Seventy-five years ago, when the first issue of Foreign Affairs saw the light of day, the United States was a self-isolated Western hemispheric power, sporadically involved in the affairs of Europe and Asia. World War II and the ensuing Cold War compelled the United States to develop a sustained commitment to Western Europe and the Far East. America's emergence as the sole global superpower now makes an integrated and comprehensive strategy for Eurasia imperative.
Eurasia is home to most of the world's politically assertive and dynamic states. All the historical pretenders to global power originated in Eurasia. The world's most populous aspirants to regional hegemony, China and India, are in Eurasia, as are all the potential political or economic challengers to American primacy. After the United States, the next six largest economies and military spenders are there, as are all but one of the world's overt nuclear powers, and all but one of the covert ones. Eurasia accounts for 75 percent of the world's population, 60 percent of its GNP, and 75 percent of its energy resources. Collectively, Eurasia's potential power overshadows even America's.
Eurasia is the world's axial supercontinent. A power that dominated Eurasia would exercise decisive influence over two of the world's three most economically productive regions, Western Europe and East Asia. A glance at the map also suggests that a country dominant in Eurasia would almost automatically control the Middle East and Africa. With Eurasia now serving as the decisive geopolitical chessboard, it no longer suffices to fashion one policy for Europe and another for Asia. What happens with the distribution of power on the Eurasian landmass will be of decisive importance to America's global primacy and historical legacy.
A sustainable strategy for Eurasia must distinguish among the more immediate short-run perspective of the next five years or so, the medium term of 20 or so years, and the long run beyond that. Moreover, these phases must be viewed not as watertight compartments but as part of a continuum. In