The Geopolitics of Super Power

The Geopolitics of Super Power

The Geopolitics of Super Power

The Geopolitics of Super Power

Synopsis

"Reads extremely well. A provocative and challenging study." -- Journal of American History

Excerpt

This is an old-fashioned book about U.S. national security policy. Had the long-hallowed British verbal formula of "grand strategy" not been expropriated to such persuasive effect by Edward Luttwak, this book might have been called The Grand Strategy of the United States. Grand strategy, and indeed national security policy or strategy, is readily discernible in the words used by senior officials to put a gloss of verbal coherence on the multifarious activities of government with respect to external security. The security objectives that American officials tend actually to pursue with some tenacity can be shown to reflect healthily a mix of inertia and perceived necessity. Those objectives contrast sharply with the more visionary goals of candidates for high office, the wish lists of the very recently elected, and the ritualistic citing of national purposes on occasions of significance for tribal solidarity (the idea that a nation should have "purposes" is a quaint and quintessentially American eccentricity).

In its attitudes towards security, American political culture gives evidence time and again of domination by the seeming paradox of the problem-solving idealist. For the allies, not to mention the adversaries, of the United States, this paradox can be most unsettling when it assumes operational life. It is "the American way" first to identify a more perfect international order and then to identify policy intended to give reality to the ideal. Yet far more often than not the United States behaves very prudently day by day, notwithstanding its nominal adherence to millennial goals.

The broad and well-marked trail that unites every chapter in this book is what may be called "the Soviet problem" for the United States. However, it is more useful and more constructive to treat the Soviet Union as the principal variable element in the external security condition of the United States. Whatever coherence obtains in U.S. national security policy is provided by the perceived need to oppose Soviet power and influence. For as far into the future as can be claimed contemporarily relevant, the Soviet Union is going to remain the source of danger -- narrowly to American national security, more broadly (and quite literally) to the . . .

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