Geopolitical Fears, Geoeconomic Hopes, and the Responsibilities of Geography


Correspondence: Department of Geography, Box 353550, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, e-mail:


Geographers have a responsibility to examine persistently, collaboratively, and critically the geographical grounds of hope and fear. We can help debunk false hopes and groundless fears, and in so doing we can also advance more sensible hopes based on more embodied and accountable experiences of fear. The case of the Iraq war shows how the groundless geopolitical fears about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and Al Qaeda connections were combined with equally groundless geoeconomic hopes about making the middle of the Middle East into a bastion of peace and freedom through free-market reforms. These geopolitical and geoeconomic discourses were imagined as part of a foreign policy of accumulation by dispossession. Other, more grounded accounts of the real fears created by dispossession can lead instead to more realistically hopeful geographies of repossession.