CRB: Geography and world politics

This past weekend I pored over the magnificent new (Spring) issue of the Claremont Review of Books. The CRB is the flagship publication of the Claremont Institute and my favorite magazine. I want to persuade you to subscribe to it, which you can do here for the ridiculously low, heavily subsidized price of $19.95 a year and get immediate online access thrown in to boot.

As has become the custom, our friends at the CRB have let me pick three pieces from the new issue to preview on Power Line. This time around I have once again worked to select three pieces that would gave a representative sample of the wealth of riches on offer. Limited to three, I have of necessity passed over many truly outstanding pieces — pieces such as long-form essays on higher education by Harvey Manfield and Bill Voegeli and the illuminating reviews such as Michael Barone’s on a new book on the decline of Detroit, Michael Zuckert’s on three new biographies of Madison, and Charles Horner’s on the monumental new history of China’s Maoist famine. Please check out the table of contents at the link above.

First up is Colin Dueck’s review/essay “Geography and World Politics.” Dueck, a professor of Public and International Affairs at George Mason University, turns a cold eye on the fervid dreams of our cosmopolitan elite, who mistook the fall of the Soviet Union for the end of geopolitical competition. Surveying recent works in the field, Dueck argues that the fundamental insights of the classic geostrategists-Alfred Mahan, Halford Mackinder, and Nicholas Spykman-remain as relevant today as when first formulated. What has changed, according to Professor Dueck, is the distribution of power within the international system.

Identifying this new distribution and analyzing it within the classic geopolitical framework is essential for America’s success on the world stage. Failing to do that, we will have only ourselves to blame for the results: “Americans still have the ability to choose whether we want to play a leading role in the world. If we abdicate that role, we will one day awaken not to liberal dreams come true but to nightmarish realities that a sensible foreign policy could, and should, have averted.”

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