The Global Village Myth: Distance, War, and the Limits of Power

In This Review

The Global Village Myth: Distance, War, and the Limits of Power
By Patrick Porter
Georgetown University Press, 2015
240 pp.

This challenging book takes aim at “globalist” thinking. Porter argues that Western security elites increasingly believe that globalization and technological changes have made the world smaller but also more threatening. Porter thinks that phenomenon is more imagined than real, and much of his book is an effort to show that territoriality, geography, and state power still matter. He reminds readers that even in the age of drones and cyberwarfare, it is still difficult for most countries or nonstate groups to project power across great distances. Porter is eager to puncture the “myth” of globalism because he sees it as the core idea behind U.S. military activism and hegemonic ambitions. After all, if threats to the homeland can come from anywhere, the entire world must become the United States’ zone of operation. For Porter, such thinking opens the door to what the historian Charles Beard called “perpetual war for perpetual peace.” Porter may be right, but even if the world is not a tightly integrated village, hiding behind borders no longer seems to be an option.

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