Firepower: Geopolitical Cultures in the Anthropocene
Simon Dalby | Geopolitics | 2018
The human control of fire is a relatively neglected part of the discussion of the contemporary transformation of the planet. Thinking about it in terms of geopolitics is a way to link climate adaptation, extinction and the possibilities of extending traditional analyses of political ecology to the global scale. Such thinking is explicitly rejected as the appropriate premises for foreign policy action by the Trump administration which poses American greatness in terms of traditional understandings of firepower. This clash of geopolitical cultures is now key to global politics, where dramatic landscape transformation, related species extinctions as well as climate change results directly and indirectly from human control of combustion. Firepower is a matter of military technology as well as, in the form of fossil fuel combustion, the essential energy source that fuels the global economy. Focusing on combustion as a key geophysical force in contemporary geopolitics offers useful insights into the Anthropocene discussion and, in particular, the two planetary boundaries of climate change and biodiversity loss, which are key to contemporary efforts at global environmental governance.
Dalby, Simon. “Firepower: Geopolitical Cultures in the Anthropocene.” Geopolitics 23, no. 3 (2018): 718-742.