Russia's Imperial Design

What is the Kremlin’s present design for the Russian Empire and to what extent does it differ from the designs of the Czars? For an answer to this question, perhaps the most ominous in international affairs, we turn to EDWARD CRANKSHAW,widely read and widely respected here and in Britain as an authority on Russia.


THE concept of imperialism is now so debased that it is almost impossible to discuss it with detachment. This is a pity; imperialism is a useful word, and no other can take its place. It should also be an evolving word, not a term of abuse.

It was designed to express a fact of life: the domination, in the international sphere, of the weak by the strong. This is an enduring fact, and it is much better acknowledged than denied. In the days of the Roman Empire, imperialism stood for the ordering of barbarian tribes by a strong, centralized, highly developed state; for the imposition of the rule of law and the bringing of material progress to dark and backward areas. In the heyday of the British Empire it meant much the same thing. Never in the history of the work has an empire-building course been started and sustained for reasons of altruism; the original mo tive has always been self-interest.

Self-interest may be diluted, or even trans formed, by other motives. But few intelligent Americans, I imagine, would deny that the driving force behind the foreign aid programs of successive United States Administrations, which constitute the most advanced and complex form of imperialism the world has ever seen, was, and remains, self-interest (the response to the threat of Russia), although altruistic motives work to modify and transform the naked self-interest.

Since the days of the Roman Empire, the imperialist dynamic has manifested itself in three broad categories, which overlap: the strategic, the economic, and the missionary. The first is concerned with military security, and sometimes with military glory; the second with mercantile expansion; the third with the salvation of souls and the imposition of what is regarded as a better way of life on what are believed to be inferior cultures. The combinations and variations are infinite and constantly changing. Further, at any given moment in its history, an individual power will exhibit great variations in its own imperialism. The differences of approach on the part of the British to the many parts of their own empire have been wide and sharp. Again, American imperialism shows different faces in different places; the America of the Marshall Plan is identical with the America exploiting, through great business corporations‚ the backward areas of Latin America. The ways in which dominion can be achieved are also varied and overlapping: through straightforward military occupation, to money lending, to the rule of priests. These categories may also be divided; economic domination, for example, can range from helping foreign peoples to help themselves, so that they may grow into sturdy allies, to subsidizing foreign potentates to keep them on their thrones in face of popular revolt.

To understand Russian imperialism we have to try very hard to put ourselves in the position of the Russians and look at the world through their eyes. The process which brought American dominion to the Pacific coast and beyond was little different from the process which brought Russian dominion to Baku and Vladivostok. Both these processes were similar to the process which took the British to the ends of the earth - the only vital difference being that England, as an island, had to expand across the oceans. Americans were themselves aware of this not so very long ago far more clearly than they are today; it is worth noting that in the nineteenth century, right up to the early days of the twentieth century, American expansionism was taken for granted as a strong and beneficent natural force, and that distinguished Americans regarded Russia as their natural rival.

The first beginnings of what became the Monroe Doctrine may be traced to a speech of Secretary of State John Quincy Adams in 1823: “There can, perhaps, be no better time for saying, frankly and explicitly, to the Russian Government that the future peace of the world, and the interest of Russia herself, cannot be promoted by Russian settlements on any part of the American continent.”

Russia, on her side, was disturbed by the American westward drift. In 1860 the Russian ambassador reported: “They have taken California, Oregon, and sooner or later they will get Alaska. It is inevitable. It cannot be prevented; and it would be better to yield with good grace and cede the territory.” In 1866 this was done, and we have a glimpse into the state of a large section of American opinion through a leading article in the New York Herald. Referring to Russia and America as “the young giants” of a new world, the writer said: “The young giants are engaged in the same work — that of expansion and progression . . . the colossi having neither territorial nor maritime jealousies to excite the one against the other. The interests of both demand that they should go hand in hand in their march to empire.”

But, of course, they did not. Soon there was a new conflict, this time in China. “Eastern Asia.” wrote Brooks Adams in 1899, “now appears, without much doubt, to be the only district likely soon to be able to absorb any great manufactures. . . . Whether we like it or not, we are forced to compete for the seat of international exchanges, or, in other words, for the seat of empire.”

I have no idea to what extent the heady delights, and the apprehensions, of this early American expansionism are remembered in the United States today. But I know very well that they are remembered in Moscow. “Russia and America may remain good friends until, each having made the circuit of half the globe in opposite directions, they shall meet and greet each other in the regions where civilization first began” (that is, China). These words, written by Secretary of State Seward in 1861, are better remembered in Moscow than the following, from William Woodville Rockhill (1911): “I cannot too emphatically reiterate my conclusion that the sympathetic coöperation of Russia is of supreme importance . . . she can never withdraw from participation in Far Eastern affairs or maintain an attitude of indifference toward them.”

WHEN did Russian imperialism begin? It is hard to draw rational lines between the consolidation of a number of principalities into a centralized state, the expansion of the newborn state into contiguous territory for reasons of military security, and the planned or accidental extension of that enlarged and strengthened state to include subject peoples as various as the Eskimos of Yakutia, the nomads of Kazakhstan, the mountaineers of Georgia. But for all practical purposes we are concerned here not with the birth of nations, but with the deliberate attempt to carve empires out of a finite world and to secure markets and bases at the expense of other would-be empire builders. Russia did not embark seriously upon this last course until the nineteenth century. Then, however, she brought to her activities the ingrained habits of a thousand years.

The Czarist Empire was a classic example of the strategic empire. The young Muscovite state had to expand or die. Westward expansion was difficult, in face of highly organized Christian peoples (Lithuanians, Poles, Swedes, Germans). The only objective worth a serious struggle against heavy opposition was an outlet into the Baltic, for which Czar after Czar accordingly strove. Expansion eastward, on the other hand, was easy once the power of the Tartar horde had finally been broken by Ivan IV in 1583. And so Russia entered upon her long course of almost unconscious expansion along the line of least resistance — first East, then South. There was nothing to tell her where to stop — nothing until the Pacific coast was reached. And, indeed, it was not safe for her to stop until she had filled up, however thinly, the immense spaces of Eurasia which, sooner or later, would all too easily and willingly have been filled by others. By the time the Pacific was reached, the habit of expansion was so ingrained that it was the most natural thing in the world to cross the Bering Straits into the no man’s land of Alaska.

In a century when the modern empire builders were getting into their stride and beginning to carve up Africa, seize bases in the Pacific, and compete for trade in Southeast Asia and Latin America, Russia followed her traditional line: when in doubt, move forward; when you are stopped, try to flow round; when opposition is violent and strong, draw in your horns. The British were in India; the ‘Turkish Empire, with its centuries-old dominion over the Middle East and the lower Danube basin, was breaking up. Poland had been partitioned for the third time among a newly self-conscious Russia, an octopus-like Austria, and the comparatively new state of Prussia with its inordinate ambitions.

In the drive to the East (the Pacific) and the South (the Black Sea) Russia had largely depended on the private initiative of Muscovy traders and Cossack adventurers—just as Britain had once depended on her exploring merchant adventurers and pirate-admirals. But now there were tougher nuts to crack. Having secured her natural Eastern frontier and a warm-water port in the South, Odessa (which could still be effectively blockaded by any power controlling Constantinople), Russia sold Alaska to America and concentrated on a southerly and southwesterly drive, having for its object an approach to India and a secure outlet, through the Straits, into the Mediterranean. At the same time, she had her eye on China and Japan — but more as potential threats to her own sparsely inhabited hinterland than anything else. In the same letter of 1860 in which he advised St. Petersburg to give up Alaska gracefully to the United States, the Russian ambassador to Washington also wrote: “Russia, too, has a manifest destiny on the Amur, and further South, even in Korea.”

Until now the driving power had been almost exclusively strategic. Even the need for an outlet into the Baltic and a warm-water port on the Black Sea had been more strategic than economic; that is to say, the Russian Czars needed secure and regular communications with such allies as they might acquire in the outer world and for the free import of the sinews of war. Even the preoccupation with Constantinople was at first entirely strategic. It is possible to discuss without end Russia’s real intentions in the matter of the Eastern Question. Did she think of the Straits as a sally port for her own warships, embarked on further conquests? Or were they, rather, seen as a danger point, narrows which could be blocked by enemies to strangle her Odessa trade or to bring invading armies (as in fact happened in the Crimean War) to the vulnerable Black Sea coast?

And what about India, a profound interest in which accounted for Russia’s conquest, brutal and highly organized (no longer an affair of merchant adventurers), of Turkestan? The mad Czar Paul at one time concocted a crackbrained plot to invade India in conjunction with the French, a plot which involved a monstrous portage from the Black Sea to the Caspian. Subsequent Czars kept the British in a constant state of alarm for the safety of Afghanistan, the Northwest frontier, and Punjab. But it is very much to be questioned whether any Russian Czar ever seriously contemplated a formal conquest of India —just as it is to be questioned whether Stalin ever seriously contemplated the conquest of Western Europe. Rather, their own pathological obsession with security (a state of mind readily explained by the vast frontier to be defended and the vulnerability of a hinterland lacking natural lines of defense), together with their inborn and developing technique of the war of nerves (predating Communism by centuries and perhaps springing from their own experiences of Tartar methods), aimed at weakening the concentration, resolution, and unity of real or potential enemies, came before any clearcut imperial ambitions.

FOR centuries, Russia was separated from the main current of Western culture by her life struggle against the invading Tartars and by the great schism in the Church. While Europe was glorying in the Renaissance, Russia — in Russian eyes — was sacrificing herself as the shield for Europe. The Russians sought consolidation in their isolation by making a virtue of their enforced backwardness. “You may have all sorts of things that we have not got” was the cry ringing down the ages, “but what about your soul? We have preserved our soul. We have suffered and starved and been jeered at. But we have kept our integrity, while you have sold yours — for what? One day Russia will arise to save the world you have betrayed. And then you will see!”

After the fall of Constantinople, Muscovy began to regard herself as the third Rome. The Russians might be materially backward, but spiritually they were a chosen race, and one day they would emerge from their forest gloom and astound the world by their example.

For a long time this brooding impulse was turned inward. But with the defeat of Napoleon and the entry of Russia into the arena as a major power, it began to be turned outward. At the Congress of Vienna, Alexander saw himself as the leading spirit of a guild of Christian monarchs, whose God-given task it was to organize Europe and quell the blind, devouring force of revolution. Russian thinkers began to elaborate the concept of a Russia, backward for so long but with her vital forces husbanded, bringing to a corrupt and bankrupt world a pristine spiritual impulse.

Thus, Russia’s historical aspirations toward Constantinople were reinforced by a vision of Russian expansion into the Balkans and rationalized by the proclaimed intention of the Czar to extend his protection to the Christians on the Danube basin and elsewhere still living under Moslem rule. The drive into Southeastern Europe was now in full swing. Its original impulse, strategic and economic, was transformed by a powerful mixture of pure messianic zeal and a new imperial spirit of pan-Russianism to match the jingoism of the times. It was in this spirit, too, that the Russians set about the ruthless subjugation of the Caucasian and Transcaucasian peoples and the lands of what is known now as Soviet Central Asia — populated by numerous peoples who no more resembled the Great Russians of Muscovy than the Hindus and Zulus resembled the British. Here, then, alien peoples were subdued by bloody and sustained assault by organized imperial forces and afterwards run, on colonial lines, from St. Petersburg.

WHEN war broke out in 1914, the Russian Empire, a solid land-mass, extended from Vladivostok to Warsaw, from Petsamo and Murmansk to the frontiers of India and Persia, from the Baltic to the Amur River. But when, three years later, the Bolsheviks made their Putsch against the new government set up after the March Revolution, Lenin denounced the whole concept of Empire and was for the moment ready to concede the independence of all its component parts. But only for the moment. The exigencies of civil war and Western and Japanese intervention made it necessary to carry the Bolshevik revolution to the uttermost possible limits. Soon the supranational Bolsheviks found themselves fighting to retain the conquests of the detested Czars; and there could be no thought of autonomy until the Whites had been driven out and the Reds were in control.

It should be remembered that in the early years of the revolution Lenin still had the idea of a genuine federation of equal peoples, not an empire, in which Bolshevik Russia would be linked amicably, fraternally, and equally with a Bolshevik Ukraine, a Bolshevik Georgia, and above all a Bolshevik Germany. For during the critical years he was expecting — more, he was blindly counting on — successful revolutions elsewhere in Europe, especially in Germany, without which, he was convinced. Bolshevism could never survive in Russia. In the end, the collapse of the revolutionary spirit in Europe and the consequent “capitalist encirclement” of the Soviet Union (the old Russian Empire shorn for the time being of its Baltic and Polish possessions) drove the Russians under Stalin to turn inward once again and to glory in their apartness.

Socialism for the Russians meant building up the Soviet Union in isolation, using what Western help could be obtained without strings, and forcing Russia through her industrial revolution at a breathless and calamitous pace. For a period of eighteen years, from the introduction of Lenin’s New Economic Policy in 1921 to the RussoGerman nonaggression pact in 1939, the Russians had their hands fully occupied with domestic matters, and, save for an abortive attempt to help the Chinese revolution, removed themselves from the arena of active imperialism — though they were quick to use force and subdue dissident peoples in Turkestan, the Caucasus, and the Ukraine, the remaining assets of the old Czarist imperialism.

In the outside world, apart from China, the only evidence of an aggressive foreign policy was the inconsequent mischief-making of the Comintern, a reversion to the old Czarist habit of trying to sow alarm and despondency with nonexistent threats. Foreign Communists were, to Stalin, as the Christians under Turkish rule had been to the later Czars. Their cause was coldly betrayed, their claims and pretensions ignored, their leaders summoned to Moscow and arrested, just as it suited their master in the Kremlin, who now, like any Czar, had become the leader and slave driver of a reborn Russian state, the Soviet Union. We shall never know what the mature Stalin thought about Communism in the secret corridors of his mind: all we know is that publicly he used it, with perfect cynicism, as an instrument of power — as the Czars had used Christianity; as the early traders had used beads, bright doth, and firewater.

Then, in 1939, there came a change. The gathering weight of the Soviet Union made itself felt in the outside world. And, with war in the offing, Stalin embarked on a deliberate course of strictly limited expansion which had plainly nothing to do with world revolution, but which was concerned with the securing of definite strategic advantages.

IT IS not the purpose of this essay to debate the cleverness or the clumsiness of Stalin’s policies. All we are concerned with here is what he actually did, and why. And what he actually did, after hesitating a good deal, was to seek an accommodation with Hitler which would postpone a German attack and at the same time secure for the Soviet Union some of the territories lost from the old Czarist Empire, with an immediate eye to making things harder for Germany when war finally came. It was to this end that in 1939 Stalin invaded and occupied a part of Poland and launched his Finnish War. It was to this end that he infiltrated and then liquidated Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia (all parts of the old empire) in 1940. What was happening here, disguised by a smoke screen of Communist terminology, was a resurrection of the old Russian strategic imperialism of Ivan the Terrible and Peter the Great. It had, as I have said, a strictly limited aim: defense against a predatory Germany, pushing East.

Nobody who has read the story of the negotiations which culminated in the attack on Finland and continued throughout the course of the Winter War can doubt the fundamentally nonideological motivation of Stalin’s actions. Poland was a pushover: Germany had done the hard work and would have occupied the whole of Poland but for the Soviet stipulation. The three Baltic states were in a hopeless position. But Finland, as always, was a tougher nut to crack, and the Russians knew it.

Stalin did not want the whole of Finland. He was not interested at that time in Bolshevizing the Finns. He simply wanted certain frontier changes which would give him a cushion in front of Leningrad; and he wanted to be able to close the Gulf of Finland to enemy warships by cross fire from the coasts of Finland and Estonia. He would have liked all this without war. And there is every reason to suppose that had Finland been able to agree to an exchange of territory in Karelia and the lease of Hanko on the southwest coast there would have been no war and no further attempt by Stalin to reduce the country, Finland, of course, could not meet these demands and, with wonderful heroism, took on mighty Russia singlehanded.

But the Finnish War showed two things. First, that Stalin’s territorial ambitions in 1939 were not unlimited, but had a strictly utilitarian purpose. Second, that once Stalin had set his mind to such a limited aim, nothing would deter him from achieving it — neither the contempt of world public opinion nor considerations of humanity. These two points were important; they showed the world what to expect now that the Soviet Union was beginning to feel her oats as a major power.

These points are still important, as we enter the period which everybody thinks he knows about: the period of Stalinist expansion which culminated in the Berlin blockade and the Korean War. I suppose it is generally taken for granted in the West that during all this period, and even earlier, Stalin was pursuing with fanatical concentration of purpose a single aim: world domination. I question whether he ever held this aim in view.

To argue this matter in detail would require an article by itself. I content myself with simply questioning the general assumption, made as a rule from ignorance of Russian history and based as a rule on meaningless analogies with Hitler. That is why I have tried to show how the Czars got their empire, the spirit behind their expansionism. And I am content to suggest that what happened in Stalinist Russia from 1939, with the conclusion of the nonaggression pact with Germany, until the death of Stalin in 1953 is much better seen as a continuation of the old Russian imperialist dynamic, complicated and reinforced by a distorted Marxism, than as a calculated bid for world dominion or world revolution.

It is generally believed that throughout the war Stalin was plotting to occupy Europe after the war. Anybody who was in Moscow during the two years after the Nazi invasion knows that this is total nonsense. From June, 1941, until, at the earliest, the Stalingrad victory in February, 1943, Stalin was wholly preoccupied in saving the Soviet Union and his own regime. Even much later, when final victory was in sight, Stalin was far more interested in keeping the anti-Nazi coalition alive than in Communist infiltration and revolution. In China he built up Chiang Kai-shek at the expense of Mao Tse-tung; in Yugoslavia he repeatedly snubbed Tito, telling him that the Great Alliance was a matter of life and death and that he was not going to let it be imperiled byTito’s revolutionary zeal.

Stalin also showed himself ready to negotiate with the West about dividing Eastern Europe into old-fashioned spheres of influence, a department welcomed by Churchill but frustrated by Roosevelt, who was opposed to imperialism in general — except when restricted to islands in the Pacific — and to British imperialism in particular. Even after the war, Stalin was against helping the Greek Communists, so ardently supported by Tito, and poured cold water on the aspirations of Mao Tsetung — in both cases for reasons of state.

I am not in the least suggesting that during the last decade of Stalin’s life Soviet imperialism was not a menace to the world as a whole. Clearly, it was very much a menace. But it was a strictly limited menace, and we in the West played into Stalin’s hands by confusing his old-fashioned strategic and economic imperialism, colored now, as I have said, by a distorted Marxism, with an apocalyptic drive to universal revolution. It should have been clear by 1948, when Tito was outlawed, that Stalin was interested in revolution only insofar as it could be used as an instrument of Russian power. It should have been clear in 1949 that he was seriously concerned over the establishment of a Communist regime in China. But even today too many people go about wondering half fearfully whether Mao Tse-tung may one day “do a Tito” —oblivious of the fact that by his very act of seizing power in China he made himself a Tito. He achieved, that is to say, a Communist revolution in China on his own initiative and with his own arms. The only kind of “revolution” Stalin trusted was one he had made himself with his own agents working under his own detailed and strict directions.

IT IS time we considered the new complication — what I have called a distorted Marxism — and its effect on the traditional Russian imperialistic drive. Stalin was an adept at using, or abusing, a doctrinaire theory of history as a smoke screen to cover his imperial designs. By this means he gained control of Poland, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Rumania, Bulgaria, Hungary, half of Austria, Albania, and for a short time Yugoslavia. He was also able to stir up trouble in Southeast Asia and elsewhere. But in the end he overreached himself, unifying and arming a disarmed and disunited West.

It was no doubt the Marxist tincture that caused him to overreach himself. No matter how much or how little Communist ideas appealed to Stalin, his mind was certainly conditioned by the MarxistLeninist conception of history. He believed, at least until the last year of his life, that wars between the so-called capitalist powers and the so-called Communist powers were inevitable. He believed that in the end the so-called Communist powers would have things all their own way, being strengthened by every war and its consequent confusion; and he believed that all wars produced in their train revolutionary situations which must be exploited in the interest of the Soviet Union. All that happened after 1945, with Europe in chaos and Asia in revolt, must have confirmed him in these beliefs, with the results we all know.

After him came Malenkov, Khrushchev, and the rest. Malenkov, for a time, behaved like the leader of a great power, almost desperately on the defensive. But with the rise of Khrushchev we began to hear more about the spirit of Leninism, which Khrushchev invoked over the head of his dead master. Stalin was denounced for a variety of sins, but never for imperialism, which would have been in the eyes of Lenin the greatest of all his betrayals. Thus Khrushchev’s Leninism has a strong smell of opportunism about it; and my own belief is that for him and his colleagues, Lenin and Leninism serve primarily as a source of authority outside themselves, an authority very necessary at home and otherwise completely lacking.

It seems to me likely that Khrushchev’s mind is conditioned pretty thoroughly by what he believes to be Marxism. After all, he was brought up in revolutionary Russia, in the days when the immediate task within the Bolshevik framework was so great that it gave no active man any time to think: born leaders and organizers are not often given to philosophical speculation. It is easy for the present-day youth of Russia to start asking awkward questions; unlike the present Soviet leaders, they have never had to fight a desperate battle against odds and time in Lenin’s or Stalin’s shadow. I think it likely that Khrushchev takes Leninist theory for granted much as British statesmen of fifty years ago took the parliamentary system for granted, much as American statesmen of today take the American way of life for granted — that is to say, as the best possible way of doing things.

But even Khrushchev at the 20th Party Congress in February, 1956, was at pains to amend the Leninist theses of the inevitability of major wars and the inevitability of revolution through violence — a revision made, though he did not say so, in the light of a new fact of life: the H-bomb. It was a revision, moreover, of the very first importance, though its importance has not been widely recognized in the West. Stalin, while seeking to avoid major conflict for reasons of selfinterest, believed war was inevitable and that through it Communism, or Russia, would always grow in strength. Khrushchev no longer holds this simple faith. The capitalist countries, he has declared — and this declaration has been written into an official amendment of Leninist theory or dogma — may now achieve socialism without war and by peaceful means.

But Khrushchev knows as well as Stalin knew what happens when countries achieve Communism without the help and guidance of the Soviet Union. To encourage a multiplicity of Yugoslavias is no help to Soviet imperialism. And Poland and Hungary have lately shown what happens to an overgrown and unhomogeneous empire when the pressure of police rule is relaxed — and it has to be relaxed, sooner or later, if the peoples concerned are to be good for anything.

Once again, therefore, Russian imperialism is at a dead end. It is not too much to say, I think, that it is now on the retreat. The Russians may believe that by using every device and trick to disrupt the Western powers internally and to incite colored or backward races against Western domination, a universal chaos will ensue from which they alone will profit. Certainly they are behaving as though they believed this. But their inner councils now must be muddled. For, again on the long-term view, they know they have on their own doorstep a most serious threat to meet from China. There is also Japan.

The Russian leadership are aware of these problems. And, once more, after the post-war advance into Europe, a very small area, they are concerned above all with consolidation at home. I have tried in this essay to treat Soviet imperialism as a natural and understandable phenomenon, which it is. I have tried, all too sketchily, to show that it is not an immediate threat to the outside world: long-range disruption, designed to weaken and destroy hostile coalitions, is the real menace now. And in this connection I should like to conclude with an appeal to the United States, which holds the present power balance vis-à-vis the Soviet Union. I should like to remind all Americans that even if Moscow retreated to the frontiers of the Soviet Union tomorrow, Russia would still be the greatest imperial power in the world. At a time when other imperial powers are deliberately, and largely for reasons of decency, surrendering their empires, Russia, quite apart from her dominion over Eastern Europe, which may not last, shows no sign at all of surrendering her dominion over her own colonial peoples.

The fact that in exploiting these peoples she has brought them education and machines is neither here nor there: Britain did the same before her. The Caucasus, Transcaucasia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and the rest are no more part of Russia than India was of Britain. The Soviet Union is an empire, not a country. And the fact should be remembered. Roosevelt forgot it and did the Western coalition in particular and the world in general great harm by this lapse. The time may come sooner than we expect when the Soviet Union, presenting herself as a satisfied and “progressive” land, will make approaches to the United States, as one antiimperial power to another. What will America answer?

The nineteenth-century dream of the two young giants, Russia and America, coming together in amity to divide and order the world, was shared by Russians as well as Americans. There will always be Russians, under whatever regime, who will believe in the mighty destiny of their country to save the world from itself and sweep away the stale effeteness of Western European culture. There will always be Americans impatient of the endless profitless bickerings of the smaller powers and the tiny nations and eager to help the world to perfect itself in America’s image. It is not inconceivable that the nineteenth-century dream might be reborn. Life would be so much simpler if America and Russia could make a firm front against China and run the rest of the world between them. There will always be Americans whose reaction to the inadequacies of smaller powers and tiny countries is to turn their backs on the whole pack of them and let them stew in their own juice. Both arrangements would suit Russia quite well, so long as she remains an unregenerate imperialist. “Russia’s Imperial Design” — I wonder if she has one? But if I were a Russian statesman, imbued with an invincible belief in the peculiar merits of my own tradition; watching other empires crumble; taking no stock in newfangled ideas about self-determination: filled with a bottomless contempt for the poor dupes, calling themselves Communists, who act as my agents all over the world; perturbed most deeply by the dreadful apparition of an industrialized China, with its huge population pressing against my vulnerable and sparsely inhabited Eastern lands — if I were a Russian statesman, I should see in America the key to the future. America must either retreat into isolation, disgusted with the world, and leave free and open a large field of operations for the Soviet Union, or else, sooner or later, America must be persuaded to join with the government of Russia in a major feat of global organization. Since Russia cannot hope to conquer America, there is no other way. I wonder how many Americans think of themselves as the potential allies, one way or another, of Russian imperialism? I wonder what they will do to avoid this situation?