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THE GEOPOLITICS OF THE INTERNATIONAL SYSTEM AND GLOBALIZATION

By Simon Dalby, Carleton University sdalby@gmail.com

Paper for presentation to the International Studies Association Annual Conference 2009 panel Multidisciplinarity in International Studies Sunday, February 15, 10:00 AM

ABSTRACT This paper examines the insights that geopolitical scholarship can give to the study of one key concept of IR, the international system. Geopolitics as a mode of inquiry has made a renaissance in the last couple of decades posing questions about the spatial organization of power and the categories that might be used to analyse contemporary transformations. This paper suggests that this critical interrogation is useful in that both the claims concerning the conditions of the international system, and those of globalization which is supposedly challenging that system in numerous ways, are vulnerable to an analysis that focuses on the implict geographies that inform the debate. Critical geopolitics cannot provide a definitive correction to the lacunae in the contemporary discussion of the nature of the international system, but it does pose questions about both how the world is currently mapped, and how taking the geographies of globalization seriously allows for a critical interrogation of the supposed verities of our times. As such it reflects back on the ontological precepts of contemporary politics in a way that transcends at least some disciplinary limits.

POLITICS AND GEOGRAPHY Geographers have turned their attention to politics on the big scale in the last couple of decades. The renaissance of political geography, begun in the 1970s with the application of quantitative methods to electoral results, spread into larger considerations of power and political economy in the 1970s and 80s well before the more recent preoccupations with discourse, space and representation added what has become known as critical geopolitics into the disciplinary repertoire ( Tuathail 1996). In rethinking politics, and boundaries in particular this scholarly literature has drawn on a diverse set of literatures and now provides a variety of intellectual lenses through which to survey the global political scene. Only some of it directly tackles the literature on international relations, much of it focuses on the geographical representations of politics and the cultures of domination as the target of its critique (Dalby 2008a). Where the revived cold war standoff, with its geopolitical arguments about blocs, threats, containment was grist to the mill in the 1980s (Johnston and Taylor 1989; Kliot and Waterman 1991), more recently the war on terror has stimulated much more critical scholarship concerned to challenge the verities that legitimate violence, and do so in both political economy mode as well as in ways that draw on critical modes of interpretation (Brunn 2004; Flint 2005; Gregory and Pred 2007; Cowen and Gilbert 2008; Graham forthcoming). How violence plays out in many places is also a matter of popular imagination and discourses of danger invoked in popular culture and political discourse have also been subjects for detailed scrutiny of late (Dalby 2008b; Ingram and Dodds 2009). All of which parallels the discussions in the international relations literature on security and world order as well as the cultural turn in the field where identities and representation are now key themes. Turning his attention to global matters and how power works John Agnew (2003: 3) suggested that the geographical understandings that structure thought are key to power and practice: The world is actively spatialized, divided up, labeled, sorted out into a hierarchy of places of greater or lesser importance by political geographers, other academics and political leaders. This process provides the geographical framing within which political elites and mass publics act in the world in pursuit of their own identities and interests. In doing so this geopolitical reasoning frequently simplifies and obscures the subtleties and local circumstances of political struggle, war and more recently globalization. The taken for granted specifications of how and where politics happens are frequently precisely that, simply assumed as the given context. But geography, and critical geopolitics in particular, focuses on these contextualisations, stagings, and representations of the world as the place in which politics occurs (Sparke 2005). As such it acts to challenge the hegemonic scripting of global politics and the geopolitical imaginary of multiple competing spatial entities as the topic for international studies. This focus on the oversimplifications and ontological premises of international relations makes discussions of international studies and in particular of multidisciplinarity more difficult precisely because it doesnt allow a simple taken for granted set of ontological categories to be the basis of cross-disciplinary cooperation. It challenges the simplifications that come primarily as a result of invoking states as the key geographical entities in the whole specification of power, place and identity. Contemporary geographical scholarship suggests that the assumptions that international relations starts with categories of nation states, rivalries and strategies of cooperation are not something one can take for granted in a scholarly enterprise that begins with geopolitics. Multidisciplinarity challenges the ontological categories of scholarship; indeed its precisely this challenge that makes multidisciplinarity simultaneously interesting and difficult.

But this very obvious point is what is crucial to any geopolitical engagement with the literature of international relations. Precisely the refusal to take context for granted is key to the literature of critical geopolitics; taking this insight into a discipline that takes the international system as its given object for analysis is always likely to cause methodological difficulties. This too is evident in the ongoing frustration of feminist scholars with international political economy, and its apparent inability to engage with the critiques that the focus on gender and how it structures economic and political relations in the global economy (Griffin 2007). How subjects are disciplined is an unavoidable question for any discussion that is attempting to be multidisciplinary. DISCIPLINING INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS Juxtaposing the first few chapters of Quincy Wright's (1955) volume on The Study of International Relations which canvasses a huge number of options for understanding IR, with the editorial introduction to the first issue of the newest journal of international relations, International Political Sociology, published just two years ago, is most instructive. Where half a century ago Wright wondered about the appropriate contribution to international relations from disciplines that started from the perspective of the world, as in law, geography, history and others, Didier Bigo and Rob Walker (2007) note the contemporary convergence of sociology and international relations in terms of a cultural turn in IR on the one hand and on the other, a growing concern among sociologists with matters of the global constitution of politics. Bigo and Walker go on to suggest that the inadequacies in international relations scholarship are understood in part because of the structural transformations of global politics and society in the last few decades. Such structural changes require new modes of analysis. They have also brought all sorts of new policy issues to the fore requiring analysis. "More recent trends have seen some significant convergences between sociological and political analysis, especially in work on refugees, migrants, diasporas, protection, security, multinational enterprises, and advocacy networks (Bigo and Walker 2007: 4) All of which suggests that the prior intellectual apparatus of international relations is not appropriate for the analysis of these issues. Perhaps this is so in part because many of the disciplinary options Wright (1955) considered didn't end up having much influence in mainstream international relations which became a predominantly American discipline shaped by political science in the 1950s due both to intellectual and institutional developments in that decade (Long 2006). Bigo and Walker suggest in part that this was because of the formulations in international relations were frequently shaped by the elegant formulations of the levels of analysis schema. While they don't explicitly cite Kenneth Waltz (1959) and his analysis of Man, the State and War clearly the codification of the problematic of international relations that this text, in combination with Hans Morgenthau's (1948) Politics Among Nations, presented is no longer adequate to understand contemporary developments. But for some decades, as the cold war was institutionalized both in military doctrines and the practices for studying such important matters, international relations as a predominantly American enterprise focused on matters of security and strategic studies (Klein 1994). These terms dominated understandings within international relations and did so within a geopolitical imaginary divided into two fairly stable blocs made up of states. Bigo and Walker don't discuss the emergence of strategic studies and the larger discussions of security that also dominated many of the concerns of international relations in the 1950s and 1960s in much detail either, but clearly the key structural transformations in global

politics that matter are about the end of the cold war and the end of preoccupations with the cold war confrontation as the dominant theme of international relations. While this might suggest that the whole security agenda has also been transformed, ironically strategic studies and the military dimensions of international relations have been reasserted in the global war on terror (Dalby forthcoming a). The problems of peace and war which had concerned international relations as a discipline in general have once again become a matter of concern for the social sciences but do so now in different geopolitical circumstances. It is not surprising that these matters also lead to new multidisciplinary investigations, not least because of the prevalence of historical analogies in the contemporary discussions of imperial power in the global age. WHERE HAVE ALL THE GEOGRAPHERS GONE? In the institutionalisation of international relations as a discipline in the cold war period in North America there is a notable absence of geographers in the literature. Not a complete absence, but nonetheless in comparison to political scientists they are nearly invisible. Relatively few economists and historians too, but the geographers are notably absent. Clearly in the flowering of international relations in the United States in the aftermath of the war geography had little explicit contribution to make; while such things are mentioned in the text books of the time, states are the entities that matter and these can be dealt with by political scientists interested in understanding the interrellations between them. Thus politics is what happens with states and mere relations happen between these supposedly autonomous geometric spaces, as Rob Walker (1993) has pointed out. With this simple cartography clearly understood geographers would seem to have little to say about matters of the international. The political terms of the moment and the compelling logic of states as the supposed containers of nations, institutionalised in the misnamed United Nations specified as a political desideratum the sovereign territorial states as the key organising principle of the system that now simply became the international (Jackson 2000). Partly the absence of geography may be due to its being its own worst enemy at this time, choosing to follow intellectual paths more closely related to small scale field work and cultural anthropology rather than investigate a larger canvass. As Smith (2003) notes, Isaiah Bowman was the last of the disciplines major public intellectuals and his influence didnt stretch long into the cold war period. The conventional disciplinary history of geography suggests that geographers abandoned the study of politics on the large scale after the Second World War, tainted as they were with guilt by association with Nazi versions of Geopolitik with its determinisms and its arguments in favour of Lebensraum for the German Volk. While the wartime propaganda of Haushofers geopolitics institute in Germany plotting world domination, was just that, a propaganda fantasy, nonetheless North American scholars and wartime commentators felt compelled to distance their scholarship, which was of course entirely objective, from theirs, which was of course ideologically suspect, partial biased, and hence not to be taken seriously (OTuathail 1996). While this taint with Nazi controversy during the 1930s and through the war left its mark the disciplinary history is more complicated, and some scholars did maintain an interest in geopolitics through the period when conventional wisdom has it that geography had little to say (Kristoff 1961; Cohen 1963; Jones 1955). But even a few moments reflection on these matters suggests that things are not this simple. The relative neglect of geography in the international relations literature, both mainstream (Grygiel 2006), and critical (Linklater 2007; Williams 2007), may have more to do with the larger institutional context of the discipline and the circumstances in the cold war in

particular where modes of knowledge were invoked to answer particular problems faced by policy makers in the United States. Faced with a new and vast pattern of distant commitments and a very new world order in the late 1940s, Americans turned to political science and to the amorphous literature of area studies for knowledge of the world that might facilitate managing the far flung commitments that had been acquired by the simple fact of victory in a world wide military struggle. Expanding American influence, effectively as an informal empire in many parts of the world, wasnt a matter of territorial expansion. It was a matter of dismantling former European empires and opening up markets to newly independent states (Smith 2003). It was a matter of influence and trading arrangements backed up by military power in an alliance system constructed of other at least putatively sovereign states. As such it wasnt a matter of geographical knowledge needed for direct administration, but loosely it was about knowledge of cultures and other political systems that might be much more useful than surveys, grids and practical administration which geography might have to offer. In part the answer to where the geographers were is about the academic division of labour, and the appropriate skill sets available were more conducive in anthropology, political science, economics and law departments than in geography. This is obviously a very crude interpretation of the sociology of knowledge. But if there is some veracity to it, then it raises crucial questions about the larger trajectory of international relations as a discipline, its institutionalization and the terms and conditions that shape the questions asked and the methods used. If at least one recent text pubished by a university press is to believed, then international relations authors can happily write about the geographical dimensions of global politics while simply ignoring the literature in the discipline entirely (see Grygiel 2006). This is not to claim the superiority of a particular disciplinary practice, it is simply to note the obvious; international relations as a discipline frequently simply ignores geographical scholarship. International relations is not multidisciplinary, at least as far as the geographers are concerned! INTERNATIONAL SYSTEM Robert Vitalis (2006), in reflecting on the discipline and hegemony implies a particularily interesting suggestion concerning the spatial framing of politics in the twentieth century. He notes that inter-racial relations were a major concern of scholars prior to the First World War. Larger concerns with history and race were part of the intellectual milieu before the war changed numerous things. After the war the council on foreign relations, and its flagship journal Foreign Affairs formalised a new situation in which the League of Nations and international relations were understood more explicitly in terms of the relations of sovereign states. The trench warfare of the First World War was followed by a period where international frontiers were more obviously policed; migration was more difficult, passports became the norm simultaneously fixing citizen identities and formalising the practicalities of cross border travel. Protectionist policies emphasised new modes of commercial restriction on top of the earlier patterns of imperial preferences and trading restrictions in terms of the nationality of ships. All this could be understood as a result of what Halford Mackinder (1904) called the closure of political space at the beginning of the twentieth century when Europeans effectively ran out of additional territories that could usefully be claimed. European empires had carved up Africa and parts of Asia, the United States reached the Pacific and had already purchased Alaska. The results were likely to be ominous in Mackinders terms: Every explosion of social forces,

instead of being dissipated in a surrounding circuit of unknown space and barbaric chaos, will be sharply re-echoed from the far side of the globe, and weak elements in the political and economic organism of the world will be shattered in consequence. Clearly here is the suggestion that the spatial framing had changed and while not exactly a prediction of the world war that came a decade after he published, clearly a suggestion that the Columbian age was over and that a new arrangement of world power had arrived. This legacy of imperial thought persists despite the apparent disregard of geography and the apparent irrelevance of its legacy (Kearns forthcoming) While the international lawyers were obviously busy thinking in terms of structures that followed from the League of Nations in Abersytwyth historian E.H. Carr (1946) was busy working on a book that was subsequently to be claimed as one of the founding realist texts in international relations. In his discussions of great powers, revisionist struggles and the larger canvas of interstate rivalry, Carr tells a cautionary tale about the dangers of misplaced utopian schemes and the necessities of thinking carefully and clearly about rivalries. But most of the great powers of that time were not by any stretch of the imagination nation states; they were mostly empires. Even Germany, the cause of so much anguish, was in some crucial ways still better understood as an empire rather than a unitary nation state. This matters because the logic of realism and the arguments that states exist in rivalry and compete for power and influence appears to be much more a matter of inter-imperial struggles than rivalries between nation states, most of whom coexist in relative peacefulness with each other most of the time. In simple empirical terms the most nave claim about realism and the rejection of the Nazi notions of Lebensraum and pseudo Darwinian invocations the struggle of the fittest is simply that if realism really was about struggles to maximise security by growing in power and influence, how come the international system now has nearly four times as many states now as it did when Carr and Morgenthau published the texts which are now taken as canonical realist tracts? This is of course a hopelessly nave argument, but the point is nonetheless that much more than the simple attempt to gain territory and maximise control over resources is obviously going on in contemporary times. Indeed increasing territorial control is increasingly passe as a mode of political life. It is doing so in part of course because the territorial convenant involves common agreement among states that the existing boundaries are no longer to be moved. However irrational in cultural, economic or environmental terms, these lines have become the agreed upon designation of administrative spaces, and as such part of the reason why wars are much less frequent than in earlier times is the simple but important point that the United Nations has effectively ended the previous patterns of territorial change as the result of warfare. Geographical status quo ante is now the norm. Precisely where the boundaries are not agreed, in for example the Palestine Israel case and in the Kashmir dispute, violence is always an imminent possibility. Nonetheless the assumption of competing spatial entities provides the ontological categories from which much else in the discipline of international relations is derived. But this competition is apparently causing division, not amalgamation, forced or otherwise. INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AS HEGEMONY If in fact this geographical slight of hand is a valid claim might this not explain many things about international relations? Might this also explain part of the legitimating strategy where United States official documents and statements frequently invoke formulations such as states like the United States when patently obviously there arent any states like the United States?

This ability to invoke commonality, where singularity is obviously much more appropriate, is a powerful rhetorical device that draws on the presuppositions that structure international relations thinking to be efficacious. Obviously hegemony is about much more than this, the global market society being key to much of it (Agnew 2005) but the spatial categories of the Westphalian state are a key part precisely because they simultaneously constrain the political imagination and facilitate all sorts of political arrangements that obscure how power works. On the face of it the geography of contemporary international relations is a very strange arrangement indeed. Without paying attention to the historical evolution of the international system how could any remotely sensible scholarly classification of entities lump what we now call say China, Luxembourg, Tuvalu and Uruguay into the same category. Implying an ideal type, some sort of Weberian territorial monopoly of legitimate violence on the one hand, and a claim to a single national identity on the other, makes very little sense in considering these cases. Clearly the insistence on this powerful foundational fiction is immensely efficacious for many state elites. It structures the institutions of the United Nations especially well, although empirical observation of much of the activity of this organisation suggests that disunited states might be a more accurate name for the institution. But it is precisely these entities and the assumptions that this is how power works that have also long structured international relations as a discipline. Clearly there have been numerous problems constraining the analysis within such thinking. Economics clearly crosses boundaries easily and the rise of international political economy in the last few decades is clear evidence that international relations focused on states, power and security is not enough to gain traction on the major shifts in global politics. But here too, as the discussion of the differences between schools in the pages of the Review of International Political Economy recently has indicated, the ontological presuppositions in what is rather unhelpfully labled the American school reinforce the hegemonic specification of what it is that is to be studied and how (Cohen 2007). In contrasting the American formulations, with their emphasis on economics and rational choice, presuppositions of rational actors, markets, struggles for primacy and so on, with the more historical and sociologically influenced British school, Higgott and Watson (2008) suggest that disciplinary preoccupations matter and that the social context from within which scholarly questions are posed matter greatly. Simply looking to states and markets as the key ingredients of what is in need of explanation reproduces the cultural logic of contemporary hegemony of what is now simply once again called capitalism. The presupposition that economic wealth, as conventionally measured in monetary terms, is the key to the human endeavour, but that it is unevenly distributed and administered by a multiplicity of states with different styles of management, mirrors the dominant discourses of politics. Or at least it did until the last year or so when a major correction in the financial sector of what is called the global economy, clearly indicated that many of these measurements were fictitious. The human costs of this recession will likely be considerable, and this is now beginning to challenge logic of markets, and doing so by emphasising the importance of states once again. Economics is a political matter as Niall Ferguson (2008) has recently reminded those of us who had forgotten this simple point in the celebrations of market euphoria some years ago. The contemporary problems with the global economy are now compounded by the dawning realisation that its this particular mode of economic activity that is radically destabilising the biosphere within which this economy functions.

GEOPOLITICS The transition from the cold war to the post cold war era certainly did change the geopolitical cartography. It took some years for pundits to decide that we didn't just live in a post-cold war era, but in one best specified by the term globalization. It took much longer for the strategic geographies of all this to get much attention. Clearly "humanitarian interventions" were in order in a way that they hadn't been during the cold war as Somalia, the Balkans, Kurdistan, East Timor and other examples suggested. But only some maps were destroyed; the larger Westphalian assumptions of a world order of equal states remained, even as international practice suggested that in many key areas this assumption was highly dubious (Williams 2008). But the new geographies of conflict and the emergence of what Mary Kaldor (2007) terms the political economy of organized violence in the "new wars" remained underspecified until she pointed out that they too were tied into the circuits of the global economy. No longer did the cold war assumptions about front lines, battlefields, blocs and superpower rivalry overdetermine patterns of military confrontation. But the cold war armies left over from plans for old fashioned tank battles in Germany were slow to adapt to the new circumstances, not least because with their upgraded technological innovations the American, British and French forces had apparently proven their worth in Iraq in 1991. While George Bush senior celebrated a new world order after the demise of the Berlin wall, many more sanguine commentators were less convinced about claims to either order or novelty. But the geopolitical changes did imply new issues in international relations, and the expansion of what soon became the European Union suggested that perhaps finally modernity had pacified the civilization that had unleashed such awful carnage earlier in the century. Integration overcame the worst fears of realist international relations scholars about renewed rivalries and suggested that neo-functionalist theories had more to offer than might have appeared to be the case in earlier decades. And yet the difficulties of specifying Europe and its regions didnt go away (Kuus 2007). Where Finland in particular worried about Norden and its place in a widening Europe, ironically Turkey and its possible accession to the Union, has subsequently emerged as the most pressing matter for debate. A matter discussed explicitly in terms of geography, as in Turkey is in Asia not Europe, in presidential candidate Nicolas Sarkozy's summation of its place in the world in the French presidential election debate in May 2007. In particular geopolitical change suggests that much of the debate about globalization, the need for multidisciplinary approaches, and the difficulties of rethinking sovereignty in the context of the European Union are directly related to the inadequate geographical specifications in contemporary politics. The discussions of Grossraum, and the necessity of thinking about politics in manners other than the neat territorial boxes of states, are tied into the messy geographies that refuse to be contained by such formulations. Indeed precisely because of the failure of territorial states to neatly delimit national populations, despite President Wilson's fondest hopes on the matter, the territorial issues of the 1930s were politically important. Updated to current circumstances once again the spatialities of politics are a problem. One of the quiet legacies of the United Nations system has been the establishment of a norm of stable borders (Zacher 2001). Where territorial claims were so frequently a casus belli in the past, the United Nations norm of territorial fixity has been established and widely respected in the last half century. This innovation might well be key to the decline in inter-state warfare. Ironically of course where nationalist zeal is whipped up to justify inter-ethnic violence, it has lead to the

situations where if the border can't be moved then clearly the people must be to adjust the population to the cartography rather than the other way round. But ironically, just as the territorial lines on the maps are fixed many political problems escape the cartography. Problems supposedly result from globalization where the inadequacies of states as political containers are repeatedly asserted by politicians concerned to reassert control in the face of apparently foreign threats. But all this only makes sense if the prior division of the world into such properties and territories is taken as the ontological given for analysis and policy formulation not to mention the premise for political community, the supposed sine qua non for modern subjects. Pushed a little further this line of argument can be taken to suggest that the spatial categories of the cold war have so shaped international political thinking that the challenge supposedly presented by globalization might be better understood as a matter of inadequate spatial categories rather than a matter of novelty and threat (Dalby 2005). GLOBALIZATION In the aftermath of the cold war the appropriate designations of political reality were thrown into doubt with the demise of the bloc division of the world. Western triumphalist arguments fairly quickly turned what was interpreted into a victory for the West into narratives of global business, democracy, markets, development, and environment too. Tropes of management and marketization of practically everything assured the rich and powerful, and increasingly highly mobile tourists that the world was a single place, or soon would be as the market logic of global capital took over. Emerging markets were good investment opportunities, or at least they were until an economic crisis in a vaguely defined Asia caused some volatility in such things. The new technologies of data administration, internet, computers and digital communication suggested a new information age. Manuel Castells (1996-1998) called his huge trilogy on the new circumstances just that. In terms of the discipline of international relations the neat spatial divisions of blocs and the logic of states suddenly became a problem; turbulence, in Jim Roseneaus terms, in the global system was matched by similar unpredictable intellectual storms within the discipline. John Mearsheimer (2001) became positively nostalgic for the lost verities of the earlier period, although he recovered quickly to produce a major text that reinserted great powers into the disciplines narratives, despite the stormy discursive times. The term globalization emerged as the defining term of the 1990s neatly encompassing the recognition that at least for capital, and those tourists, and a new generation of graduate students in search of exotic locales for research, processes of transformation were remaking the experiential world while universalising many aspects of capitalist culture. Corporations became global, so did culture, and fashion and later the internet, cellphones, digital media, ipods and virtual communities. All this was much easier to deal with in anthropology, economics, sociology and yes, geography in that in some ways they were less wedded to the state than international relations was, or at least as was the core security studies and strategy part of the discipline. What is interesting in the discussion of security and geopolitics in the 1990s is how frequently the focus on states remains. Of particular concern in the light of subsequent events is the focus my the neoconservatives on state threats to the United States, threats that turned out to be irrelevant to the attack that did actually materialise on 9/11 (Dalby 2006). The focus on states sat very uneasily with the themes of the war on terror, but its specification as a global war subsequently incorporated discussions of globalization into the specification of the terrain of conflict. The links to economic modernization and neo liberal strategies of state management were direct, the

assumption being that this mode of economy would ensure peace once it had been spread round the globe one way or another (Dalby 2007a). When linked to the discussion of network centric warfare, and discussions of both orbital space and cyberspace as terrains of conflict the spatial imaginary of the cold war state system evaporated. Ironically territorial strategies of security were powerfully reimposed by the strategies of border control in the department of Homeland Security and the increasing attempts to police movements by using territorial strategies. Migration became a fraught terrain of political contest in the United States, as in Europe in the aftermath of 9/11, but the migrants continued to come, driven by economic inequities and the simple fact that globalization is in many ways simply urbanization on the global scale, a process which is, from the migrants perspective hampered by fences, guards and unintelligible bureaucratic procedures related to passports, visas and permits. This contradiction goes to the heart of the peculiar geographies of a war on terror that has now finally been officially called of by a new American president who understands the folly of lumping diverse peoples and states into simplistic geopolitical categories and invoking threats of military force to attempt to discipline those who disagree with the operation of American lead globalization. The war on terror, with troops in distant places, including Afghanistan, and obvious connections to the extraction of resources in the Middle East for consumption elsewhere quickly however invoked discussions of matters in imperial tropes. The invasions of Afghanistan and in particular Iraq looked imperial. In 2003 the British were back in Basra for the fourth time in less than a century notwithstanding decisions in the 1960s to abandon military commitments east of Suez. This looked like empire even as George Bush flatly denied that the United States was in the empire business. But once again the categories of interstate relations seemed singularily inappropriate to designate what was happening. While some of the gunboats might now be airborne, they were still imposing a mode of order on peripheral places and obviously doing so to ensure the continued supply of commodities for the metropoles. History might be more helpful here surely rather than rational actor models or game theory? EMPIRE AND ORDER In attempting to fit politics into the territorial boxes of states, the premise for international relations thinking which assumes that inter-state interactions are its subject, and the appropriate set of categories for understanding the causes of wars, other geopolitical possibilities have been occluded. But they have now once again intruded forcefully into discussions of war and peace, violence and order of late, and in the process suggested the limitations of the conventional International Relations imaginary. Nowhere more so than in the hasty formulations of the Bush Doctrine wherein states that harbour terrorists are declared the enemy given the apparent inability of American forces to tackle al Qaeda directly or in any other manner. Not surprisingly the military violence unleashed, and the intense political coercion used in Asia, suggested to many commentators the appropriateness of metaphors of empire (Kaplan 2005). U.S. action certainly looked imperial even if George Bush junior insisted, as he put it in the 2003 State of the Union speech, that America isn't an empire because it doesn't conquer territory. Once again historical analogies were dusted off and used to reinterpret contemporary politics in ways that suggested imperial geographies rather than sovereign states were most important. This in turn suggests the necessity for multidisciplinary approaches to what is not now so easily discussed as a matter of strictly international relations. Globalization has made all these issues more pressing; the political cartography of spatial exclusion in the face of threats has been

reinforced in the United States by the initiatives of homeland security and the increased emphasis on surveillance and security. But given the fact the hijackers on 9/11 had entered the country legally in the first place, and not crossed the land frontier this frequently looks not just a matter of slamming the barn door after the horse has bolted, but doing so on the wrong barn altogether. But such is the persistence of an outdated geopolitical imaginary tied to the weight of state institutional inertia. The spatial ordering of security is now much more important than merely as a matter of homeland security. The lines of insecurity, to use Rob Walker's (2006a) apt phrasing, run through numerous political dilemmas concerning the spatialities of power. Quite how they are drawn to link sovereignty and security to concerns with imperial power is the key question of order. It is also directly related to the formulation of others, and their potential to become enemies. Indeed precisely because of the attempts to impose security numerous others have become potential enemies in the categories of homeland security, extraordinary rendition and the global war on terror. The remilitarization of international politics has however required a redrawing of the cartographies of order, with the metropolitan powers reasserting their rights to intervene in the peripheries to ensure order there and prevent the chaos of non-modern humanity intruding disruptively on the affluence of the global economy and its cities (Galgano 2006). In the rhetoric of the Pentagon's planning documents the United States foreign policy is now designed to bring modernity to all the world, by force if necessary (Dalby, forthcoming a). No wonder the analogy with Rome is frequently invoked (James 2006). But this is part of a larger pattern of thinking, of the excluded as key to the security of a political order, defined in part against the identity of the threatening external antagonist, a matter of cities surrounded by dangerous wilderness. In so far as the war on terror is then understood in these terms as the pacification of the wild zones distant from the metropoles then the questions of development, nation building and international cooperation would seem to come to the fore. They might yet do so if the innovations in American strategic thinking loosely referred to as the Petraeus doctrine. Looking to population protection as the primary task of the troops on the ground in far flung regions suggests an imperial task, and an understanding that empire is what is happening however much the official ideology of the American state denies this is what is happening and prefers the Westphalian formulation. To put matters in Michael Ignatieff's (2003: 79) blunt formulation of American policy (in the Mazar area of Afghanistan): Call it peacekeeping or nation-building, call it what you like, imperial policing is what is going on in Mazar. In fact, America's entire war on terror is an exercise in imperialism. This may come as a shock to Americans, who don't like to think of their country as an empire. But what else can you call America's legions of soldiers, spooks and Special Forces straddling the globe? These garrisons are by no means temporary. Terror can't be controlled unless order is built in the anarchic zones where terrorists find shelter. In Afghanistan, this means nation-building, creating a state strong enough to keep alQueda from returning. But the Bush administration wants to do this on the cheap, at the lowest level of investment and risk. In Washington they call this nationbuilding lite. But empires don't come lite. They come heavy, or they do not last. And neither does the peace they are meant to preserve.

Empire lite, because America is supposedly not really an empire, its one state among others supposedly its putative equals, politics is a matter of international relations between territorial states not a matter of one state controlling the internal affairs of another. But the imperial adventures in Afghanistan and Iraq are finally, surely, putting an end to this geopolitical fiction and forcing scholars from numerous other fields to pay attention to the categories of politics that the supposedly post colonial exercise of power is now suggesting are no longer appropriate. Here imperial history may be much more useful than assumptions of states as rational actors in an anarchical arrangement? Political economy might also have something to say; sociologists and anthropologists too. Certainly world historians do matter as Buzan and Little (2001) note in their call for IR to shake off its "Westphalian straightjacket". Perhaps even a few geographers too! Stepping outside the disciplinary constraints of political science and asking questions about the emergence of a field of study known as international relations in the twentieth century in light of all the contemporary contradictions of sovereignty, lines and cartographic practices suggests that perhaps globalization isn't the problem at all. Rather its been the condition of humanity for some considerable time. The problem may lie with the drawing of lines across the map both in the colonial scramble for Africa and the subsequent introduction of spatial strategies, of the front in war, passports and economic protections subsequently. But as postcolonial elites of former European colonies subsequently discovered these practices had very considerable uses. Their subsequent adoption by these elites suggested a permanence that reinforced the initial assumption. While the Second World War changed many things it temporarily reinforced the spatial divisions of the world as the predominant form of order. But only temporarily, these categories are not the ontological givens for political analysis. International relations became institutionalized in these circumstances, taking the political order of the nation state as its benchmark, as the category from which analysis should start, rather as a novelty, and one that was likely transitory in light of history. Viewed from outside the West why might these arrangements, imposed in very recent history be understood as the permanent categories? Looking back to the early part of the twentieth century, and the discussion of matters of empire, inter-racial relations and related matters suggests that the most important point of all is perhaps the most obvious matter of the changing geopolitical ordering of the century (Vitalis 2006). These imperial motifs are back in some interesting ways, not least the discussions of multi-culturalism in many places, which try to deal with matters of globalization, urbanization and migration once again within the spatial imaginary of nation states. None of these things fit the Westphalian straight jacket no matter how elaborate the patterns contemporary intellectual tailors use to adjust the garment. MULTIDISCIPLINARITY? In so far as there is a crisis within the discipline requiring multidisciplinary approaches, it is surely in part because its ability to proscribe the appropriate ordering of conventional politics has been transcended, only most obviously by the events of 9/11 and the subsequent attempts to use military power to reassert a hegemony that was so spectacularly thwarted by Al Qaeda's suicidal flyers. The importance of international relations as the conceptual infrastructure of American hegemony was shaken by the events of 9/11, not least because once again, just like in 1989, the scholarly practices that supposedly understood the world in such detail failed to predict the event or to provide anything close to an agreed upon interpretation of how to respond to it.

Improvisation on the part of the CIA in Afghanistan followed; a much more deliberate military campaign in Iraq in turn followed that; both with tragic if predictable consequences where attempts were made to change regimes and impose local rulers more favourably disposed to their foreign masters. At least part of the impetus to multidisciplinarity in present times is the recognition that the human condition is not being adequately understood by the modes of scholarship currently on offer. The risky strategies of neo-conservatives and neo-liberalism have come to an abrupt end as scholars predicted they would (Pieterse 2007) but the crash in the global economic markets and the eradication of monetary wealth is not a new phenomenon. What the discussion of globalization, the newly revived discussion of empire and its perils for various forms of politics (Bacevich 2008), as well as the larger concern with our collective ecological predicament suggests is in part a crisis of intellectual activity. The objects of knowledge that have traditionally been understood with academic disciplines seem to be flowing over the boundaries of these academic structures. Hence the need for multiple disciplinary perspective and accounts of reality and the human condition that dont fit neatly into any discussion of conventional international relations. But then again this is not a problem that is confined to international relations; numerous other disciplines have difficulties with the limitations of their topics and appropriate methods in a world where the verities of the nineteenth century division of academic labour dont fit a world where the categories of human experience, as with their contexts, have changed so drastically. The collapse of the distinctions between humanity and nature, epistemological doubts about many things, and the growing recognition of the importance of processes, systems, information and codes in contemporary explanations suggest a world where the traditional disciplines dont fit. Experimentation with hybrid fields of study is rampant and there is no reason why international studies will continue in the form that has come down to us from the cold war era either. That said, institutional inertia tends to perpetuate disciplinary traditions, and while the pattern of academic hirings, whereby members of the existing faculty hire their colleagues, and eventual replacements may have its merits, in so far as it stifles innovation it too reproduces intellectual divisions of labour that may not be useful in new circumstances. Added to that is the key point that Rob Walker (1993) made in Inside/Outside where he noted that in terms of politics a methodological convience whereby distinctions were made between domestic and international, long ago turned into an ontological category. This is frequently compounded by the Willie Sutton syndrome in the social sciences where research is done the way it is because that is where the data is (Dalby 2007b). Globalization merely added to these difficulties, and in the fear of novel boundary crossings, revealed more about the autistic spatial imaginary of the social sciences than it did about the novelty of circumstances after the demise of the Soviet Union. Business had been crossing the boundaries of the world for a very long time; the acceleration of these transactions had been happening since the 1940s when trade had consistently been expanding at a more rapid rate than average national economic growth. International alliances and troop movements likewise were common, and travel in general had rapidly grown as jet airliners became ubiquitous in the 1970s. None of this was new, but the difficulty of dealing with all these things simply emphasised the importance of territorial states as the given category in analysis. The focus on economy, business and the transformative effects of international investment in the 1990s suggested however that while capital was free to move, people looking

for work were not. The discussion of global apartheid likewise tried to grapple with the huge inequalities of global wealth and link them to the policies of spatial control whereby the wealthy used state boundaries to administer the inequities. Access to international funds, and the control of many states by distant banks and the disciplining strategies of fund managers, suggested that capitalism was well and truly global even if the population of the planet was mostly still in particular places. The rapid expansion of media, both in terms of television stations and internet expansion, have made this assumption more suspect in recent years too. Al Jazeera is a particularly high profile example of how and why media escaping national markets matters, but the dreams of universal free access to either television signals or internet traffic remain caught in struggles by states to either censor or buy off media corporations. But what is clear is that the new media are changing patterns of communication and linking some, if far from all, parts of the world in different configurations. President Obama chose Al Arabyia to make his first major policy announcements about the Middle East and to elaborate on his new approach to foreign policy. MAPPING THE TWENTIETH CENTURY In retrospect it now seems that the institutionalisation of international relations, and the premise of a world primarily consisting of precisely defined nation states, might be seen as an artifact of the twentieth century and of American dominance in that period. The logic of clashing autonomous entities as the basic social arrangements is after all an American presupposition. The triumph of the autonomous actor, calculating interests and arbitrating disagreements by technological force if necessary, the basic ontological assumptions of Americanism, are written into the assumptions of the disciplinary enterprise established to understand this world. The NeoRealist approach and the National Rifle Association share more than an acronymn, they share ontology too! The revival of concerns about immigration, intercultural politics, about relativism, postcolonial scholarship and the overarching American fascination with race, suggests that Vitaliss (2006) observation about the importance of inter-racial relations becoming inter national relations in the period of the First World War, might now be reverting to the old pattern with less concern given to the sovereign state as the political matter of prime consideration. President Obamas repudiation of the war on terror and his much more nuanced formulation of contemporary threats might suggest that the fascination with spatial metaphors, whether they are the cold war containment, or the post-cold war themes of enlargement, might be beginning to fade. Globalization in this sense suggests that the twentieth century was the century of lines, divisions and spatial imaginations so hegemonic that they didnt need the skills of geographers to describe, delineate and demarcate. The coloured maps of here and there, distinct spaces and precise limitations of authority is now giving way to a more complicated world of interaction and interconnection. The natural sciences are making it increasingly clear that we are remaking that world as we become an urban species and the networks of interconnection between the nodes in that global economy more accurately summarise the organisation of the planets peoples than the cartographies of division (Dalby forthcoming b). This is not a new observation either; scholars suggested in the 1970s that environmental matters were changing the context of international politics (Pirages 1978). But these concerns were swept aside in the remilitarization of matters in the 1980s and the revival of the cold war. Now the earth system science analyses are making

these insights ever more pressing (Steffen et.al 2007); the global agenda for the twenty first century will be about how to live in the Anthropocene. Yet this is not to overlook the immense power of territorial strategies as modes of control for administrators and security functionaries. Territory is a juridical notion, one that hugely simplifies the tasks of making distinctions and dictating appropriate modes of conduct in particular places. But recognising these practices as contingent strategies that are convenient, rather than the ontological givens that are merely to be worked with in some search for perfect administration, is now a political necessity as well as a useful starting point for academic study. The necessity to tackle these matters from within many disciplinary procedures is also clear as the human condition is not one amenable solely to the fine tuning of nation states and the detailed documentation of its citizens. RE-MAPPING THE TWENTY FIRST CENTURY As climate change kicks in and the vulnerability of populations to increasingly artificial hazards mounts, all these concerns with the appropriate contextualisation of insecurity further challenge the cartographic imagination of the social sciences (Leichenko and OBrien 2008). Just as the division between nature and humanity is both essential and untenable simultaneously (Walker 2006b), so too is the now impossible division between people and citizens in the imagination of international studies. The boundaries so carefully tended in the twentieth century are crumbling both in the world and in the academy, and given the violence of twentieth century geopolitics thats not necessarily a bad thing! While the war on terror temporarily diverted attention from looming environmental matters, these too have transcended the neat categorisations of international relations theory. As the old saying has it environmental problems are no respector of state boundaries. The debate about global warming, and the consequent phenomena of climate change, make the point about this very clearly. And yet the attempts to develop responses to greenhouse gas emissions remain caught in the administrative categories of the nation state, and interstate bargaining seems to be the key focus in analyses dealing with how climate regimes are to be established (Newell 2008). Climate change is still largely understood as a pollution problem, not as one that requires more large-scale transformations of how people produce things and live so as to make life for future generations possible. In so far as it remains a matter for government negotiation, and the matter will always be in part about this, then the terms of international relations will continue to offer interpretations and strategies. But so far they have seemed incapable of grappling with the scale and speed of contemporary transformations. The larger context of all this, caught in the terminology increasingly favoured by the earth system scientists, the Anthropocene, suggests novel circumstances for humanity which require a more comprehensive understanding of the global condition than that provided by the categories of international relations, or indeed for that matter, state focused social sciences in general. Thinking about humanity as a new force of nature, as a novel arrangement in the biosphere, and one that has begun to destabilise this biosphere in part by reversing the long-term geological pattern of carbon sequestration through its practices of combustion, suggests that the administrative practices of territorial entities are no longer the appropriate mode of thinking for the long term future, if at least some notion of human security is taken seriously. They may be necessary in the short term given the absence of appropriate institutions that can grapple with the important matters of how humanity as a whole decides what to produce and how to tackle the ecological disruptions that are compromising human security.

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