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Capsule Review

Super Continent: The Logic of Eurasian Integration

In This Review

Super Continent: The Logic of Eurasian Integration
Super Continent: The Logic of Eurasian Integration
By Kent E. Calder
Stanford University Press, 2019 344 pp. Purchase

This book is the definitive statement of Calder’s long-standing thesis that technological and economic changes are integrating the Eurasian “super continent,” as foreseen over a century ago by the British strategist Halford Mackinder. Beneath the churn of political events, this integration is driven not only by the familiar dynamics of globalization but also by such less noted factors as the growing efficiency of transport logistics and the digitization of customs procedures. U.S. pressure on China and Russia is pushing the two countries together, and complementary economic strengths are drawing Germany closer to China. China is promoting integration through its Belt and Road Initiative, seeking to aid its giant state-owned enterprises, which are desperate to reach beyond their saturated home market. Integration could be slowed by an economic crisis or an ethnoreligious conflict in China or by ambivalence in other countries about Chinese influence, but it would take a cataclysm to stop it. Calder thinks that China will seek not U.S.-style hegemony but a new kind of influence in which the benefits of integration are more widely distributed among countries, which he labels “distributive globalism.” If so, he recommends that the United States cooperate with countries such as India and Japan, and even to some extent with China, to promote pluralism within the zone of Chinese influence.

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