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Analysis of US Foreign Policy in Tim Marshall's ‘Prisoners of Geography’ and Stephen Chan's ‘Meditations on Diplomacy’

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In chapter 3 of Tim Marshall's ‘Prisoners of Geography’ it looks at the USA with its glorious isolated location between two oceans, exceptional river systems and development agriculture all of which led as a country with a shared language through culture to their relatively stable progress. When comparing the analyses of US foreign policy contained in Chapter 3 of ‘Prisoners of Geography’ and Chapter 2 of Stephen Chan's ‘Meditations on Diplomacy’, I have drawn down notes on how they both speak about similar things just in different perspectives. One of the first things that both authors touch base with is the expansion of US territory. With the official end of the American Revolution in 1783 under the Paris Agreement, Britain gave the new government of the United States of America the territory of the thirteen original colonies. In the next 134 years, by acquisitions, negotiations and battle, the United States gradually increased the land to the point it is now over 1917. It went from 13 colonies across the East Coast to expanding across the continent.

One of the United States first international concern was Latin America. Marshall mentions the Monroe Doctrine which President James Monroe adopted the Monroe Doctrine in his yearly address to the Congress for the first time in 1823. The doctrine was the main foreign policy text of the United States that proclaimed the western hemisphere locked to invasion or interference in Europe. Some violations of the Monroe Doctrine will endanger the USA. The Monroe Doctrine had a strong effect on the relations between the US and Latin American countries in terms of foreign policy. It has had a positive effect in Latin America, such as Mexico, because the US has requested that Spain abandon the US alone based on its isolationist stance. But it had a bad effect on Spain since, through conflicts with other nations, America no longer supported or helped them with soldiers. The Monroe doctrine, paradoxically, defended both the circulating ideas which the United States had at that period and the land disputes which often resulted from such thoughts. While the Monroe Doctrine was formulated for Europe's defense in Latin America, it also represented the best interests of America.

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In both chapters, it was also mentioned of isolation of founders. Marshall quoted George Washington in his presidential farewell which urged US people to see themselves as a unit of coherence to avoid political parties and cautioned against links and relations.

In ‘Meditations and Diplomacy’ one question that arises is rather the United States will think before they act in terms of the cost and benefits of multilateralism. While thinking about this question I remember reading a article which spoke about the purpose of multilateralism. Multilateralism is growing in turmoil throughout the world. The West remains cynical about the benefits of a multilateral order based on the fundamental liberal principles. The USA, the flawed pillar of the scheme, disregards every day an increasing number of multilateral institutions and norms. Throughout Europe, beyond the willingness of the supranational alliance to operate internationally, Brexit and uncertainty about the nature of the European Union is fracturing the EU as a multilateral international foundation. At the same moment, China and Russia are more dedicated to restructuring their multilateralism, questioning the fundamental liberal principles that have dominated the multilateral post-Cold War (Brookings).

I could relater their analysis to concessions, constraints, and repression. In concessions, if people could convince others that the United States could be supported and thrive together rather than have them view us as their enemy we could progress in numerous ways. When I think about the word constraints, it takes me back to the farewell letter of Washington where he is implementing that we should not have alliances, therefore making us more isolated than what already were to begin with. How do we get further ahead when we are not growing together as a whole, and presume to be better than other countries? There should be no such thing as intruders in world politics, because we all have different perspectives on different world-wide problems. On the contrary, this might better us since we would have a broader image of how we could better ourselves through the economy, society, and politics in a civilized manner. The policy of State Repression that seeks to restrict, hinder or monitor its development is undermining inter-social diplomacy. Even against aggressive businessmen, this desperate conduct is seldom effective. On the opposite, it encourages within communities’ conflicts, alienation and even embarrassment and provides incentives for more revolutionary programs. There can be no circumvention of the social origins of a non-state individual, radiation.

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Analysis of US Foreign Policy in Tim Marshall’s ‘Prisoners of Geography’ and Stephen Chan’s ‘Meditations on Diplomacy’. (2022, August 25). Edubirdie. Retrieved December 9, 2023, from
“Analysis of US Foreign Policy in Tim Marshall’s ‘Prisoners of Geography’ and Stephen Chan’s ‘Meditations on Diplomacy’.” Edubirdie, 25 Aug. 2022,
Analysis of US Foreign Policy in Tim Marshall’s ‘Prisoners of Geography’ and Stephen Chan’s ‘Meditations on Diplomacy’. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 9 Dec. 2023].
Analysis of US Foreign Policy in Tim Marshall’s ‘Prisoners of Geography’ and Stephen Chan’s ‘Meditations on Diplomacy’ [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Aug 25 [cited 2023 Dec 9]. Available from:
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