Geopolitics and the Great Powers in the 21st Century: Multipolarity and the Revolution in Strategic Perspective

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This book argues that in the twenty-first century Eastern Eurasia will replace Europe as the theatre of decision in international affairs, and that this new geographic and cultural context will have a strong influence on the future of world affairs.

For half a millennium, the great powers have practised what might be called 'world politics', yet during that time Europe, and small portions of the Near East and North Africa strategically vital to Europe, were the 'centres of gravity' in international politics. This book argues that the 'unipolar moment' of the post-Cold War era will not be replaced by a US-China 'Cold War', but rather by a long period of multipolarity in the twenty-first century. Examining the policy goals and possible military-political strategies of several powers, this study explains how Washington may play a key role in eastern Eurasian affairs if it can learn to operate in a very different political context. Dale Walton also considers the rapid pace of
technological change and how it will impact on great power politics. Considering India, China, the US, Russia, Japan, and other countries as part of a multipolar system, he addresses the central questions that will drive US policy in the coming decades.

Geopolitics and the Great Powers in the 21st Century will be of interest to students of international security, military history, geopolitics, and international relations.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415545198
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 6/29/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 156
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.33 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements     ix
Introduction: new powers and old politics     1
Mackinder and the Cold War     1
The death of the Columbian Epoch     3
The Post-Columbian Epoch     5
The center of the action     7
The revolution in strategic perspective     10
The argument     11
Geopolitics in an uncertain world: the case for classical geopolitics     14
An unearned infamy: the reputation of classical geopolitics     15
Geopolitics as counsel     16
The usefulness of classical geopolitics     19
The enduring relevance of geography     20
A twenty-first century geopolitics     21
The Post-Columbian Epoch     24
Conclusion: capturing the new Epoch     25
The geography of universal empire: the geopolitics of the Columbian Epoch     26
Seeing one world, whole     28
Strategic culture and geography     29
Strategic learning and the Post-Columbian Age     33
The stakes: why the politics of Eastern Eurasia are of global importance     34
Conclusion     37
The Grand Casino reopens: multipolarity and international politics     39
The short half-life of unipolarity     39
The character of multipolarity     40
Beyond bipolarity: the balancing of China     42
The American factor     44
Nightmare: the possibility of a great power axis     46
Great and small power interactions     47
Conclusion     49
Leviathan slimming: guarding American interests in a multipolar environment     50
The Second American RMA     51
The danger of resting on laurels     57
Rogues and suckers: the challenges of preeminence     58
Leaving the Beltway: moving beyond unipolarity     62
Comparing nineteenth-century Britain and twenty-first-century America     65
Conclusion     71
Strategizing without a license: the non-state challenge to world order     72
The Islamist threat in context     73
Rise of the Lilliputians     77
The great powers and the terrorists     82
Conclusion     85
Strategy 2.0: great power competition in an era of technological revolution     88
Faster, cheaper, better: the technological explosion     88
The RSP and the next revolution in military affairs     89
A thought experiment: the military application of artificial intelligence to airpower      93
The case for technological exuberance     96
Conclusion     99
Conclusion     101
Geopolitics and the revolution in strategic perspective     102
Notes     108
Select bibliography     134
Index     138
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