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Nicholas Spykman’s Ideas Essay

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Updated: May 2nd, 2022


Nickolas Spykman is a political scientist whose ideas have shaped the international policies of the United States. This paper is aimed at discussing some of the concepts introduced by this geostrategist, namely the Rimland and Heartland. Moreover, it is vital to examine Spyman’s view of Russia and its relations with other countries such as China or America.

Overall, one can say that Spykman advocates the necessity for balance of power in Eurasia. He does not want a single state to emerge as a superpower that controls this continent since this hegemony can undermine the authority of the United States. Moreover, he believes that Russia can potentially become the main enforcer of peace in Eurasia, provided that this country does not turn into an aggressor.

The concepts of Rimland and Heartland

First of all, Nyckolas Spykman distinguishes two geographical concepts like the Heartland and Rimland. The term Heartland refers to territory that was previously occupied by the Soviet Union (Spykman as cited in Hanks 287). Now it is the territory of several sovereign states like Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and so forth. In contrast, the Rimland includes coastal territories that encircle the Eurasian continent (Spykman, and Sempa 154).

It should be noted that the Rimland incorporates the European coast land and the desert land of the Middle East. Nickolas Spykman lays stress on the idea that a country, which dominates the Rimland, can eventually shape the course of international politics and eventually “control the destinies of the world” (Spykman as cited in Hanks 287). These are some of the main concepts and ideas introduced by this political scientist.

The idea of Fortress Russia and its relations with the West

In Spykman’s view, Russia will inevitably play an important role in the formation of international politics. Spykman developed his ideas at the time when the Soviet Russia was an isolated country that distanced itself from the Western world. Yet, at that moment, the US and USSR were not in the state of Cold War. Still, at the first half of the twentieth century, one could really speak about such as a notion as Fortress Russia.

However, even despite the antipathies existing between the United States and the Soviet Union, Spykman believed that American and Great Britain should enlist the support of Russia. The major argument of this geostrategist is that the Soviet Union could be the base for “the enforcement of peace” in the continent (Spykman as cited in Blouet 23). This is one of the ideas expressed by Nickolas Spykman.

Nevertheless, this geostrategist also stresses the point that hegemony in Eurasia is not acceptable for the United States (Spykman as cited in Blouet 23). In his opinion, the United States should support the balance of power between Russia and China. This is how the country America could retain its dominance in the world and avoid significant military or diplomatic conflicts. These are the principles developed by this political scientist.


On the whole, the ideas of Nickolas Spykman continue to remain important, especially at the time when Russia is no longer an isolated country that opposes itself to the West. This state may become a crucial ally of the United States. Certainly, his ideas can be questioned or disputed, but they are still worth considering, especially at the time when the United States wants other countries to support its international politics.

Works Cited

Blouet, Brian. Global Geostrategy: Mackinder and the Defence of the West, New York: Routledge, 2005. Print.

Hanks, Reuel. Encyclopedia of Geography Terms, Themes, and Concepts, New York: ABC-CLIO, 2011. Print.

Spykman, Nicholas, and F. Sempa. America’s Strategy in World Politics: The United States and the Balance of Power, New York: Transaction Publishers, 2007. Print.

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