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The Pacific is challenging the supremacy of the Atlantic. Half a century ago Baron von Humboldt and our own keensighted statesman, William E. Seward, both prophesied the eventful triumph of this greatest of all oceans; and today it is claimed that the center of the world's trade and commerce, which in the past has moved from the Tigris-Euphrates Valley to the Mediterranean, and then from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic, bids fair, “in the life time of those now children to shift once more westward to the Pacific." As Ex-president Roosevelt expressed it, not many years ago, "The Pacific Era destined to be the greatest of all, and to bring the whole human race at last into one great comity of nations, is just at the dawn." Whether the Pacific will actually surpass the Atlantic as a center of human interest and business activity may well be doubted, but that it will very soon share with the Atlantic the unquestioned supremacy which the latter has so long enjoyed seems reasonably certain.
Already the world's political center of gravity has shifted, to the Pacific. The changes which are upsetting the longestablished equilibrium of the nations, which are overturning the present balance of power, are taking place primarily in the lands washed by that ocean. It has already, in the past two decades, given birth to one new world power, Japan, which in the last few years has most profoundly changed the aspect of international politics, and whose alliance with Great Britain is today the controlling political fact in Asia certainly, and possibly in Europe as well. It is this alliance, according to some critics of international politics, which has led to the realignment of the great military states in Europe itself. After Japan there comes China, soon to be a second new world power and destined still further to disturb the world's present international balance.
The population and the resources of the Pacific, which will determine the eventful importance of the ocean, compare
favorably with, and in some instances surpass those of the Atlantic. In climate, fertility of soil and ability to produce large quantities of the world's staples, there is not very much difference between them. In population, the Chinese and the Japanese alone outnumber the inhabitants of Europe, while the recent success of Japan in proving itself superior to one of Europe's military powers in a kind of competition which Europe has voluntarily chosen as the supreme test of international ability, shows the humor of regarding these Asiatic peoples as racial inferiors. It is in the supply of the great natural resources, however, coal and iron, that the Pacific has the especial advantage of the Atlantic. According to Mr. Gifford Pinchot, Mr. Andrew Carnegie, and Professor Tornebohm of Sweden, the workable deposits of coal and iron in both the United States and in Europe, provided the existing increase in the rate of consumption continues, will be used up before the end of the present century. Whether this gloomy prophesy is accepted as accurate or not, it seems evident that when the coal and iron of the Atlantic lands are exhausted, China alone will have an abundance of these raw materials which have been well called “the vital essence of our civilization."
A rapid development in the Pacific of European communities, largely Anglo-Saxon, will soon still further strengthen this ocean. Most of the lands of the temperate zone throughout the world capable of supporting great virile populations, but which are now relatively undeveloped, are situated on the Pacific. Western Canada with its thousands of miles of coast and its virgin grain fields; our own far Western states, Washington, Oregon and California, probably unsurpassed in climate and agricultural possibilities; New Zealand and Australia, a continent in extent, will all in the near future in power and in vigor of race balance many of the countries of the Atlantic.
Even a slight consideration of these possibilities of the Pacific must give some idea of the increasingly important influence which its leading countries will exert upon the nations of the West. This influence, already potent, is bound to increase rapidly in the future, especially that of