The Coming Resurgence of RussiaIssue: Spring 1991
Let us begin by recalling one of the most celebrated predictions in political literature. In 1835, Alexis de Tocqueville published the first volume of Democracy in America. The book concluded with a short, persuasive analysis of why America was fated to become the greatest power in the world. Among the factors Tocqueville cited were its immense geographical size, abundant natural resources, vibrant national character, and growing population. The French nobleman then added, almost as a footnote, that one other nation was destined for similar greatness, and for many of the same reasons: Imperial Russia. While conceding the stark political differences between America and Russia, Tocqueville closed with a sentence destined to become famous: "Their starting-point is different and their courses are not the same; yet each of them seems marked out by the will of Heaven to sway the destinies of half the globe."