The processes of globalisation, informationalisation and the end of the Cold War have wrought many changes in the conceptualisation and practice of geopolitics. During the Cold War, the discourse of threats and risks was predominantly a territorial one and, while this practice persists in ‘rogue state’ rhetoric, a discourse of ‘deterritorial threats’ and ‘global dangers’ has become much more salient in US foreign policy conceptualisations and strategy. This paper interprets this discourse within the terms of Ulrich Beck’s theorisation of ‘risk society’, particularly his notion of reflexive modernisation. It concludes by highlighting some general contradictions in the reflexive modernization of geopolitical threats and risks by Cold War era bureaucracies.