8. The Weakness and Strength
of the Soviet Union

I PROPOSE NOW to judge the equipment with which the communists are making their bid for World Empire. It is not my intention to cite quantitative statistics. Much of the statistical material is inexact, often deliberately falsified. Besides, because of the peculiarities of communist social organization, it is usually misleading, even when accurate. I shall attempt, rather, what might be called a qualitative estimate; and I shall have in mind, as the background of comparison, the imperial rival: the United States.

1. Geographical position. 2 The communists, in control of the extended Soviet Union and its puppet territories, enjoy an incomparable geographical position. This adjective is meant literally: there is no geographical position on earth which can in any way be compared with that of their main base. For the first time in human history, as we have already remarked, the Eurasian Heartland, the central area of the earth's great land mass, has both a considerable population and a high degree of political organization. In this respect the communists are the heirs of the Russian Empire and of the predecessor Duchy of Muscovy which, in the 16th century, began the organization of the forests and steppes that for millennia had been the home of hunters and fishermen, isolated river-cities, and the scattered nomads who periodically descended upon the civilizations of the periphery.

Geographically, the Heartland, with its vast distances and its huge land barriers, is the most defensible of all regions of the earth. Sea power cannot touch it. Conquerors are swallowed up within its enormous confines. On the other hand, from the base within the Heartland raids in force can issue East, West, Southwest, and South.

Potentially, the Heartland controls the Eurasian land mass as a

-114-

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