Eurprcmacy among the members of that community. Those best fitted for the battle of life by physical strength and mental endowments must win if other conditions are at all equal. In these days even the rich man cannot afford to sit flown and let things go or he will be left behind in the race. The same applies ! to the great nations. The struggle for supremacy is keener than it ever was, and any slackening means defeat, The world i 3 in a very unsettled state at present, and the awakening of China and Japan is likely to be productive of many important changes, the nature of which ig obscured to the eyes of,
obose locking into the future. Certainly it appears to us that now is the very wrong time to slacken in pre parations to keep Britain secure from foreign attack, and even if the strengthening of the Mediterranean is abated, the extra amouut of money should be spent on war dirigibles for the better protection of the