Tag Archives: apsr

The Future That Might Have Been

Geography and Foreign Policy, I,” by Nicholar Spykman, The American Political Science Review, Vol 32 No 1, February 1938, http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0003-0554%28193802%2932%3A1%3C28%3AGAFPI%3E2.0.CO%3B2-9.

I’ve always loved past predictions of the future. I remember watching shorts on the Disney Channel in the early mornings, presenting the potential of America and California in the 1950s. An article in Wired years ago with the phrease “I Remember San-San” still strikes my heart, even if I can no longer find that article, or the book it reviewed.

So imagine my delight when I came across this passage from an article by Dr. Spykman from 1938

The same lack of systems of communications, coupled in the case of China with a complete absence of industrial technique, has so far kept both Brazil and China from effectively integrating their vast territories. There is little escape from the conclusion that size means potential strength, and that with the diffusion of Western technology great size plus time and a will to power will almost inevitably mean actual strength. Unless the dreams of European Confederation should materialize, it may well be that fifty years from now the qudarumvirate of world powers will be China, India, the United States, and the U.S.S.R.

While the Russians for a time secured an Outer Empire, both that and the Russian Middle Empire have sinced faded away, while the Inner Empire dies. Still…

  • An emphasis on connectivity
  • A combination of old (US, European) and new (Indian, Chinese, Brazillian?) powers
  • A focus on spreading technology

That was (and is) a future worth creating.

Update: Chirol goes back even further in time to the era of Prime Minister George W. Gladstone:

Remember the rights of the savage, as we call him. Remember that the happiness of his humble home, remember that the sanctity of life in the hill villages of Afghanistan among the winter snows, are as sacred in the eye of Almighty God as are your own. (Loud cheers). Remember that He who has united you together as human beings in the same flesh and blood, has bound you by the law of mutual love, that that mutual love is not limited by the shores of this island, is not limited by the boundaries of Christian civilisation, that it passes over the whole surface of the earth, and embraces the meanest along with the greatest in its wide scope