Normalizing Civil War

In real life, unlike in Hollywood productions, civil wars—and wars in general—do not suddenly appear.  They evolve gradually in space and time, because a period of conditioning is required for the population to accept them as new normal. Once the socioeconomic and mental threshold is reached, and people’s collective memory of past times of harmony has been replaced with a new reality, a nation has arrived to the point of no return.  From my personal and professional experience, humans have

PNAC’s Geopolitical Dunning-Kruger Effect

Schizophrenia in contemporary American foreign policy was outlined nearly three decades ago in a Report for the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) titled Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century.  Individuals involved in PNAC and the creation of this report have since been strongly involved in each administration, including the current under Mr. Trump. From the geography of conflict perspective looking at the PNAC veterans’ influence and resulting actions worldwide, one cannot avoid noticing

Ghosts, Lights, Legends, Conflict

A fellow geographer, Dr. Charles F. “Fritz” Gritzner, has just published an interesting book, North Carolina Ghost Lights and Legends. During his academic career, with a span longer than half century, he taught dozens of different courses and tens of thousands of students at various institutions of higher learning.  I, too, was among the students—initially as an undergraduate, then as a graduate—who listened to him profess the importance of geographic methodology in today’s world.  He also lectured on Geography of

John Quincy Adams, Isolationist and Putin Troll

Contemporary critics of the American foreign entanglements are quickly labeled isolationists who troll for Russian President, Vladimir Putin, subverting freedom, democracy, and the world order.  If former United States Secretary of State (1817-1825) and the country’s President (1825-1829), John Quincy Adams, returned to Earth today he would be among them (and, highly likely, on top of the TSA’s no-fly list, too). An attitude of non-interventionism equaling success has been distorted into a belief that being in everyone’s business is somehow

Empire, Oracle, and an Attack on Russia, China, and America

In the sixth century BC, the Lydian emperor Croesus faced a dilemma of entering a war with Persia, a formidable opponent rising in power.  Prior to making a decision about war, Croesus decided to consult the Oracle of Delphi.  The answer he received was simple. If he attacks the Persians a great empire will be destroyed.  Armed with this information, Croesus attacked the Persians and lost, thereby destroying his own empire and changing the fate of his own people. Fast

Access and Isolation in Appalachian “Hollers”

When Social Justice Warriors from the urban conurbation of northern Virginia and Maryland decide to visit West Virginia and Kentucky, they leave their work behind and travel to vacation homes or visit whiskey distilleries.  In Hodgenville, Kentucky, sometimes they stop by the birthplace of the “Great Emancipator,” Abraham Lincoln, for a cone of ice cream (“dry” county!) and a quick refresher on how great is our indivisible nation. In West Virginia, they listen to, and perhaps even sing John Denver

Adverse Effects of the Adjective “Cold,” the Mental Valium for Geopolitical Anxiety

“The new Cold War is coming,” increasingly echoes in the American media’s editorials, talk show discussions, and comment sections on the Internet.  Closer attention reveals that the emphasis is on “Cold,” rather than “War,” as if the word war has lost its traditional true meaning. Perhaps it has, because the residents of the United States are in a perpetual state of war with something.  Terrorism, drugs, cancer, childhood obesity, illiteracy, poverty, diabetes, racism, social media, and insurance scams are just

Repercussions from Sidelining Geography in the American Cultural System

“Americans have to learn geography, because they are living now in a world in which they’re no longer isolated…and they simply will not make—will not be able to make—sense out of what they read in their newspapers and about the decisions their government makes unless they understand some historical and above all, geographical, relationships.”    Henry Kissinger American educational, corporate, and governmental spheres suffer from a well-documented spatial paradox.  Our interaction with the world has never been more complex, while our

Deconstructing Seattle’s Construction

The growth rate of Seattle’s commercial and residential construction, much of which I can observe from my home, has reached unprecedented levels.  Satellite imagery on Google Maps cannot keep a pace with the ever-expanding Amazon campus in South Lake Union.  Facebook and Google are also “sneaking in” their operational facilities closer to Amazon. Figure 1. Landscape of downtown Seattle, a tourist destination and a builders’ playground. (All photographs were taken by the author.) Recently erected residential towers designed for luxury

The War Between the States of Mind in Virginia and Elsewhere

A significant portion of contemporary Americans hold an interesting perspective on the War Between the States (aka: the Civil War).  They liken it to a Super Bowl game, an annual single championship skirmish in football in which the winner takes all. The losers cannot challenge the score and have to go home suffering the humility of defeat?  In 1865, two years after fumbling cannonballs at Gettysburg, the Confederate States lost and had to go home. War is a Spectator Sport