The Charlotte News
Thursday, November 14, 1940
Site Ed. Note: "Arming Japan" points up the problem confronting the Allies in 1940, to embargo all commodities from Japan or to enable a flow of the most precious commodity, oil, to avoid the prospect of Japan attacking the Dutch East Indies and Malaysia. Eventually, of course, despite the Dutch deal in 1940 to provide Japan with oil, and despite the continuing flow from California oilfields through the first half of 1941, the Japanese warlords chose the course of attack anyway.
As we have observed before, the modern game of empire tends to center around this one viscid commodity. Should we wage a war to develop alternative means of running our vehicles, all certainly within our technological grasp, we would end many troubling empire quests and without spilling a drop of blood in doing so. Not to mention the notion that we would place a large dent in global warming.
But all of that takes leadership and a public which is willing to part with its SUV's and is not going to be wowed by the prospect of a $300 tax rebate ignoring the facts of life that by cutting federal revenue, local and state government revenue suffers, resulting in higher state taxes, higher property taxes, higher college tuitions, etc., etc. We seem to remember some economists arguing a year or so ago that invasion of Iraq would free up millions upon millions of barrels of rich crude onto the world market with the consequent decrease in oil prices... Won't get fooled again, huh?
For the other editorial of this date, which was significant in garnering for Cash a Pulitzer nomination, see "Sea Fight".
She Now Has Two Sources For Oil for Battleships
Oil men in New York attempt to minimize the importance of Japan's new oil deal with the Dutch East Indies, but it may be suspected that they are parties in interest. American and British oil companies in the islands will have the handling of most of the Japanese contracts.
The plain fact is that Japan is now about to get about three and one-half times as much oil from the Dutch as she has been getting-1,800,000 tons in the next six months to be exact. How long that would keep the Japanese battlefleet in action we don't know, but obviously it would be for a considerable time.
Meantime, it is to be observed, Japan continues able to buy petroleum products from the United States with the sole exception of high octane gasoline for airplanes. She can buy and store all the fuel oil she wants for battleships, for instance.
In view of the uses to which she may presently put those battleships the Dutch East Indies agreement seems in simple common sense to raise pointedly the question as to whether it isn't time to extend our embargo to include all petroleum products.
But there is little prospect that we are going to do any such thing. That the United States State Department was opposed to the Dutch deal seems probable. But apparently the British were willing to acquiesce in it, in the hope of avoiding a showdown with Japan.
Passing of Chamberlain Opens Way To Changes
The British deny it, but the death of Chamberlain may well be the signal for shake-ups in the Churchill Cabinet.
The idea of replacing Foreign Secretary Halifax with Anthony Eden by way of appeasing Russia seems pretty useless now. The expectations of the United States Department of State that Molotoff will line up more closely with the Axis are probably founded on good evidence. And indeed, so far as we know, the British themselves seem to be resigned to that.
But even though the Russian hope has gone a-glimmering now, it still remains true that the appointment of Eden in place of Halifax would probably be calculated to strengthen the Churchill Government. Not that Eden is necessarily the stronger man. He did, it is true, have a clarity of mind to see what was going to come out of Musso's Ethiopian adventure. But in action he has not always been adept. And Halifax is apparently no longer an appeaser, knows his job perhaps better than any man in England.
For all that there are certainly segments of the British and American opinion which will not feel quite easy about the possibility of appeasement until all the old Baldwin-Chamberlain group are shown the door and replaced with men who fought them all along.
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