Northwestern Events Calendar


Circles of Steel, Castles of Vanity: Geopolitics of U.S. Military Bases on the South China Sea

When: Thursday, February 25, 2016
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM Central

Where: 1902 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Elizabeth Morrissey  

Group: Equality Development and Globalization Studies (EDGS)

Co-Sponsor: Department of Political Science
Asian Studies

Category: Lectures & Meetings


Alfred McCoy, University of Wisconsin-Madison

EDGS Rajawali Speaker Series: "Comparative Empires in the International History of the Modern Era"

Today, the shoals of the South China Sea are arguably the only place on the planet where there is a risk of armed conflict between nuclear-armed superpowers. This paper thus reviews the past century of U.S. bid for geopolitical power through force projection in the Western Pacific: first, unsuccessfully after 1898 when the Philippines proved a base too far beyond the range of U.S. defense capability; next, successfully during the Cold War when bases from Japan to Subic Bay gave the U.S. control of both axial points on the Eurasian land mass; and, more recently, as the U.S. rebuilds its chain of bases along the Asian littoral to maintain control of that axial antipode and thereby check China’s rise to global power. Starting with Sir Halford Mackinder’s seminal 1904 treatise that both created the study of “geopolitics” and identified the “world island” as the pivot for global power, this lecture analyzes the century-long struggle for control of the Eurasian landmass as a contest between continental powers such as Germany and China against the encircling maritime empires, Britain and the United States.


*lunch included

co-sponsored by Asian Studies Program

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