12 Pages

Introduction: thinking about space and defense


When Alfred Thayer Mahan published A History of Sea Power in 1890, he did more than link a variety of historical success stories to a single, coherent geographic theme. Though that part was important, the really enduring aspect of Mahan’s work was its impeccable timing. A History of Sea Power captured and invigorated the Zeitgeist of a rising star in world politics. Mahan was able to sort out centuries-old trends as well as dramatic reversals that marked the flow of geopolitical influence. He understood that in an age of rapid technological developments, a nation’s fortune would not be divorced from its physical and cultural geographic inheritance.