By STRATFOR | August 25, 2011
Take a good look at the image below. You'll see how a picture is not only worth a thousand words, but can explain the success of an entire nation. Crops to rivers, rivers to ports – the trade foundation of a country can be summarized in a single image. Sure it stirs up memories of Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn and the Mighty Mississippi, but this is the foundation of the US as a global power and a fascinating look at the backbone of the American economy.
We all remember junior high geography (well, some of it, anyway). But somehow it didn't cover how critical geography is in the development of a nation... and that it is, for example, the primary reason the United States became a global power. The territory of the U.S. simply comprises all the right geographic elements to make its occupants an inevitable global force. Yesterday, STRATFOR, my favorite source for geopolitical analysis of world affairs, published The Inevitable Empire, part I of a fascinating assessment of the United States. In it you'll learn how geography shaped the nation's behavior throughout history, and what it means for U.S. foreign policy today. It's a perfect example of the kind of insight STRATFOR provides that you won't find anywhere else.
August 24, 2011 | 1556 GMT
Editor’s Note: This installment on the United States, presented in three parts, is the 16th in a series of STRATFOR monographs on the geopolitics of countries influential in world affairs.
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Like nearly all of the peoples of North and South America, most Americans are not originally from the territory that became the United States. They are a diverse collection of peoples primarily from a dozen different Western European states, mixed in with smaller groups from a hundred more. All of the New World entities struggled to carve a modern nation and state out of the American continents. Brazil is an excellent case of how that struggle can be a difficult one. The United States falls on the opposite end of the spectrum.