Geopolitics Key


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Geopolitics Key

  1. 1. Geopolitics “Geopolitics may be defined, crudely, as the influence of geography upon politics: how distance and terrain and climate affect the affairs of states and men. Because of geography, for example, Athens was a thalassocracy - a sea empire - whereas Sparta was a land power.” Sir Halford Mackinder
  2. 2. What is Geopolitics?  Geopolitics       The study of power relationships past, present, and future The study of the relationship among politics and geography, demography, and economics, especially with respect to the foreign policy of a nation. A branch of political geography that considers the strategic value of land and sea area in the context of national economic and military power and ambitions The state’s power to control space or territory and shape the foreign policy of individual states and international political relations Geopolitics is concerned with how geographical factors, including territory, population, strategic location, and natural resource endowments, as modified by economics and technology, affect the relations between states and the struggle for world domination. Geopolitics is defined as a branch of geography that promises to explain the relationships between geographical realities and international affairs.
  3. 3. Friedrich Ratzel 1844-1904  Friedrich Ratzel 1844-1904, Germany  Studied the behavior of states  the state ‘resembles’ a biological organism whose life cycle extends from birth through maturity, decline and death, possibly even rebirth  state requires nourishment  nourishment is provided through acquisition of less powerful competitors’ territories and their cultural components  one could determine the general well-being of the state by regarding its size as measured according to its geographic expansion or contraction over time
  4. 4. Friedrich Ratzel 1844-1904 The organic theory holds that a nation would behave and function as an organism.  contributed to expansionist Nazi philosophies of the 1930’s  For a time after association with Nazi powers, geopolitics was a negative term; over time has emerged as a positive term 
  5. 5. Sir Halford Mackinder 1861-1947  Sir Halford Mackinder 1861-1947, Britain  Created to justify the strategic value of colonialism and explain the dynamic processes and possibilities behind the new world map created by imperialism  Theory highlighted the importance of geography to world political and economic stability and conflict  Eurasia was the most likely base from which a successful campaign for world conquest could be launched  Considered Eurasia’s closed heartland the ‘geographical pivot’, the location central to establishing world control  Maritime exploration was coming to a close, and land based transportation technology would reinstate land based powers as essential to political dominance
  6. 6. Sir Halford Mackinder 1861-1947  Envisioned the world as dominated by a global superpower  At this time, Russia controlled a large portion of the Eurasian continent protected from British sea power  Suggested that the empire of the world would be in sight if one power or a combination of powers (Russia/Germany or China/Japan) came to control the heartland He who rules East Europe commands the Heartland Who rules the Heartland commands the World Island Who rules the World Island rules the world  Originally when this was proposed it was not applicable because Russia was weak and Eastern Europe fractured. However, after the emergence of the Soviet Union and WWII, the theory was taken seriously.
  7. 7. Nicholas Spykman  Argued the Eurasian rim held the key to global power  The rimland is a fragmented zone and unlikely to fall under one superpower as the heartland might  These continental margins contained dense populations, abundant resources, and had controlling access both to the seas and to the continental interior  The rimland had tended throughout history to be politically fragmented and Spykman concluded that it would be to the advantage of both the US and USSR if it was kept that way  A divided rimland was the key to the world’s balance of power
  8. 8. Nicholas Spykman Who controls the Rimland rules Eurasia Who rules Eurasia controls the destinies of the world  2004:     Four Potential Superpowers Russia China Europe United States Post WWII: Communism and Capitalist What superpower has emerged post 9/11? What does the power arrangement look like today?