Japan Relationship in U. Williams ed. View all notes Despite the processes that were then becoming known as globalisation, in much of the geoeconomic discourse economic developments were once again referred to in terms of territorial strategies and the language of realpolitik. In the early s the geographical specification of likely future threats was a matter of very considerable disagreement.
Stephen Van Evera's cogently argued case for drastically reduced US military capabilities is especially interesting precisely because he argued that the Third World is effectively irrelevant to US security because its industrial potential is too small to present a military threat and the US is not dependent on its resources. View all notes One potential danger that might threaten American prosperity is a major European war and hence the logic for maintaining an American presence there.
Van Evera's argument led to a response that completely contradicted his specification of the appropriate geography of concern. Hudson, R. Ford, D. Pack with E. View all notes In light of then current economic growth both by Japan and the German-led European Community, critics argued that the US should concentrate its military, trade and foreign policy on areas of immediate concern for its own economic interests.
Germany’s Foreign Policy after the End of the Cold War: “Becoming Normal?” - Oxford Handbooks
Many of these themes spilled over into the genres of popular geopolitics. First in The Hunt for Red October , came the concern with technological innovation in the strategic arms race and the potential for Soviet technical progress to counteract US naval supremacy. Concern with internal troubles in the Soviet Union triggering an attack on NATO in Western Europe was dealt with in Red Storm Rising , an interesting plot irony given that internal troubles a few years later in the Soviet Bloc lead to glasnost, perestroika and the Sinatra doctrine instead.
Irish terrorism in Britain and the US provided the somewhat unlikely plot line for Patriot Games The dangers of narcoterrorism and political subversion in Latin America followed in Clear and Present Danger This was the theme in the significantly titled The Sum of All Fears In the novel one of those weapons, ironically a lost Israeli nuclear weapon, goes off in the United States presaging events of a decade later with hijacked airplanes instead of a nuclear weapon.
As Tom Clancy makes clear threats were dealt with by upper middle-class white American males applying the reasoning practices that take for granted and reproduce the dominant understanding of how politics is scripted. The crisis in the Gulf in after the Iraqi invasion was quickly defined in military terms, and the resultant war perpetuated the policies of military solutions to political difficulties. Working in the Pentagon under Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz and others drafted a blueprint for the future of the American military, one that was leaked to the press in , suggesting that this victory gave America the opportunity to extend its lead over all potential and putative military competitors.
They argued that this commanding presence on the world stage should be maintained into the indefinite future so that never again could another state mount a threat to the United States on the order of the Soviet challenge. Indeed they suggested that an American dominance in military affairs would act to deter other states from even trying, hence ensuring a pax Americana based on military pre-eminence, into the distant future. Hegemony under George W. Bush Aldershot: Ashgate pp.
Security was once again understood in terms of external threats issued from someplace beyond the sphere of political action to which military or political management strategies should be applied to impose solutions. The geopolitical understandings of inside and outside are in play here, in the process militarising security matters. The domestic political order was taken as an unproblematic given; the danger of subversion or corruption comes from an external source.
The overarching trope for all this was the simple sense, articulated by the widespread adoption of Fukuyama's phrasing of the end of history, that the United States had won the Cold War. But it was not at all clear what kind of peace had resulted, or how it might be mapped. Military actions in the Gulf did not ensure George H.
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While the military forces were reduced somewhat and budget deficits brought under control major foreign policy initiatives didn't include military actions abroad initially. The administration took criticism over its failure to intervene in Rwanda and the botched intervention in Somalia. But it did intervene in Bosnia, and Kosovo, repeatedly bombed Iraq, and used cruise missiles on Sudan and Afghanistan in a failed effort to kill Osama bin Laden. Peace attempts were made in the Palestine-Israel conflict, and while military matters were not ignored, clearly they were much less of a priority than in the Reagan years.
Special Section: Critical Geopolitics After Twenty Years
The removal of the Soviet threat also produced a serious doctrinal gap in the American military; its role was suddenly much less clear. But institutional inertia maintained numerous Cold War programmes despite the new geopolitical circumstances. The doctrinal discussions about how to extend the technological capabilities of American armed services however continued to focus on large-scale military competition, the near peer competitor most frequently considered was China, understood in this logic as the next potential enemy for American forces.
The revolution in military affairs linked guidance systems and information systems in a whole new series of technological capabilities that meant that the American forces could bomb Bosnia in , and subsequently Serbia in with near impunity. But the military effectiveness of such operations remained in doubt to the critics, despite the rhetoric of Shock and Awe in the military textbooks and Wesley Clark's subsequent manual on how to use air power. Ullman and J. View all notes The need to transform the ground forces for lighter faster movement to take advantage of the new technology in combat ran up against the traditional organisation of the army into large heavily equipped divisions.
Douglas A. The s also involved an explicit attempt to extend the remit of democratic regimes as a strategy of enlargement, a direct reversal of the prior spatial direction of American policy in terms of containment. The view from Washington during the Clinton administration shifted focus a number of times with attention paid to the dangers of collapsing states, genocides and environmental threats.
New emphasis on such matters contributed to a focus on key pivotal states in the South, those whose political stability was judged to be essential to regional stability, and hence a matter of priority for security planners given the threats these regions might potentially pose to global order. Economic matters took precedence, and to the alarm of the neo-conservatives, military matters were seen to be of less importance. Globalisation was more important than pax Americana; trade liberalisation and financial matters were the order of the day.
The political protests of the s were about these matters, the economic dislocations and inequities of neo-liberalism discussed in terms of an anti-globalisation movement, not a matter for either peace or critiques of imperialism. View all notes This sense of drift in military terms, the lack of a clear focus on dealing with the threats supposedly presented by Iraq, galvanised the neo-conservatives into calling for rearmament, and explicitly for a neo-Reaganite foreign policy where military force could be used to shape the future.
View all notes Cooling their heels out of power the neo-conservatives reinvented themselves as the Project for a New American Century PNAC , and wrote their criticisms of the Clinton years in terms of both the lack of priorities given to military spending in general reducing America's ability to project power, and more specifically in terms of a failure to engage more violently with the Iraqi regime.
View all notes But PNAC, in its catalogues of threats and its demands for military expansion, downplayed the threats from terrorist attacks or insurgent movements; states and their apparatuses remained the geopolitical lens through which the world was viewed and through which they thought military planning should be organised. Robert Kagan and William Kristol eds. View all notes An imperial formulation of geopolitics if ever there was one. But not one understood quite as such at the time.
Candidate George W. Bush repeatedly suggested quite clearly in the campaign, prior to his appointment to the presidency by the supreme court, that America simply wasn't in the nation-building business. View all notes From the left came concerns about oil in all this; so too from self-confessed conservatives concerned that imperial adventures are eroding what remains of the republican form of government that supposedly rules in Washington.
View all notes While this doesn't necessarily make America an empire, it certainly suggests that at least as far as the military attempts to dominate many parts of the globe are concerned, it is acting in an imperial manner. In part the designation imperial is a matter of appearances; the global war on terror and American power coercing Pakistan into cooperating in its invasion of Afghanistan, certainly looked imperial. Likewise when the invasion of Iraq was launched in in disregard for much of world opinion these actions looked imperial too.
The Bush doctrine documents, with their explicit statements about pre-eminence, preventive war, the strategy of forcible regime change, interventions to deal with rogue and failed states, and subsequently the formulation of a long war against Islamic extremism contributing to the ultimate foreign policy objective of eliminating tyranny on the planet, made it clear that military coercion was back on the agenda in a manner that suggested an explicitly imperial agenda.
Falah ed. But crucial to the emergence of the theme of empire is the simple point that empires engage in wars against militarily weak peripheral political organisations in distant lands. The Cold War was a struggle between big states, with Europe as the potential battleground in the imaginary war. View all notes In contrast, the new war is about pacification operations, expeditionary forces, asymmetric conflicts and bringing local rulers into line with metropolitan priorities, a matter that frequently involves subjugating local populations in the messy geographies of the new wars.
Thomas P. US special forces in Afghanistan do have all sorts of parallels with British military adventures there in the nineteenth century. The invasion of Iraq likewise; the intervention by British forces after all was the fourth time they had done this in ninety years and part of a long-term pattern of growing Western influence after the collapse of the Ottoman empire. View all notes Reading the Quadrennial Defense Review Report of makes it clear that Pentagon planners are building an infrastructure to quickly move troops and air power to any corner of the globe that may require the use of military force.
View all notes The system of roads for which Rome is famous allowed for the movement of the legions of heavy infantry from one part of the empire to another relatively quickly. But much of the scouting and many of the cavalry formations used in Roman wars were mercenaries or local levies brought under imperial command to conduct specific tasks. Rome concentrated on the decisive element in pitched battles, the flexible heavy infantry of the legions, and on engineering and siege warfare techniques. This pattern of power is replicated by the current dominance of the American navy in many parts of the world but airpower, space surveillance and communication are now also part of American strategic power whose global reach is clearly unrivalled by any other military.
The analogies with Rome and with nineteenth-century Britain also suggest the limits of military manpower and the necessity of using local auxiliary troops for imperial pacification and policing operations. Just as the US is aiming to maintain strategic superiority in key areas of smart weaponry, stealth technologies and global mobility, the Roman empire emphasised the importance of strategic domination in heavy infantry and siege weaponry.
The New Age of Imperialism
View all notes The British empire relied on local troops for many functions in the empire but in the process maintaining dominance in the crucial technology that ensured strategic superiority where it mattered most in the nineteenth century, on the oceans. View all notes The Royal Navy in its victories over Napoleon, in particular at Trafalgar, established the conditions for the success of British imperialism much of which was of an indirect nature related to trade rather than direct conquest.
The scale of the American basing effort is worth emphasising as is the persistence of American military presence in various parts of the world since the s. See Tim Kane, Global U. View all notes But it is also important to note that the facilities used by the American forces change through time and are arranged in numerous treaty and rental agreements through the different military services as well as through commercial arrangements. Looking at these impressive facilities which reproduce substantial parts of American suburbia complete with movie theatres and restaurant chains, the parallels with Roman garrison towns built on the Rhine, or on Hadrian's wall in England, where the remains are strikingly visible on the landscape, are obvious.
This is partly a matter of enclave geographies where outposts of metropolitan power are imposed from afar into various hinterlands as part of the globalising patterns of spatial change of our times. View all notes In Chalmers Johnston's terms these bases are for all practical purposes colonies.