No one need be surprised at what Japan has just done. Every competent observer in America expected this nation eventually would be called upon to go to war against the Japanese.
Now, apparently, the hour has come. Time is past when discussions, negotiations and polite diplomatic language will serve any good purpose. In its place is the hour of action.
For action, the United States is ready. In the Pacific, our fleet stands at battle stations. Long have the men of war of Uncle Sam stood guard in the Pacific over a restless marauding Japan. Now these same men of war will have to do more than stand guard. They will have to fight.
United States naval men have been longing for a chance to have a go with the Japanese fleet. Sunday that time arrived with gusto.
The Congress may decide Monday to declare war on Japan, formally. That, at any rate, would be more than was done by the Japanese, who sent their raiders against Manila and Pearl Harbor even while their ambassador and their special envoy were in Washington, for talks with Secretary of State Hell.
To some, at least, this is the supreme affront. Tokyo sends its envoys to discuss peace and its bombers to spread war. Try to reconcile that, if you can.
Of course you can’t. And the people of this great nation won’t expect you to. This means war, declared or undeclared. The principle is the thing, and America will not be caught unprepared to defend the principles upon which our democracy has flourished.
This is no hysterical outcry. The hint of war has appeared in this space many times before. Without alarming the reader, every effort has been made to prepare him for the obvious outcome of all the clashes of American and Japanese positions.
The move was up to Japan. Japan has moved. The move was, and is, war, with all it implies. Now the next moves are up to the United States.
How long it will take for the United States to act is clearly demonstrated in orders putting the entire Pacific Coast area on a wartime footing. By the time this reaches you the whole of the United States may be on a wartime footing. This is the real thing. No shambattles, no mock maneuvers.
This, America, is war. We are in it for sure and make no mistake.
It is our move. Japan has already won what advantage attaches to first assuming the initiative. Now we shall see if American aggressiveness and command are able to wrest the initiative from Japan and assume the offensive. That America can and will do this no American has any doubt.
This column has repeatedly said, in the past, that in the event the United States were to become involved in a war, it would be in the Pacific. Today the United States is in that war, and it is in the Pacific – a state of war declared by Japan to exist between the United States and Japan.
Reason for this war is obvious. Hitler urged Japan to take the step in order to divert the United States away from help to Britain and Russia, for Hitler is not faring so well in his campaigns against these two nations.
But war did come; it is here; it is in the Pacific; and it is the sort of war forecast – a war of diversion. Hitler wanted the war. Now he has it.
Next in line likely will be declarations of war against the US by Hitler and the rest of his satellites.