Presentation given to a class of UMN alumni, as one lecture in a prospective class on contemporary global issues.
Please note that images and text used in this powerpoint were taken from the internet but have not been cited in this version.
What is Geopolitics?
Definition: politics, especially international relations, as influenced by geographical
Your geographical location in the world is responsible for political, economic and military relations
with your neighbors, regional powers and the international system.
• Immensely complex – the more you research, the more
complex it becomes.
• Depends on politico-economic interests
EVERYBODY ACTS FORTHEIR OWN
• There is national and cultural memory – grievances are not
Recent Example UKRAINE!
Nov. 2013: Ukraine's president,ViktorYanukovych, faced two choices:
1. Sign long-term, initially painful deal with EU to increase integration and trade, OR
2. Take $15bn loan from Russia and move toward a "Eurasian Union", with Belarus, Kazakhstan and
• Widespread protests, in Dec.2013. By Feb.2014 President fled to Russia.
• Russia sent soldiers in February 2014.
Why did they do it?
Russian business newspaper Kommersant estimates the costs of integrating Crimea into Russia is $30
billion over the next decade, i.e. $3 billion per year.
Russia gets to control the area surrounding the Black Sea (nearly 3 times that of Crimea) - access to oil
and gas reserves, BILLIONS of dollars!
Recent Example UKRAINE!
The North Atlantic
remnant of the Cold
Rise of Islamic radical
Saudi Billionaire –
formation of Al Qaeda
From 1980 - 1988: Iraq vs. Iran War (ColdWar)
1990 - 1991: First Iraq War
1991 - 2003: Sanctions and grievances
2003 (March - May ): Second Iraq War
2003 - 2008: Internal strife and state collapse
2008 - 2014: Insurgency and sectarian war
• April ’09: 1,200 killed
• Oct ’13: 900 killed
2014 - Present: power vacuum;
rise of Daesh (ISIS)
Minority Sunni in power;
U.S. led invasion to
From 1960 - 1980: Contentions
with Lebanon and Israel
1980s: Supported Iran against Iraq
1991: Supported U.S. action against Iraq
2003: President Bush brandish Syria as one of the
“axis of evil”
2007: Good relations with U.S, Europe & Iraq
March 2011: Protests is Daraa, violent
July 2011: Unrest in Homs, violent suppression
2012 - 2013: Escalation of violence nationally,
tensions withTurkey, Israel and global
Dec. 2013: State collapse; power vacuum;
rise of Daesh
• 21st is the Global Century, not the
American or Chinese.
• Complexity of the global system
requires leadership of all major and
regional powers to keep world peace.
• U.S. (+ EU) challenged to apply military
& economic power to international
recognize their limitations and
responsibilities inherent in the exercise
Each of the 45 black dots is a U.S.
• What is it?
• Islamic perspective about radical groups
• How pervasive is it?
• Causal Factors
• Religious understanding of radicalization
• The Solution