Courtesy Reuters

AXIAL EURASIA

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

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  • Zbigniew Brzezinski, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs in 1977-81, is Counselor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and Professor of Foreign Policy at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at The Johns Hopkins University. This article is adapted from his forthcoming book, The Grand Chessboard.
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