Our Southern Front
IF the United States needed a motto for military emergencies, one could compress it in five words: When in danger, look South.
One balance-of-power struggle in 1803 led to the Louisiana Purchase; another, in 1823, to the Monroe Doctrine. Now we are again threatened with the spread of war to the Western Hemisphere. Not only is war more swiftly paced today, but the United States is more exposed to its lightning strokes. Destruction of the Panama Canal in 1942 could cripple us simply by depriving us of our own capacity for swift movement. And Panama stands in its greatest potential danger today because of the subtlety of the new military technique.
To be physically safe from aggressors on our own land mass now we need not simply two-ocean navies and unbeatable air fleets, but the emotional and political sympathy of the Latin-American peoples and governments. We need the military coöperation of the Latin Southern nations and the use of strategic bases within their territory for the protection of our ‘Southern Front’s’ immensely vulnerable artery at PanamaIn economic and military organization as well as in diplomatic persuasion this is as tough an assignment as was ever presented to a group of statesmen in the history of the Republic.
Below the Rio Grande in our Western Hemisphere there are twenty independent nations: roughly speaking, 9,000,000 square miles of land and 125,000,000 people. None of these countries is a threat to the political or military security of the United States, nor are all of them together. Few of their products, if world shipping lanes were open so that we could do our buying anywhere, would be absolutely essential to our economic survival. Our trade with them is profitable and increasing. But United States investors have lost hundreds of millions in their public securities and in private ventures aimed at assisting their economic development.
These 125,000,000 people live behind 15,000 miles of coast line which in a disturbingly near future the armed forces of the United States may be called upon to defend. Yet as defensive allies the twenty republics would be relatively powerless to aid us actively. No LatinAmcrican army today is equal in training, in fighting equipment, or in numbers to the lately annihilated Polish army. A few light cruisers and destroyers from their navies might prove serviceable for ocean patrols; but nowhere below the southern border of the United States is there a shipyard where a full-sized modern fighting vessel could be built, a factory to make heavy artillery or the implements of mechanized warfare.
The 125,000,000 — fully a third of whom are predominantly Indian — differ from us almost to the point of incompatibility, in temperament, in customs, in cultural backgrounds, in moral and political values, in codes of business and sexual behavior. They have a different etiquette, a different family life, different standards of success and personal prestige. Their orientations in world politics are different. As weak powers they would prefer to have the strength of their nearest overshadowing neighbor, the United States, balanced by rival empires overseas, so that they could play one off against the other and prosper.
Because, too, most of the 125,000,000 either now live under dictators or have done so within fairly recent history, they are less disturbed than we over world clashes between dictatorships and democracies. Life goes on, they are inclined to reason from experience, under fairly intolerable political conditions. Certainly the twenty republics are not all democracies. The very word from time to time has been forbidden on the motion-picture screens in Brazil, and was in Peru as recently as three years ago.
All this is simply to say that if we took Latin-American relations from a strictly isolationist viewpoint, and at their lowest terms, fairly impressive reasons might be assembled for leaving the twenty republics alone to like us or lump us, for letting them conduct their own defenses against potential conquerors from overseas. Occasionally some single-track pragmatist sums up a few reasons for me by computing the cost of two-ocean navies and of our outstanding ‘good neighbor’ economic-aid programs, ending, customarily, with the question: ‘How long is Uncle Sam going to be played for a sucker, and what does he expect to get out of it?’
But, unfortunately for direct answers, working Latin-American relations pay in a different sort of coin from that of conventional ledgers and perfect international congenialities. Lovable or otherwise, good debtors or bad, the Latin republics during the one hundred and twenty years of their independence have been, simply in their weakness, an inestimable convenience to us. The fact that they have been no military threat to us has meant that for four generations the people of the United States have been able to live a comfortable democratic life free from militarism and the increasingly ‘total’ economic and social disciplines which go with it.
Any kind of Latin-American relations that work at all are safer, then, for the United States and its life than permitting a dangerously militant power to get a foothold on the same land mass with us.
This is the kernel of realism in the hemisphere defense and hemisphere solidarity policies which Washington has been fostering ever since the menace of totalitarian world conquest became a cloud over Czechoslovakia. We may not ‘need’ Latin America, but we desperately need — as Jefferson realized when he bought Louisiana and Monroe when he framed his Doctrine — to keep it free from the predatory imperialisms of others.
With world-empire designs thrusting far closer and more dangerously toward our land mass than in the times of Napoleon or of the Holy Alliance, it is not a question today of how much a hemisphere defense policy costs, of how much its beneficiaries below the Rio Grande may be ‘deserving,’ or of how appealing they are to our somewhat provincial prejudices. It is wholly a question of how well we are getting away with it; of how well we are holding 125,000,000 more or less ‘good neighbors’ to ‘our side’; of how much they are being weaned away from us by Axis propaganda; of how competently we are drawing them to us through economic selfinterest; and of whether, in the last analysis, we can physically defend them.
The question of the twenty republics’ attachments to the democratic cause involves us with certain sharp differentiations of geography and some highly complex differentiations of Latin-American emotions and politics. Although it is extremely unlikely that any nation below the Rio Grande would willingly risk the fate of Greece or Belgium to serve a beleaguered United States as a last-ditch ally, this side of Panama we are fairly safe from shifts of policy or official government activities definitely favoring the Axis.
Mexico, the three West Indian republics, and the six Central American Isthmus republics sit behind the guns of our Caribbean defenses. They know that the protection afforded by American military power is real. Conversely they realize that it might, in certain circumstances, be dangerous to refuse to coöperate with it. Their self-interests are tied in with ours fully as much as — if not more than — Iowa’s are tied in with South Carolina’s and Idaho’s. The bulk of their vital trade is with the United States. The funds which saved them from economic collapse after the loss of their European markets have been forthcoming from Washington.
There are influential Axis elements in all these countries: Germans everywhere; Japanese, with full espionage organization, on the West Coast of Central America; Italians in Panama, busy in domestic politics; Spanish Falangists trying to muddy the water in Hitler’s favor in Cuba and the Dominican Republic. There is Axis propaganda, Axis political intrigue, and no doubt everywhere preparations for sabotage. But there is virtually no chance that a pro-Axis government could survive, against Washington’s disapproval, in any of the ‘sphere of influence’ republics; or that any government, no matter what the personal inclinations of a few of its members, would attempt any serious pro-Axis gestures.
So we find dictators as despotic and technically ‘anti-democratic’ as General Jorge Ubico of Guatemala offering the United States a virtual corner on his personally controlled republic’s strategic raw material resources, and, informally at least, the use of many of his military facilities. We find Mexico, in spite of a long history of backbitings and misunderstandings with the United States and of genuine grievances and countergrievances, near enough to an understanding on defense problems to have granted us the use of her airports for military purposes.
The situation no doubt could change if a successful Axis could destroy or even raid the Panama Canal; if Germany could weaken the British Navy sufficiently to open the sea lanes for an attack on the mainlands; or if the Nazis occupied and held ‘the bulge of Brazil’ in sufficient force to throw a skirmish line out into the Amazon valley. The Caribbean countries would feel an impulse to propitiate — or at least not to run afoul of—the Axis in proportion as they came within Nazi bombing and shooting ranges. But as long as confidence in our ability to protect them lasts, their practical if not perhaps deliriously friendly coöperation can be counted on.
Below Panama, confidence weakens as American guns disappear from the landscape, and the bonds of mutual selfinterest, trade ties, weaken with the distances. The war policies of the South American governments do not come out of a simple necessity of ‘getting along’ with Uncle Sam. There are domestic political alignments to be worried about; larger, in some cases predominant, trade bonds with Europe; fears of what an Axis victory would mean to weak powers that had ‘stuck their necks out’ for the democracies.
Colombia is a choice example. With the possible exception of tiny Costa Rica, Colombia is the nearest thing to a liberal democracy in Latin America, and its terrain is vital to our Panama Canal defenses. But it is extremely difficult for the present Liberal Party administration of President Eduardo Santos to make definite pro-Ally commitments or to grant the United States the use of naval or air bases. A 1942 presidential campaign is rolling up. The Liberals, who disestablished the Roman Catholic Church as the official national religion in the 1930’s, are under perpetual attack from the Conservatives as suborners of heresy and atheism. If the administration does favors for a war coalition which now includes Russia, these charges will be redoubled. If bases are offered, the Conservatives — who are screaming nationalists as well as fundamentalists and rarely forget the 1903 Panama seizure — will shriek that the fatherland has been betrayed again to the robber imperialists of the North. It may be demagoguery, but a Colombian president must know his practical politics.
Brazil suffers from even more difficult internal political tensions and, not unreasonably, from South America’s strongest case of jitters over the Nazi Weltmacht. After all, at any time that Hitler took Dakar or the Cape Verde Islands the vast eastward bulge of the continent at Natal and Recife would be only 1800 miles from the German bombers and raiders — and 1500 from the still-building United States defense bases in Trinidad and British Guiana!
In Southern Brazil, too, there are scores, if not hundreds of thousands, of active Nazis in the German ‘colonies.’ There is a home-grown fascist party, the Integralistas, still powerful in intrigue though technically driven underground. There are disaffected elements in the army — which makes most Brazilian revolutions — willing to take help in ousting Dictator Getulio Vargas, when the occasion ripens, from either of these factions.
Glib smearers of Latin-American governments’ war policies have called Vargas pro-Axis. I see little concrete evidence to support it. He has been cagey about giving British shipping exceptional port courtesies and recently hung back on seizing Axis ships in his harbors. On the other hand, he has given the United States a first-call contract on Brazil’s enormous stores of strategic raw materials. Doubtless he feels this is the best he can do for the moment, until the question of America’s will and capacity to defend his coastline has been settled. The war has come close enough to Brazil to produce psychological reactions not unlike those of last spring among certain Balkan rulers.
Though the Argentine Republic is also troubled with Nazi propagandists and internal political tensions, its uncoöperative attitude toward hemisphere defense activities is basically governed by economic considerations. Signs of popular support for the democratic cause have been numerous, but Acting President Castillo is surrounded by a rich, reactionary group — the pattern of ‘ big business ‘ appeasers elsewhere — that never loses sight of the fact that well over half of the Argentine’s normal peacetime trade is with Europe. Castillo policy, then, has been to give no irritations to the Axis which would interfere with trade resumptions if the Nazis won. Even in full appeasement stride, however, Castillo has never risked offending Congressional or popular sentiment by advocating programs which would directly benefit the Nazis.
Uruguay, on the other hand, has been as daring in pro-democratic acts and declarations as President Roosevelt. For this we have partially the Nazi propaganda machine to thank. The Montevideo government is disturbed over what has happened to small nations in the path of Axis conquest in Europe, and knows that in the proposals for a ‘New Order’ in South America its territory and Paraguay’s have been offered, at least unofficially, to Buenos Aires. So there will be little difficulty about fighting bases, or about ‘implementing’ agreements for hemisphere defense, so far as Uruguay is concerned. The West Coast republics, though less sympathetic with the democratic cause on its merits than Uruguay and honeycombed with German propagandists, are rapidly being drawn closer into the Washington orbit by the sharply rising demand for their strategic mineral products.
At worst, no government in Latin America has dared to commit itself to a pro-Axis policy. At worst, there is no visible administration below the Rio Grande today that would risk a proAxis stand if some bold step in Washington — a war declaration or a break in diplomatic relations — forced it to choose between the democracies and Hitler.
Against these none too tender bonds of trade and practical expediency the Nazi propaganda is waging a determined and continuous undermining effort. Along with the propaganda go an enormous number of subtle or overt penetration activities in various phases of LatinAmerican life — in business circles, in diplomacy, in domestic political intrigues, and in the armies of the republics. The last two are closely related. In all but four or five of the republics the principal domestic politicians are the generals.
The objectives of both propaganda and penetration efforts boil down to a comparatively few items. The Nazis, who are the directing agency in these persuasive activities although powerfully aided here and there by the Italians and the Spanish Falangists, seek to convince the Latin Americans of the following things:—
1. That Axis victory is inevitable; that Latin-American governments must adjust their policies so as to be able in a comparatively near future to deal with Nazi Germany as the dominant world power.
2. That neither the United States nor any Anglo-American coalition of democracies can protect the twenty republics from the Axis New Order after it has completed the conquest of Europe.
3. That the United States has no will to war or to protect Latin America. This view is impressed on Latin Americans by immense circulation of enlarged accounts of Colonel Lindbergh’s and Senator Wheeler’s anti-intervention speeches, of the doings of the isolationist movement generally, and of labor difficulties in United States war industries.
4. That the Axis offers no threat from which the twenty republics need to be protected. A triumphant Axis, its advocates are constantly insisting everywhere, will respect Latin-American sovereignty, will take more Latin-American goods than was possible during previous régimes in Europe, and will pay more for them in export products.
5. That the continental Europeans, as represented by the Axis powers, are more simpatico with Latin-American culture than the Anglo-American democracies can ever be. Subtle praise for the authoritarian and dictatorial qualities of certain Latin-American states is frequently offered from Nazi sources to buttress this point.
6. That the United States program of hemisphere solidarity and economic and military aid to Latin America merely cloaks imperialistic designs far more dangerous to the independence of the republics than anything accomplished at the time of the Panama Canal seizure or under dollar diplomacy.
7. That Nazi victory, by crushing Russia and putting a check on radical movements within the surviving democracies, will tend to uphold the religious and social stabilities so important to the security of the Latin-American ruling classes. Every step in Washington’s program of fuller aid to Russia, every Winston Churchill declaration hailing the Soviets as an ally, is inevitably circulated by the Axis propagandists as proof that the United States and Britain have ‘sold out’ to the ‘enemies of God and society.’
8. That a Nazi triumph will bring, from the Latin-American viewpoint, advantages to all men, all groups, all governments.
This last impression is being created by an ardent campaign of persuasive, though frequently inconsistent and rarely quite binding, unofficial promises from Nazi agents. The promise to give Uruguay and Paraguay to Argentina, under a Latin-American ‘New Order,’ belongs in this category. Brazil is under similar seduction pressures through offers to deliver the southern half of Bolivia to her, while Chile gets the northern half. Colombia is offered the return of sovereignty over Panama and the Panama Canal. At the same time, Panama Canal ownership is being promised to Panama. Cuba and the Dominican Republic have been offered vastly better sugar deals than they are getting from the United States under present arrangements.
Meanwhile, inside most of the republics, pro-Nazi army and political elements have been secretly promised Berlin’s blessing and material help in proNazi revolutionary activities when the time comes.
The total combination makes an interestingly overstuffed menu for LatinAmerican consumption. But the Latins, who have had considerable experience with overstuffed promises from their own dictators, tend to view a good many of these future benefits with connoisseurs’ cynicism.
Claims of German good intentions and simpatico qualities are by now, for instance, an old story with Latin-American audiences and tend to become boresome with undue Teutonic repetition. Boasts of superior military prowess undoubtedly are impressing powerful elements in the Latin-American armies, but at the same time Germany’s treatment of weaker nations in Europe is tending to alarm the responsible heads of the governments on more vital matters. More practically still, few if any current LatinAmerican dictators are confident that a Nazi-inspired ‘New Order’ in Latin America would preserve them in office.
Partially, that is to say, Axis propaganda and penetration efforts tend to bog down through the complications of their too inclusive aims. They promise, as a Mexican proverb runs, too many moons for a child to believe in.
All, too, is in the future. And Latin Americans, by long experience, have learned to be skeptical of futures.
Meanwhile the tangible benefits, economic and otherwise, flowing in from the Washington front make, for would-be practical beneficiaries of world conflict, more immediate horse sense.
According to the old trade aphorism that the only way to make a successful bargain is to give the co-bargainer a specific self-interest in a deal, economic measures for aiding the twenty republics during the emergency have been Washington’s ace in the hole against proAxis flirtations by Latin-American governments.
In spite of considerable amateur work, some overplanning, and a few promises hardly less fantastic than the Germans’, the job on the whole has been done successfully. Since September 1939, a better survey of the immediate import needs and export possibilities of the republics has been made than at any previous time in the Western Hemisphere’s history. For the first time a fairly complete survey of the needs and possibilities of the neighbor countries for local and regional industrialization has been begun. Neither task in any sense has been finished. But enough progress has been made for results to begin to show — in many cases surprising and enormous results.
Virtually every Latin-American country’s trade situation, for example, is vastly better than it was in the winter of 1939-1940 — in most cases vastly better than there was any reason to expect as late as last Christmas. Owing to the great boom in nitrates, copper, and other strategic minerals, Chile’s internal economy, to take the most shining example, is better off than at any time since World War I.
In spite of the enormous surpluses of wheat and corn rolled up in the Argentine through loss of European markets, gains in the republic’s chilled and canned meat trade during recent months have laid the spectre of imminent financial collapse. Brazil’s and Colombia’s coffee markets in the United States have been stabilized at higher prices. These two, along with several of the smaller tropical republics, have been enabled to push ahead in the development of more than a score of medium-sized crop and extraction industries in essential raw materials. In numerous local areas on the Latin-American trade map, ‘white spots’ are appearing where improvements are rapidly approaching boom conditions. There has been a sizable, if not phenomenal, increase in United States imports of Latin-American art and luxury products for retail trade.
Along with this has come the development of a new type of business partnership between gringos and Latins. Instead of the old type of penetration by owning entrepreneurs, which has produced a long period of disagreement with the Latin governments over the rights of foreign capital and ‘absentee landlords,’ the new investments in Latin productive effort have come mainly from government sources — the Export-Import Bank, the RFC, and so forth, acting in concert with Latin-American capital within the countries benefited. Through this basic method, $20,000,000 has been advanced to Brazil, to be used in conjunction with Brazilian government funds for the establishment of a LatinAmerican ‘big steel’ industry. German control has been ousted and United States native ownership substituted in Colombian and Bolivian airways. Similarly, plans are on foot for rearranging the affairs of German-held airlines in Brazil and Ecuador.
Dozens of projects are under discussion or on a negotiation basis for the long-term development of much-needed industries or raw-material extraction activities. These should return dividends to Latin-American owner-partners and higher wages to Latin-American workers in future periods, ranging from two to ten years hence. Brazil, for instance, has a chance through arrangements now under discussion to regain a large share of her former rubber traffic.
Some of these programs necessarily expose us — as well as the Latin-American beneficiaries — to Axis counterattacks. For example, some of the internal evidence known to Washington authorities suggests that a main objective of an attempted pro-Nazi Putsch in Bolivia in July was to interfere with tin production and ore shipments to ourselves and the British. Similar efforts may logically be expected as the strategic raw-material lines between Latin America and the war industries of the democracies become more marked, and more vital.
At the same time Washington is making strenuous and not unsuccessful efforts to iron out Latin America’s shipping problems. The Committee for Coördinating Inter-American Affairs (unofficially, because of Nelson A. Rockefeller’s chairmanship, often miscalled ‘the Rockefeller Committee’) and appropriate agencies of the Commerce and State Departments are slugging hard, not only for tonnage for Latin-American shipments, but for a long list of priorities involving practically all of the twenty republics’ necessary imports. Even with the tremendous drive on for war supplies to Britain, and with the expanding needs of our own Army and Navy to consider, arrangements are being made to ship essential defense munitions to the Latin-American military and naval establishments.
These are tangible and highly impressive benefits for governments that a year ago were living in fear of economic collapse and privations, and of the political disturbances that traditionally occur in their wake in Latin America. No less impressive, though conveyed by diplomatic insinuations rather than by official warning, is the understanding — fairly well spread among the Latin politicos — that few of these benefits would be available to republics displaying an undue pro-Axis list.
Undoubtedly, in view of the circumstances, if the war remains at a stalemate or if the tide turns toward success for the democracies, the twenty republics can be held sufficiently out of the Axis orbit for all practical political purposes by these economic self-interests alone. The large and troubling question mark for United States economic policy in the South is whether Washington’s economic favors and persuasions can hold them in the event of a German victory.
The most encouraging report I can make on the problem is that the economic divisions of the State Department, the Rockefeller Committee, the ExportImport Bank, and all the agencies directly concerned in a solution, are making what amounts to general-staff plans for action in precisely this emergency. What these plans are, of course, is as much a secret to be kept from the Axis as the Army’s or the Navy’s preparations for other emergencies. It goes without saying, though, that they would involve such things as import-export subsidies, hitherto undreamed-of regimentations of American foreign trade, and efforts to make the United States a clearinghouse for hemisphere commodity transactions on an unprecedented scale.
The shock to ‘business as usual’ advocates, if such measures had to be invoked as a result of British surrender, could hardly be less than unprecedented. But no matter what the cost in cash, and in abandoned trade habits, if we do not block off a triumphant Axis from trade control of Brazil, Chile, the Argentine, and their neighbors, sooner or later we shall have to face the defense, or more probably the reconquest, of South America as a military problem. Whatever Nazi trade mastery did to Rumania and Bulgaria it can do to the Argentine and Brazil.
The military situation has not yet, of course, reached a stage calling for direct action. But there are headachy and highly responsible personages in Washington this summer who almost wish it had. That would clear the air considerably and give us some scope for action. As things stand, the military situation in all that concerns the practicalities of hemisphere defense is distressingly complicated by the psychological business of keeping the beneficiaries of hemisphere defense ‘on our side.’
The difficulty centres in the question of bases. We need naval and air bases in Colombia to protect the Panama Canal, naval and air and possibly troop bases at ‘the bulge’ of Brazil to protect the South American mainland from Hitler’s potential African bridgeheads. If the battle for sea control should become more desperate, it would be desirable to have a base at the mouth of the La Plata estuary to police South Atlantic shipping. Yet, despite self-interest ties and varyingly enthusiastic moral alignments with Washington, the Latin governments are seemingly more afraid of the presence of American armed forces within their territories than of anything Hitler may be planning for them.
Except for certain informal understandings in the Caribbean and a virtual offer from Uruguay which was promptly aborted by pressure from the Argentine, no government has offered us bases — not even on the winsome terms that American money and technicians would build them, that they would become the permanent property of the ‘ host’ republic, and that the United States would only be permitted to occupy them in case it became a belligerent.
The Latins, for the present critical moment at least, seemingly would rather risk attack from Hitler than defense by ourselves. On the other hand, with certain qualifications, Washington has shown itself more interested in conciliating the Latin Americans than in defending them. Washington has been negotiating steadily if fruitlessly for bases since the Havana Conference last summer, if not before. Not once has it turned on heat or pressure in its persuasions. The words ‘or else,’ with their inference of eventual forcible seizures, have yet even to be whispered.
To put it bluntly, of all the phases of our relations with ‘the good neighbors,’ the military situation is the most scrambled.
Moreover, the lack of bases exposes us to the gravest hazards. Without them we may be forced at any moment to carry the war into Africa — seize the Dakar, Cape Verde, and Azores ‘ bridgeheads ‘ at relatively high military cost and against almost insuperable political opposition at home. Without them our case is weakened in South America. Governments doubtful of our ability to defend them are made twice as doubtful because, even if as a result of their own policies, we lack the facilities for their defense. Finally, if an Axis victory found us still without the bases, we should have to race Hitler for them — and take them, perhaps, at the moment when the Führer, as Old World overlord, stood at the height of his prestige as conqueror and at the height of his powers for propaganda and mischief.
Plainly — and admittedly in their more confidential moments — our statesmen are floundering after a solution for this paradox of attempting to protect nations that are happy to be defended by us provided that our defensive operations do not affect their physical integrity. To date it is difficult to see that positive answers can be found in any action short of America’s entrance into the war. Whatever reasons can be urged against it on other grounds, that step is the only one through which an effective hemisphere defense policy can be concretely ‘ implemented. ‘
A declaration would do more than save us from a peace in which Hitler economic control, Hitler technicians, Hitler military advisers and recruits and colonists, would convert South America into an outpost of totalitarian military empire.
It would prove to the Latin-American peoples at last that we can, and mean to, defend them. It would show that we know our job; that we realize that the best hemisphere defense — possibly the only hemisphere defense — is to win the battle of the Atlantic. It would compel reluctant governments, too isolated — and ‘isolationist’ — to appreciate the terrible march of events toward their shores, to choose, not between rival seductions, but between friends and enemies.
Actual belligerence would place the problem of military bases — even for the most hesitant Latin-American governments — in a new framework of practicalities. Not only are the defense needs of belligerents greater and more obvious. After a declaration, Washington would be in a moral position to speak for bases with a new authority and boldness. And peoples who have shown themselves as capable as the Latin Americans are of admiring boldness in personages like Hitler and their own dictators would hardly be unappreciative of a heightening of it in old friends like Cordell Hull and Sumner Welles.
In the long run, the good neighbors South would doubtless prefer simpatico qualities in the powerful neighbor North. But there will be time enough to develop stronger and more genuine sympathies between the many American nations after the safety of the Southern republics has been assured. Meanwhile, for Latin America’s security as well as ours, the time to maintain the common-sense, historic policy of the founders of the Republic, and keep a desperately dangerous foreign enemy off the same land mass with us, is now.