Thinking about geopolitics is all about picking the right metaphor. After World War II, America’s elite conceived of a world engaged in a Cold War, where the United States and Soviet Union played a game of spies and skirmishes to spread political ideology across the planet. In the 19th century, the British and Russian Empires engaged in the Great Game, a political and diplomatic game of shadows that played out in Afghanistan and its neighboring territories. The problem with metaphors is that the map is not the territory. The menu is not the meal and if you get caught up in a great power competition, it can be hard to see the world any other way.
Here to help us sort through this, and try to figure out what metaphors best fit our troubled times, is Ali Wyne. Wyne is a policy analyst at RAND, a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center on International Security, and a nonresident fellow at the Modern War Institute. His work, especially on this topic, has appeared in The National Interest.
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