There are very great difficulties, unquestionably, in the way of solving the immediate Mexican problem. Many of them are inherent and real; some are artificial. Consider one or two of the latter, on both sides of the border. Carranza is pictured as a very indocile person to deal with. He is sensitive, obstinate and proud, apt to act, at any moment, not in the spirit of a business man, but of an impracticable pundonoroso Don. But in all this he but truly represents his own people. When he declares that the presence of American troops far in the interior of Mexico, if indefinitely continued, would be a cause of grave concern to his Government, he is only saying what nearly all Mexicans think. They feel about it just as we should feel, if the situation were reversed. But it is obvious that this Mexican pride and jealousy for national repute may be so inflamed as to make a reasonable agreement between the two countries, for their common advantage, harder to arrive at than it should be. It appears to be true that Gen Obregon was disposed to yield more than Carranza. The practical needs of the situation are thus endangered by a sentiment in Mexico that is natural but seems at present exaggerated.
On the part of our own Government, the obstacles to a speedy withdrawal of the troops from Mexico are partly artificial in the sense that they are political. The Administration is aware that the Republicans are eagerly watching for a false step—or what might be alleged to be a false step. They hope to accumulate much campaign material out of the Mexican question. They will, in any event, make great play with the Vera Cruz expedition of 1914, which went to enforce the demand for a salute to the flag, but was called away without getting it. To be sure, Gen. Grant, when President, demanded a salute for the flag in the Virginius affair, and put up with a refusal of it, but that was a long time ago, the Republicans will do a lot of denouncing of Wilson as the only President ever so rebuffed. And if our troops were to be called back across the border before June 7, we know what a lot of convulsed patriots would fill the Republican Convention. All these possibilities are evidently in the thoughts of the Washington authorities and are, to some extent, swaying their decisions. A palpable result of it all is to encumber the negotiations with Mexico, on this side the line, as they are also hampered on that. On the sheer merits of the case, however, a rational working agreement between Mexico and the United States ought not to be impossible. The two countries have ends in common, as respects the border troubles. They should he able to cooperate in doing what is in reality a big piece of police duty. The personality of Villa is, for the time being, removed from the scene. If he is not dead, he is in hiding, and as a military factor has ceased to be important. There seems no further occasion for small detachments of our army to be following up bandit trails in remote mountain fastnesses three hundred miles from our territory. The obvious thing to do is to concentrate our forces, and to hold them in readiness to make the No Man’s Land near the border both safe in itself and no longer the starting point for raids upon American soil.
Every one of the ordinary excuses is wanting in the horrible lynching at Waco, Texas, on Monday. The prisoner had been found guilty and sentenced to death. No delay was possible, for no Governor would think of commuting the sentence. The fact that the extreme punishment was to be meted out legally weighed with the mob no more than the sanctity of the courtroom. Some one having raised the cry, “Take the negro!” the people were at once as though possessed, and were content with nothing less than that most horrible inhumanity of burning which stains the whole country with its shame. Fifteen thousand Americans looked on, and not one apparently was even moved to protest, not one policeman or judge or city official cared enough about the law to fight for it. Thus Texas for the moment outdoes Georgia in infamy—and the good people in both States doubtless thank the Almighty daily that we are not as the Mexicans with their Pancho Villa! How long is the South, how much longer is the whole country, to permit such revolting criminality? The South, we are glad to say, is beginning to awake. The candidates for political office in Georgia are made to take a stand as to lynching, for the people there are beginning to feel the sting of the nation’s censure.