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Editorial – The Brigands’ Club.

5 October 1940

Mexborough & Swinton Times – Saturday 05 October 1940

The Brigands’ Club.

The formal adhesion of Japan to the Axis alters nothing if its purpose of intimidating the United ‘States fails. The pact, which is for ten years, will not last ten minutes longer than it suits any party to keep it.

It is significant as registering Japan’s estimate of the present position of the duel between the Axis Powers and the British Empire; but what is equally significant is that Japan carefully contracts out of a war with Britain so long as the United States remains neutral in the Pacific or the Atlantic.

Hitler appears to have the better of the bargain, in that Japan’s, nuisance value to him is greater than his to Japan; he could not intervene effectively in the Sino- Japanese conflict and would not attempt to do so, beyond engaging as large a British force as possible in Europe and Africa, which he is committed to do anyhow. Japan’s hope is that the pact will freeze the United States into passivity while, with Britain pre-occupied, the new Japanese “order” in Asia is established, the conquest of China completed, British, Dutch, and French possessions in the Far East seized, and Japanese authority recognised as supreme in all that region. Russia has been invited to join the Axis too, and to throw in her lot with the anti-Comintern Powers.

That does not make sense, but it is none the less possible. Stalin’s plan and purpose is to burn down the non-Soviet world. To achieve that object there is nothing he will not sign; no length of treachery to which he will not go. His character and that of his regime—which is if possible, viler than the Nazis are by now well understood, and he has exhausted every twist and turn of policy. He is under no illusion as to the consequences to Soviet Russia of the failure of his complicated tactics. He may be very sure that a Germany which finishes triumphant and strong, will instantly turn its arms against Russia and sweep her out of Poland and the Baltic. He cannot afford a Hitler triumphant; neither does he desire a British victory. He is playing for the part of chief and delighted mourner at the final ruin of capitalist civilisation. If necessary he will sign the new Axis pact l and a dozen such; he will conclude a treaty of non-aggression with Japan while still supplying munitions to China ; there is no infamy lor infidelity he will not commit to ‘lengthen out his amazing fortune in being able to look on while the capitalist world blazes and explodes, and workers—what is that to him ! —are destroyed in their own homes by workers.

As a Canadian commentator re-marks: “the brigands are all in one camp,” or will be if Russia signs the pact. But they will not stay to hang together—when certain ruin faces the chief villain, his parasites, pawns, and puppets will not be able to run fast enough or far enough from their precious pacts. As to the United States, the Japanese challenge demands a bold answer.’ Now is the time for American’ critics of appeasement to practise what they preach. Japan has given a new meaning and a sinister edge to “isolation.”

At last it is realised, even in the Middle West, what it would mean to the United States if they really stood alone and aloof. At last the value of the British alliance is apparent; at last even isolationists are beginning to see, the “British aid” aspect of “aid for Britain.”