Cover of Near and Far Waters by Colin Flint
Near and Far Waters
The Geopolitics of Seapower
Colin Flint


July 2024
246 pages.
from $26.00

Hardcover ISBN: 9781503639645
Paperback ISBN: 9781503639812
Ebook ISBN: 9781503639829

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Seapower has been a constant in world politics, a tool through which powerful countries have policed the seas for commercial advantage. Political geographer Colin Flint highlights the geography of seapower as a dynamic, continual struggle to gain control of near waters—those parts of the oceans close to a country's shoreline—and far waters—parts of the oceans beyond the horizon and that neighbor the shorelines of other countries. A forceful and clarifying challenge to conventional accounts of geopolitics, Near and Far Waters offers an accessible introduction to the combination of economic and political relations that are the reason behind, and the result of, the development of seapower to control near waters and project force into far waters.

Examining the histories of three naval powers (the Netherlands, Britain, and the United States), this book distills the past and present patterns of seapower and their tendency to trigger repercussive conflict and war. Readers will gain an appreciation for how geopolitics works, the importance of seapower in economic competition, the motivations behind China's desire to become a global naval force, and the risks of current and future wars. Drawing on decades of experience, Flint urges readers to take seriously the dilemma of near/far waters as a context for an alternative understanding of global politics.

About the author

Colin Flint, a geographer by training, is Distinguished Professor in the Department of Political Science at Utah State University. His research interests include geopolitics and peacebuilding. He is the author of Near and Far Waters: The Geopolitics of Seapower (Stanford University Press, 2024), Introduction to Geopolitics (Routledge, 4th ed. 2022), Geopolitical Constructs: The Mulberry Harbours, World War Two, and the Making of a Militarized Transatlantic (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016), and co-author, with Peter Taylor of Political Geography: World-Economy, Nation-State and Locality (Routledge, 7th ed. 2018). He is editor emeritus of the journal Geopolitics. His books have been translated into Spanish, Polish, Korean, Mandarin, Japanese and Farsi.

"Our relationship with the sea matters. The three great powers in our contemporary global order, China, Russia and United States, recognize only too well the strategic, economic, resource and symbolic importance of poles, straits and waterways. In his auditing of the potential for global war, Colin Flint proves to be a shrewd observer of the personal and pertinent."

—Klaus Dodds, author of The New Border Wars: The Conflicts That Will Define Our Future

"I share Colin Flint's frustration and concern about the (mis)use of 'geopolitics' in media and politics. I welcome his attempt to share geopolitical insights from geography with the public to raise awareness about the importance of claims on waters, near and far, in conflicts between states. This analysis is crucial for attempts to promote diplomatic solutions over military aggression."

—Virginie Mamadouh, Co-Chair of the Commission on Political Geography of the International Geographical Union (IGU-UGI)

"After decades of globalization encroaching on our lives in all manner of activities, bad old-fashioned geopolitics has suddenly jumped out in front of us bearing nuclear weapons. We all need to be informed urgently about this geopolitical turn and there is no better person to undertake this task than Colin Flint."

—Peter J. Taylor, Northumbria University

"This engaging, accessible book sheds important light on how the projection of seapower has led to war in the past, and how it may do so again in the future. Colin Flint challenges readers to broaden their thinking about geopolitics. Near and Far Waters is an eye-opening contribution to understanding one of the central threats facing the world in the twenty-first century."

—Alexander Murphy, University of Oregon

"Insightful, provocative, and crisply written, Colin Flint provides a highly accessible introduction to the importance of geopolitics and sea power. For readers concerned with understanding the historical and geographical context of contemporary world politics, this is a must-read book."

—James Tyner, Kent State University

"Colin Flint rescues geopolitics from its 19th century box. This includes a fresh take on power projection, as well as inequality, trade, innovation, and the dynamics of hegemony. Near and Far Waters offers real analytical leverage for understanding growing great power rivalry and conflict."

—Robert A. Denemark, University of Delaware