[Editor: This article, about the British-Japanese military defence alliance, was published in the “Plain English” column in The Bulletin (Sydney, NSW), 20 July 1911.]
The renewal of the alliance between Britain and Japan may mean that Australia has 10 whole years to prepare for the trouble that is surely coming; but it certainly means that Japan may have 10 years in which to become a more formidable adversary. Japan, which has been in straitened financial circumstances since the war with Russia, has submitted perforce to a period of inaction so far as colonial expansion is concerned; and Britain — with a possible enemy at its front gate, and a vast Asiatic territory to hold — is so situated that the colored alliance has become almost a necessity.
But by 1921 the position will have changed. By that time Japan’s high tariff will have filled the country with manufactories, and its spell of financial depression will have ended. Its fleet and army will have grown in strength and numbers. Its population of 49 millions will, in those islands where large families are the rule, have increased out of sight. Fresh territory will be as necessary as clothes for a growing child. By all the omens Britain will be a much less desirable ally in 1923 than it is to-day. If Germany forges ahead at the rate it has maintained during the decade, the United Kingdom will have all its work cut out to attend to that rival in the realms of trade and Empire. And there are other possibilities. Japan may disregard its treaty obligations altogether, as many a nation with a higher reputation for probity than Japan enjoys, has done in the past; or Britain may go down before a combination of European Powers.
In either or these, or a dozen other eventualities, Australia will be called on immediately to stand up for home and nationhood on its very own. In the circumstances it needs to be unremitting in its efforts to secure fresh population, more ships, and an army that will count. The nation will get scant comfort out of hanging Bruce Smith in the scrub when its homes are bursting, and adult invaders are spanking its small-boy defenders.
The Bulletin (Sydney, NSW), 20 July 1911, pp. 6-7
Also published in:
The Scone Advocate (Scone, NSW), 25 July 1911, p. 2 (entitled “The Anglo-Japanese Treaty: A respite”)
The Northern Star, and Richmond and Tweed Rivers Advocate (Lismore, NSW), 29 July 1911, p. 10 (entitled “Respite!”, only an extract from the original article)
Bruce Smith = Arthur Bruce Smith (1851-1937), Member of the Australian Parliament for the Free Trade party and then several other parties (1901-1919), born in England in 1851, migrated to Australia with his family in 1854, and died in Bowral (NSW) in 1937
probity = integrity, uprightness, utter honesty; to act with decency, honesty, and upright morality; to adhere to a high level of morality, abiding by strong principles, and behaving in a decent, honest, and trustworthy manner
[Editor: The original text has been separated into paragraphs.]