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What is Soviet-American competition all about? Is the Soviet Union a security problem that the United States must solve? Or is it an insecurity condition with which the U.S. must learn to live—and if so, on what terms? What kind of a player is the United States in the great game of power politics? In The Geopolitics of Super Power, one of our most respected strategic theorists answers these and other questions.

In geopolitical terms, Colin Gray sees the Soviet-American antagonism as an enduring contest between a continental empire and a maritime coalition, each with its distinctive character and purposes. Gray explores the roots of the American style in foreign policy and strategy, and how that style relates to defense options.

He identifies four broad alternatives for U.S. national security policy: passive and active means of containment, disengagement from foreign security commitments, and the "rollback" of the Soviet empire. Gray argues vigorously for active containment, for the systematic deemphasis of nuclear weapons, and for the intelligent use, for deterrence and defense purposes, of the West's great competitive strengths in the political, economic, and technological spheres.

Colin S. Gray is founder and president of the National Institute for Public Policy and the author of Strategic Studies and Public Policy: The American Experience.

"Gray—author, think-tank denizen, and Administration consultant—here employs a geopolitical theory to advance a ‘grand strategy’ of American national security. This is hard-core, hard-line, replete with chestnuts, bromides, gross caricatures, and shrewd observations."—Kirkus Reviews

"Reads extremely well. A provocative and challenging study."—Journal of American History

Publication Date



The University Press of Kentucky

Place of Publication

Lexington, KY






United States, National security, Military relations, Soviet Union


International Relations

The Geopolitics Of Super Power
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