U. S. Encircled
THE GEOGRAPHY OF THE PEACE—Nicholas John Spykman—Harcourf, Brace ($2.75).
The late Professor Nicholas John Spykman (rhymes with Beekman) bequeathed a nightmare to U.S. readers. The nightmare was that, seen globally, North America is an island encircled by the stronger Eurasian land mass. The purpose of this little book, which is really a 61-page footnote to Professor Spykman's America's Strategy in World Politics (TIME, April 20, 1942), is to wake Americans to the realization that Spykman's geopolitical nightmare is no dream.
The Geography of the Peace was compiled from notes for lectures left by the great U.S. geopolitician when he died last year. It was edited by Helen R. Nicholl, who was for two years Professor Spykman's assistant and chief researcher. To illustrate the threat to encircled North America, Editor Nicholl has provided 51 maps drawn by her, many of them under Professor Spykman's direction.
Political Claustrophobia. The fear of encirclement (Einkreisung} has driven three generations of Germans to military adventures of which World War II is the latest and greatest. Professor Spykman's advice to Americans is not to fear, but to understand and prepare. The first step to preparation is a realistic U.S. foreign policy; at the time of his death he saw few signs of it.
The threat to North America (i.e., the U.S.) does not come primarily from what the British father of geopolitics, Sir Halford MacKinder, called "the heartland" —now, roughly, the land mass of the Soviet Union. The danger comes from an alliance between the heartland and any important political section of what Professor Spykman calls rimland (rimland is the politically and technologically developed peripheral regions of Europe and Asia). An alliance between Russia and Great Britain, or Russia and Germany, is the combination against which Professor Spykman's texts and maps attempt to prove that the U.S. could not hope to win. His advice to the shapers of U.S. foreign policy: never permit the rimland to unite; always plan to play off one political sector of rimland against any possible rimland-heartland alliance. Professor Spykman's preference, like Thomas Jefferson's, is for the U.S. to marry itself to the British fleet and nation. But first the U.S. must overcome its "strange provincialism" in foreign affairs.
Everlasting Concern. Says Spykman: "The situation at this time . . . makes it clear that the safety and independence of this country can be preserved only by a foreign policy that will make it impossible for the Eurasian land mass to harbor an overwhelmingly dominant power in Europe and the Far East. The United States must recognize once again, and permanently, that the power constellation in Europe and Asia is of everlasting concern to her, both in time of war and in time of peace. . . .
"It is becoming more and more clear that there will be no superstate to guarantee to the members of the world community life, property, and the pursuit of happiness. We shall continue to depend primarily on our own national strength.. .."