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By Neil Smith

An American Empire, built over the past century, some time past overtook eu colonialism, and it's been broadly assumed that the hot globalism it espoused took us "beyond geography." Neil Smith debunks that assumption, providing an incisive argument that American globalism had a different geography and was once pieced jointly as a part of a robust geographical imaginative and prescient. the facility of geography didn't die with the twilight of eu colonialism, however it did swap essentially. That the inauguration of the yankee Century introduced a lack of public geographical sensibility within the usa was once itself a political symptom of the rising empire. This ebook offers an important geographical-historical context for figuring out the ability and bounds of latest globalization, that could now be obvious as representing the 3rd of 3 designated ancient moments of U.S. international ambition.The tale unfolds via a decisive account of the profession of Isaiah Bowman (1878-1950), the main well-known American geographer of the 20th century. for almost 4 many years Bowman operated round the vortex of kingdom strength, operating to convey an American order to the worldwide panorama. An explorer at the recognized Machu Picchu excursion of 1911 who got here to be recognized first as "Woodrow Wilson's geographer," and later as Frankin D. Roosevelt's, Bowman used to be current on the construction of U.S. liberal international coverage. A quarter-century later, Bowman used to be on the heart of Roosevelt's kingdom division, occupied with the disposition of Germany and heightened U.S. entry to ecu colonies; he used to be defined by means of Dean Acheson as a key "architect of the United Nations." In that interval he used to be a pacesetter in American technological know-how, served as president of Johns Hopkins collage, and have become an early and vociferous chilly warrior. a classy, contradictory, and from time to time debatable determine who used to be greatly within the public eye, he seemed at the disguise of Time journal. Bowman's profession as a geographer in an period whilst the worth of geography used to be deeply puzzled presents a distinct window into the contradictory makes use of of geographical wisdom within the development of the yankee Empire. Smith's ancient excavation unearths, in huge strokes but with vigorous aspect, that contemporary American-inspired globalization springs no longer from the Eighties yet from prior moments in 1919 and 1945, either one of which led to failure. by means of recharting the geography of this heritage, Smith brings the politics--and the limits--of modern globalization sharply into concentration.

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S. government for global economic access to labor and commodity markets. S. global ambitions. The ideology of the American Century survived only by ignoring the fact that a good half of the world was distinctly un-American or at least strove to be uncapitalist. At one level the geographical contradiction in this period lay between the national scale of political and economic organization and the increasingly global scale of capital accumulation. The international bodies established at the end of World War II, such as the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT, later renamed the World Trade Organization), were intended to regulate these contradictions between national and global interests in a way that entwined specifically American interests with global management.

For more than two decades the geo- 22 / lost geography of the american century graphical mosaic of global power was relatively stable among a first world (the capitalist West), a second (USSR, China, North Korea, Cuba), and a third world (the underdeveloped countries), but the economic, political, and cultural crises and challenges after the 1960s (on the streets of the United States as much as abroad) and the implosion of Soviet communism two decades later detonated this geography. No sooner, it seems, was the postwar global system fixed in a terrestrial space of discrete national pieces and blocs than the entire global jigsaw puzzle was thrown into the air.

This should not be taken as symbolic of some historical shift from a broad American ignorance of geography in 1898 to an apparent enlightenment a century later. If anything, the opposite may be true: pollsters at the beginning of the twentyfirst century routinely record the geographical ignorance of the American populace at an all-time high. Rather, the journey from casual global assumption to intense geographic paranoia, from imperial fumbling to a reallife Dr. Strangelove, expresses a central shift in the political and economic meaning of geography in the American Empire.

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