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Keywords:

  • Pakistan;
  • Mexico;
  • United States;
  • war;
  • borderlands;
  • cyberspace

Much of the discussion of 9/11 has debated its historical significance, but it is equally important to explore the geographical dimensions of the wars that have been conducted in its shadows. Subsequent transformations in the American way of war have played a major role in the increased militarisation of the planet. Most attention has been focused on Afghanistan and Iraq as the principal theatres of the ‘war on terror’, but one of the characteristics of late modern war is the emergent, ‘event-ful’ quality of military, paramilitary and terrorist violence that can, in principle, occur anywhere. Vulnerabilities are differentially distributed but widely dispersed, and in consequence late modern war is being changed by the slippery spaces through which it is conducted. This paper explores three global borderlands to bring those changes into focus: Afghanistan–Pakistan (particularly the deployment of CIA-controlled drones in Pakistan), US–Mexico (particularly the expansion of Mexico's ‘drug war’ and the US militarisation of the border), and cyberspace (particularly the role of stealth attacks on critical infrastructure and the formation of US Cyber Command).