Download Concrete Revolution: Large Dams, Cold War Geopolitics, and by Christopher Sneddon PDF

By Christopher Sneddon

Water could appear risk free, yet as a common necessity, it unavoidably intersects with politics by way of acquisition, regulate, and linked applied sciences. whereas we all know greatly concerning the socioecological charges and merits of recent dams, we all know a long way much less approximately their political origins and ramifications. In Concrete Revolution, Christopher Sneddon deals a corrective: a compelling historic account of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s contributions to block know-how, chilly struggle politics, and the social and environmental adversity perpetuated by way of the united states executive in its pursuit of financial progress and geopolitical power.

Founded in 1902, the Bureau turned enmeshed within the US kingdom Department’s push for geopolitical strength following international conflict II, a reaction to the Soviet Union’s expanding international sway. by means of providing technical and water source administration recommendation to the world’s underdeveloped areas, the Bureau came upon that it will possibly not just offer them with fiscal counsel and the USA with funding possibilities, but in addition forge alliances and shore up a country’s international status within the face of burgeoning communist effect. Drawing on a couple of foreign case studies—from the Bureau’s early forays into in another country improvement and the release of its international actions place of work in 1950 to the Blue Nile research in Ethiopia—Concrete Revolution deals insights into this historical damming growth, with important implications for the current. If, Sneddon argues, we will be able to comprehend dams as either technical and political items instead of tools of neutral technology, we will be able to greater perform present debates approximately huge dams and river basin making plans.

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Extra info for Concrete Revolution: Large Dams, Cold War Geopolitics, and the US Bureau of Reclamation

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35 John Savage entered China and the graces of the Nationalist government during a period of extended turmoil involving a global war, internal civil strife, and a highly volatile institutional setting. 36 Broadly, the US government throughout the 1930s and 1940s was intent on maintaining overt support for Chiang Kai-shek and his Nationalist Kuomintang party while preserving liaisons with the Communists at their base in Yenan Province. 37 Savage was invited to China under the auspices of the Cultural Cooperation Program of the State Department, which had for several years initiated a series of activities designed to promote cooperation and mutual understanding on the part of Chinese and American societies, accomplished in part through an exchange program of experts in different technical fields.

2). This stretch of the Yangtze, situated near the city of Ichang in the province of Hubei, had long been seen by Chinese leaders as a resource of tremendous development potential. As early as 1919 Sun Yat-Sen had identified this part of the Yangtze as an ideal site for a dam that could provide both hydroelectricity and flood control. 3. Artist’s rendition of the Yangtze Gorge Dam as envisioned in John L. Savage’s report, 1945. Courtesy of National Archives, Denver, Colorado. reaches of the river are mountainous and characterized by deep canyons of a kind that for Savage must have recalled the Colorado River.

Before the late 1930s, however, the Bureau’s international activities were quite limited, particularly given the irresolute nature of its domestic program during the first two decades of its existence. While its engineers succeeded in several major public works achievements that represented technical innovation of the highest order, the Bureau confronted financial hardships and reluctant support from the US Congress. 6 Still, the Bureau’s growing reputation in irrigation techniques led to short-term collaborations with counterparts in Australia and South Africa in the 1910s and 1920s as well as several advisory visits to Mexico in the middle of the 1920s to assist in the creation of a water resource agency for developing the country’s arid lands through reclamation programs.

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