In another article, *¡ Mr. Emory showed that our importations are becoming more and more the mere raw material and less manufactured goods, as though we were on the road to needing raw materials from the tropics to make the goods we must sell.
* Munsey's, January, 1900.
* Atlantic Monthly, May, 1898.
*¡ Popular Science Monthly, April, 1901.
Every new report from our Bureau of Statistics shows this general trend of increase of trade, but the details do not concern us here.
We are drawn into the Asiatic question by natural law, in spite of our efforts to keep out. We find that coaling stations, naval bases, strong garrisons, Hawaiian Islands, Samoan harbors, Philippine Islands, Chinese trade and control of the Pacific Ocean are positively necessary, and have come to us notwithstanding the opposition of some of our highest types of statesmen. It is law, the necessary step for future national preservation in the international struggle for existence. Whether or not our export trade to the Philippines will pay for their expense is of no possible consequence, for even if we need their exports the Philippines are but an item in the whole. Some men of commercial acumen, believe the trade to be of great possibilities, others sneer at it, and no one really knows. They have already absorbed several hundred millions of our dollars, and it may be a low price to pay.
Trade is really the basis of Japanese national movement. Of course, overpopulation makes it possible for them to embark on the wonderful industries of which they are so proud. It is generally assumed that Japan wants to spread her population into new territories, but they are not colonizers in any sense of the word - indeed, have miserably failed where they have tried it. Japan fought for Korea and the adjacent lands because it had been her legitimate trading ground for centuries, and the presence of Europeans was threatening her prosperity. It was always stated that she dreaded being overwhelmed, but that could occur only after destruction of her trade had reduced her population, for no nation can invade such a populous land. She did not wish to repeat the history of Ireland, where interruption of trade has so reduced the population that invasion has been a simple matter. After the close of the Russian war Japan began an immediate campaign to invade the markets of the world, and this movement brought her to the verge of war. Luckily, her statesmen realized the impossibility of success, at present, and the utmost necessity for friendship. One reason for the present policy is the fact that her expansion has made America a base of supplies rather than a competitor.
Publicists constantly magnify the possibilities of foreign trade due to opening up new fields. China is being invaded, but there are few of her hundreds of millions who can afford to buy even if they needed our goods. Indeed, the introduction of machinery may actually lessen the trade by creating new competitors. Already the Chinese are making steel rails for their own roads, and the more agricultural machinery imported, the more farm laborers will be free to work in factories.