In This Review

The Geopolitics Of Super Power
The Geopolitics Of Super Power
By Colin S. Gray
University Press of Kentucky, 1988, 274 pp.

Colin Gray's writing is always provocative, and this book is no exception. It is grand strategy in the tradition of Mackinder, seeing the U.S.-Soviet competition as the classic confrontation of a sea power versus a land power. His conclusions-that the United States should give pride of place to naval forces, and that it can no longer make credible any threat to use nuclear weapons first and so must abandon NATO's flexible response-are not unique, and his prose is occasionally purple-the Soviet state can inspire only those who are "heroically ignorant or conveniently stupid." But the insights en route to those conclusions are often telling: he demolishes any idea of rollback in Europe as a game nowhere near worth the candle; the United States "can take the political offensive only for profoundly defensive reasons."