Geopolitics (from Greek γῆ gê "earth, land" and πολιτική politikḗ "politics") is the study of the effects of geography (human and physical) on politics and international relations. While geopolitics usually refers to countries and relations between them, it may also focus on two other kinds of states: de facto independent states with limited international recognition and; relations between sub-national geopolitical entities, such as the federated states that make up a federation, confederation or a quasi-federal system.
At the level of international relations, geopolitics is a method of studying foreign policy to understand, explain and predict international political behavior through geographical variables. These include area studies, climate, topography, demography, natural resources, and applied science of the region being evaluated.
Geopolitics focuses on political power linked to geographic space. In particular, territorial waters and land territory in correlation with diplomatic history. Topics of geopolitics include relations between the interests of international political actors and interests focused within an area, a space, or a geographical element; relations which create a geopolitical system. "Critical geopolitics" deconstructs classical geopolitical theories, by showing their political/ideological functions for great powers.
According to Christopher Gogwilt and other researchers, the term is currently being used to describe a broad spectrum of concepts, in a general sense used as "a synonym for international political relations", but more specifically "to imply the global structure of such relations", which builds on "early-twentieth-century term for a pseudoscience of political geography" and other pseudoscientific theories of historical and geographic determinism.
Oil and international competition over oil and gas resources was one of the main foci of the geopolitics literature from World War and onward. From about 2010, a new branch of the literature emerged, focusing on international power relations related to renewable energy.
Alfred Thayer Mahan (1840–1914), a frequent commentator on world naval strategic and diplomatic affairs, believed that national greatness was inextricably associated with the sea—and particularly with its commercial use in peace and its control in war. Mahan's theoretical framework came from Antoine-Henri Jomini, and emphasized that strategic locations (such as chokepoints, canals, and coaling stations), as well as quantifiable levels of fighting power in a fleet, were conducive to control over the sea. He proposed six conditions required for a nation to have sea power:
Mahan distinguished a key region of the world in the Eurasian context, namely, the Central Zone of Asia lying between 30° and 40° north and stretching from Asia Minor to Japan. In this zone independent countries still survived – Turkey, Persia, Afghanistan, China, and Japan. Mahan regarded those countries, located between Britain and Russia, as if between "Scylla and Charybdis". Of the two monsters – Britain and Russia – it was the latter that Mahan considered more threatening to the fate of Central Asia. Mahan was impressed by Russia's transcontinental size and strategically favorable position for southward expansion. Therefore, he found it necessary for the Anglo-Saxon "sea power" to resist Russia.
Homer Lea in The Day of the Saxon (1912) described that the entire Anglo-Saxon race faced a threat from German (Teuton), Russian (Slav), and Japanese expansionism: The "fatal" relationship of Russia, Japan, and Germany "has now assumed through the urgency of natural forces a coalition directed against the survival of Saxon supremacy." It is "a dreadful Dreibund". Lea believed that while Japan moved against Far East and Russia against India, the Germans would strike at England, the center of the British Empire. He thought the Anglo-Saxons faced certain disaster from their militant opponents.
Two famous Security Advisers from the Cold War period, Henry Kissinger and Zbigniew Brzezinski, argued to continue the United States geopolitical focus on Eurasia and, particularly on Russia, despite the dissolution of the USSR and the end of the Cold War. Both continued their influence on geopolitics after the end of the Cold War, writing books on the subject in the 1990s—Diplomacy (Kissinger 1994) and The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives. The Anglo-American classical geopolitical theories were revived.
Kissinger argued against the approach that with the dissolution of the USSR hostile intentions had disappeared and traditional foreign policy considerations no longer applied. "They would argue … that Russia, regardless of who govern it, sits astride the territory Halford Mackinder called the geopolitical heartland, and is the heir to one of the most potent imperial traditions." Therefore the United States must "maintain the global balance of power vis-à-vis the country with a long history of expansionism."
After Russia, the second geopolitical threat remained Germany and, as Mackinder had feared ninety years ago, its partnership with Russia. During the Cold War, Kissinger argues, both sides of the Atlantic recognized that, "unless America is organically involved in Europe, it would be obliged to involve itself later under circumstances far less favorable to both sides of the Atlantic. That is even more true today. Germany has become so strong that existing European institutions cannot by themselves strike a balance between Germany and its European partners. Nor can Europe, even with Germany, manage by itself […] Russia." Thus Kissinger belied it is in no country's interest that Germany and Russia should fixate on each other as a principal partner. They would raise fears of condominium. Without America, Britain and France cannot cope with Germany and Russia; and "without Europe, America could turn … into an island off the shores of Eurasia."
Spykman's vision of Eurasia was strongly confirmed: "Geopolitically, America is an island off the shores of the large landmass of Eurasia, whose resources and population far exceed those of the United States. The domination by a single power of either of Eurasia's two principal spheres—Europe and Asia—remains a good definition of strategic danger for America. Cold War or no Cold War. For such a grouping would have the capacity to outstrip America economically and, in the end, militarily. That danger would have to be resisted even were the dominant power apparently benevolent, for if the intentions ever changed, America would find itself with a grossly diminished capacity for effective resistance and a growing inability to shape events." The main interest of the American leaders is maintaining the balance of power in Eurasia
Having converted from ideologist into geopolitician, Kissinger in retrospect interpreted the Cold War in geopolitical terms—an approach not characteristic for his works during the Cold War. Now, however, he stressed on the beginning of the Cold War: "The objective of moral opposition to Communism had merged with the geopolitical task of containing the Soviet expansion." Nixon, he added, was geopolitical rather than ideological cold warrior.
Three years after Kissinger's Diplomacy, Brzezinski followed suit, launching The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives and, after three more years, The Geostrategic Triad: Living with China, Europe, and Russia. The Grand Chessboard described the American triumph in the Cold War in terms of control over Eurasia: for the first time ever, a "non-Eurasian" power had emerged as a key arbiter of "Eurasian" power relations. The book states its purpose: "The formulation of a comprehensive and integrated Eurasian geostrategy is therefore the purpose of this book." Although the power configuration underwent a revolutionary change, Brzezinski confirmed three years later, Eurasia was still a megacontinent. Like Spykman, Brzezinski acknowledges that: "Cumulatively, Eurasia's power vastly overshadows America's."
In classical Spykman terms, Brzezinski formulized his geostrategic "chessboard" doctrine of Eurasia, which aims to prevent the unification of this megacontinent.
"Europe and Asia are politically and economically powerful…. It follows that… American foreign policy must…employ its influence in Eurasia in a manner that creates a stable continental equilibrium, with the United States as the political arbiter.… Eurasia is thus the chessboard on which the struggle for global primacy continues to be played, and that struggle involves geo- strategy – the strategic management of geopolitical interests…. But in the meantime it is imperative that no Eurasian challenger emerges, capable of dominating Eurasia and thus also of challenging America… For America the chief geopolitical prize is Eurasia…and America's global primacy is directly dependent on how long and how effectively its preponderance on the Eurasian continent is sustained."
The Austro-Hungarian historian Emil Reich (1854–1910) is considered to be the first having coined the acceptance in English as early as 1902 and later published in England in 1904 in his book Foundations of Modern Europe.
Sir Halford Mackinder's Heartland Theory initially received little attention outside geography, but some thinkers would claim that it subsequently influenced the foreign policies of world powers. Those scholars who look to MacKinder through critical lenses accept him as an organic strategist who tried to build a foreign policy vision for Britain with his Eurocentric analysis of historical geography. His formulation of the Heartland Theory was set out in his article entitled "The Geographical Pivot of History", published in England in 1904. Mackinder's doctrine of geopolitics involved concepts diametrically opposed to the notion of Alfred Thayer Mahan about the significance of navies (he coined the term sea power) in world conflict. He saw navy as a basis of Colombian era empire (roughly from 1492 to the 19th century), and predicted the 20th century to be domain of land power. The Heartland theory hypothesized a huge empire being brought into existence in the Heartland—which wouldn't need to use coastal or transoceanic transport to remain coherent. The basic notions of Mackinder's doctrine involve considering the geography of the Earth as being divided into two sections: the World Island or Core, comprising Eurasia and Africa; and the Peripheral "islands", including the Americas, Australia, Japan, the British Isles, and Oceania. Not only was the Periphery noticeably smaller than the World Island, it necessarily required much sea transport to function at the technological level of the World Island—which contained sufficient natural resources for a developed economy.
Mackinder posited that the industrial centers of the Periphery were necessarily located in widely separated locations. The World Island could send its navy to destroy each one of them in turn, and could locate its own industries in a region further inland than the Periphery (so they would have a longer struggle reaching them, and would face a well-stocked industrial bastion). Mackinder called this region the Heartland. It essentially comprised Central and Eastern Europe: Ukraine, Western Russia, and Mitteleuropa. The Heartland contained the grain reserves of Ukraine, and many other natural resources. Mackinder's notion of geopolitics was summed up when he said:
Who rules Central and Eastern Europe commands the Heartland. Who rules the Heartland commands the World-Island. Who rules the World-Island commands the World.
Nicholas J. Spykman is both a follower and critic of geostrategists Alfred Mahan, and Halford Mackinder. His work is based on assumptions similar to Mackinder's, including the unity of world politics and the world sea. He extends this to include the unity of the air. Spykman adopts Mackinder's divisions of the world, renaming some:
Under Spykman's theory, a Rimland separates the Heartland from ports that are usable throughout the year (that is, not frozen up during winter). Spykman suggested this required that attempts by Heartland nations (particularly Russia) to conquer ports in the Rimland must be prevented. Spykman modified Mackinder's formula on the relationship between the Heartland and the Rimland (or the inner crescent), claiming that "Who controls the rimland rules Eurasia. Who rules Eurasia controls the destinies of the world." This theory can be traced in the origins of Containment, a U.S. policy on preventing the spread of Soviet influence after World War II (see also Truman Doctrine).
Another famous follower of Mackinder was Karl Haushofer who called Mackinder's Geographical Pivot of History a "genius' scientific tractate." He commented on it: "Never have I seen anything greater than those few pages of geopolitical masterwork." Mackinder located his Pivot, in the words of Haushofer, on "one of the first solid, geopolitically and geographically irreproachable maps, presented to one of the earliest scientific forums of the planet – the Royal Geographic Society in London" Haushofer adopted both Mackinder's Heartland thesis and his view of the Russian-German alliance – powers that Mackinder saw as the major contenders for control of Eurasia in the twentieth century. Following Mackinder he suggested an alliance with the Soviet Union and, advancing a step beyond Mackinder, added Japan to his design of the Eurasian Bloc.
In 2004, at the centenary of The Geographical Pivot of History, famous Historian Paul Kennedy wrote: "Right now with hundreds of thousands of US troops in the Eurasian rimlands and with administration constantly explaining why it has to stay the course, it looks as if Washington is taking seriously Mackinder's injunction to ensure control of the geographical pivot of history."
German Geopolitik is characterized by the belief that life of States—being similar to those of human beings and animals—is shaped by scientific determinism and social Darwinism. German geopolitics develops the concept of Lebensraum (living space) that is thought to be necessary to the development of a nation like a favorable natural environment would be for animals.
Friedrich Ratzel (1844–1904), influenced by thinkers such as Darwin and zoologist Ernst Heinrich Haeckel, contributed to 'Geopolitik' by the expansion on the biological conception of geography, without a static conception of borders. Positing that states are organic and growing, with borders representing only a temporary stop in their movement, he held that the expanse of a state's borders is a reflection of the health of the nation—meaning that static countries are in decline. Ratzel published several papers, among which was the essay "Lebensraum" (1901) concerning biogeography. Ratzel created a foundation for the German variant of geopolitics, geopolitik. Influenced by the American geostrategist Alfred Thayer Mahan, Ratzel wrote of aspirations for German naval reach, agreeing that sea power was self-sustaining, as the profit from trade would pay for the merchant marine, unlike land power.
The geopolitical theory of Ratzel has been criticized as being too sweeping, and his interpretation of human history and geography being too simple and mechanistic. Critically, he also underestimated the importance of social organization in the development of power.
After World War I, the thoughts of Rudolf Kjellén and Ratzel were picked up and extended by a number of German authors such as Karl Haushofer (1869–1946), Erich Obst, Hermann Lautensach and Otto Maull. In 1923, Karl Haushofer founded the Zeitschrift für Geopolitik (Journal for Geopolitics), which was later used in the propaganda of Nazi Germany. The key concepts of Haushofer's Geopolitik were Lebensraum, autarky, pan-regions, and organic borders. States have, Haushofer argued, an undeniable right to seek natural borders which would guarantee autarky.
Haushofer's influence within the Nazi Party has recently been challenged, given that Haushofer failed to incorporate the Nazis' racial ideology into his work. Popular views of the role of geopolitics in the Nazi Third Reich suggest a fundamental significance on the part of the geo-politicians in the ideological orientation of the Nazi state. Bassin (1987) reveals that these popular views are in important ways misleading and incorrect.
Despite the numerous similarities and affinities between the two doctrines, geopolitics was always held suspect by the National Socialist ideologists. This was understandable, for the underlying philosophical orientation of geopolitics did not comply with that of National Socialism. Geopolitics shared Ratzel's scientific materialism and geographic determinism, and held that human society was determined by external influences—in the face of which qualities held innately by individuals or groups were of reduced or no significance. National Socialism rejected in principle both materialism and determinism and also elevated innate human qualities, in the form of a hypothesized 'racial character,' to the factor of greatest significance in the constitution of human society. These differences led after 1933 to friction and ultimately to open denunciation of geopolitics by Nazi ideologues. Nevertheless, German Geopolitik was discredited by its (mis)use in Nazi expansionist policy of World War II and has never achieved standing comparable to the pre-war period.
The resultant negative association, particularly in U.S. academic circles, between classical geopolitics and Nazi or imperialist ideology, is based on loose justifications. This has been observed in particular by critics of contemporary academic geography, and proponents of a "neo"-classical geopolitics in particular. These include Haverluk et al., who argue that the stigmatization of geopolitics in academia is unhelpful as geopolitics as a field of positivist inquiry maintains potential in researching and resolving topical, often politicized issues such as conflict resolution and prevention, and mitigating climate change.
Negative associations with the term "geopolitics" and its practical application stemming from its association with World War II and pre-World War II German scholars and students of Geopolitics are largely specific to the field of academic Geography, and especially sub-disciplines of Human Geography such as Political Geography. However, this negative association is not as strong in disciplines such as History or Political Science, which make use of geopolitical concepts. Classical Geopolitics forms an important element of analysis for Military History as well as for subdisciplines of Political Science such as International Relations and Security Studies. This difference in disciplinary perspectives is addressed by Bert Chapman in Geopolitics: A Guide To the Issues, in which Chapman makes note that academic and professional International Relations journals are more amenable to the study and analysis of Geopolitics, and in particular Classical Geopolitics, than contemporary academic journals in the field of Political Geography.
In disciplines outside Geography, Geopolitics is not negatively viewed (as it often is among academic geographers such as Carolyn Gallaher or Klaus Dodds) as a tool of Imperialism or associated with Nazism, but rather viewed as a valid and consistent manner of assessing major international geopolitical circumstances and events, not necessarily related to armed conflict or military operations.
French geopolitical doctrines broadly opposed to German Geopolitik and reject the idea of a fixed geography. French geography is focused on the evolution of polymorphic territories being the result of mankind's actions. It also relies on the consideration of long time periods through a refusal to take specific events into account. This method has been theorized by Professor Lacoste according to three principles: Representation; Diachronie; and Diatopie.
In The Spirit of the Laws, Montesquieu outlined the view that man and societies are influenced by climate. He believed that hotter climates create hot-tempered people and colder climates aloof people, whereas the mild climate of France is ideal for political systems. Considered as one of the founders of French geopolitics, Élisée Reclus, is the author of a book considered as a reference in modern geography (Nouvelle Géographie universelle). Alike Ratzel, he considers geography through a global vision. However, in complete opposition to Ratzel's vision, Reclus considers geography not to be unchanging; it is supposed to evolve commensurately to the development of human society. His marginal political views resulted in his rejection by academia.
French geographer and geopolitician Jacques Ancel is considered to be the first theoretician of geopolitics in France, and gave a notable series of lectures at the European Center of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Paris and published Géopolitique in 1936. Like Reclus, Ancel rejects German determinist views on geopolitics (including Haushofer's doctrines).
Braudel's broad view used insights from other social sciences, employed the concept of the longue durée, and downplayed the importance of specific events. This method was inspired by the French geographer Paul Vidal de la Blache (who in turn was influenced by German thought, particularly that of Friedrich Ratzel whom he had met in Germany). Braudel's method was to analyse the interdependence between individuals and their environment. Vidalian geopolitics is based on varied forms of cartography and on possibilism (founded on a societal approach of geography—i.e. on the principle of spaces polymorphic faces depending from many factors among them mankind, culture, and ideas) as opposed to determinism.
Due to the influence of German Geopolitik on French geopolitics, the latter were for a long time banished from academic works. In the mid-1970s, Yves Lacoste—a French geographer who was directly inspired by Ancel, Braudel and Vidal de la Blache—wrote La géographie, ça sert d'abord à faire la guerre (Geography first use is war) in 1976. This book—which is very famous in France—symbolizes the birth of this new school of geopolitics (if not so far the first French school of geopolitics as Ancel was very isolated in the 1930s–40s). Initially linked with communist party evolved to a less liberal approach. At the end of the 1980s he founded the Institut Français de Géopolitique (French Institute for Geopolitics) that publishes the Hérodote revue. While rejecting the generalizations and broad abstractions employed by the German and Anglo-American traditions (and the new geographers), this school does focus on spatial dimension of geopolitics affairs on different levels of analysis. This approach emphazises the importance of multi-level (or multi-scales) analysis and maps at the opposite of critical geopolitics which avoid such tools. Lacoste proposed that every conflict (both local or global) can be considered from a perspective grounded in three assumptions:
Connected with this stream, and former member of Hérodote editorial board, the French geographer Michel Foucher developed a long term analysis of international borders. He coined various neologism among them: Horogenesis: Neologism that describes the concept of studying the birth of borders, Dyade: border shared by two neighbouring states (for instance US territory has two terrestrial dyades : one with Canada and one with Mexico). The main book of this searcher "Fronts et frontières" (Fronts and borders) first published in 1991, without equivalent remains as of yet untranslated in English. Michel Foucher is an expert of the African Union for borders affairs.
More or less connected with this school, Stéphane Rosière can be quoted as the editor in Chief of the online journal L'Espace politique, this journal created in 2007 became the most prominent French journal of political geography and Geopolitics with Hérodote.
A much more conservative stream is personified by François Thual. Thual was a French expert in geopolitics, and a former official of the Ministry of Civil Defence. Thual taught geopolitics of the religions at the French War College, and has written thirty books devoted mainly to geopolitical method and its application to various parts of the world. He is particularly interested in the Orthodox, Shiite, and Buddhist religions, and in troubled regions like the Caucasus. Connected with F. Thual, Aymeric Chauprade, former professor of geopolitics at the French War College and now member of the extreme-right party "Front national", subscribes to a supposed "new" French school of geopolitics which advocates above all a return to realpolitik and "clash of civilization" (Huntington). The thought of this school is expressed through the French Review of Geopolitics (headed by Chauprade) and the International Academy of Geopolitics. Chauprade is a supporter of a Europe of nations, he advocates a European Union excluding Turkey, and a policy of compromise with Russia (in the frame of a Eurasian alliance which is en vogue among European extreme-right politists) and supports the idea of a multipolar world—including a balanced relationship between China and the U.S.
In the 1990s a senior researcher at the Institute of Philosophy, Russian Academy of Sciences of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Vadim Tsymbursky (1957-2009), coined the term "island-Russia" and developed the "Great Limitrophe" concept.
Colonel-General Leonid Ivashov (retired), a Russian geopolitics specialist of the early 21st century, headed the Academy of Geopolitical Problems (Russian: Академия геополитических проблем), which analyzes the international and domestic situations and develops geopolitical doctrine. Earlier, Colonel-General Leonid Ivashov headed the Main Directorate for International Military Cooperation of the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation.
Vladimir Karyakin, Leading Researcher at the Russian Institute of Strategic Studies, has proposed the term "geopolitics of the third wave".
Aleksandr Dugin, a Russian fascist and nationalist who has developed a close relationship with Russia's Academy of the General Staff wrote "The Foundations of Geopolitics: The Geopolitical Future of Russia" in 1997, which has had a large influence within the Russian military, police, and foreign policy elites.
Antártica Chilena Province (Spanish: Provincia de la Antártica Chilena) is the southernmost and one of four provinces in Chile's southernmost region, Magallanes and Antártica Chilena Region (XII). The capital is Puerto Williams. The province comprises the extreme southern part of Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego (south of the Cordillera Darwin), the islands south and west of Isla Grande (Diego Ramírez Islands), and Chile's claims in Antarctica. The province is administratively divided into two communes (comunas): Cabo de Hornos, located at the southern tip of South America, and Antártica, a wedge-shaped claim of Antarctica, which is not internationally recognized. Its total area of 1,265,853.7 km2 (488,749 sq mi) makes it almost twice as large as all other provinces of Chile combined.Brazilian Antarctica
Brazilian Antarctica (Portuguese: Antártida Brasileira or Antártica Brasileira) is the name of the Antarctic territory south of 60°S, and from 28°W to 53°W, proposed as "Zone of Interest" by geopolitical scholar Therezinha de Castro. While the substance of that designation has never been precisely defined, it does not formally contradict the Argentine and British claims geographically overlapping with that zone (the zone shares a border but does not overlap with the Chilean Antarctic Territory to its west). The country formally expressed its reservations with respect to its territorial rights in Antarctica when it acceded to the Antarctic Treaty on 16 May 1975, making the first official mention of the Frontage Theory, which states (simplified) that sovereignty over each point in Antarctica properly belongs to the first country whose non-Antarctic territory one would reach when travelling north in a straight line from such a point. The Frontage Theory (Teoria da Defrontação) was proposed by Brazilian geopolitical scholar Therezinha de Castro and published in her book Antártica: Teoria da Defrontação.
Outside the zone of interest, Brazil maintains a permanent staffed research facility, the Comandante Ferraz Brazilian Antarctic Base (UN/LOCODE: AQ-CFZ), located in Admiralty Bay, King George Island, near the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, at 62°08′S 58°40′W. The peninsula is the northernmost, most accessible, and warmest part of the Antarctic continent, and a number of countries therefore have research bases located on it.Client state
A client state is a state that is economically, politically, or militarily subordinate to another more powerful state (termed controlling state in this article) in international affairs. Types of client states include: satellite state, associated state, puppet state, neo-colony, protectorate, vassal state, and tributary state.Critical geopolitics
The basic concept behind critical geopolitics is that intellectuals of statecraft construct ideas about places; these ideas have influence and reinforce their political behaviors and policy choices, and these ideas affect how we, the people, process our own notions of places and politics.Critical geopolitics sees the geopolitical as comprising four linked facets: popular geopolitics, formal geopolitics, structural geopolitics, and practical geopolitics. Critical geopolitical scholarship continues to engage critically with questions surrounding geopolitical discourses, geopolitical practice (i.e. foreign policy), and the history of geopolitics.Energy superpower
An energy superpower is a country that supplies large amounts of energy resources (crude oil, natural gas, coal, uranium, etc.) to a significant number of other countries, and therefore has the potential to influence world markets to gain a political or economic advantage. Russia has been described as an energy superpower, as have Saudi Arabia, Canada, Venezuela, and Iran. The United States is said to be a potential energy superpower because of its large shale gas reserves.Energy superpower status might be exercised, for example, by significantly influencing the price on global markets, or by withholding supplies. The status of "energy superpower" should not be confused with that of "superpower".Eurasia
Eurasia is the combined continental landmass of Europe and Asia. The term is a portmanteau of its constituent continents (Europe and Asia). Located primarily in the Northern and Eastern Hemispheres, it is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the west, the Pacific Ocean to the east, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and by Africa, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Indian Ocean to the south. The division between Europe and Asia as two different continents is a historical social construct, with no clear physical separation between them; thus, in some parts of the world, Eurasia is recognized as the largest of the six, five, or even four continents on Earth. In geology, Eurasia is often considered as a single rigid megablock. However, the rigidity of Eurasia is debated based on paleomagnetic data.Eurasia covers around 55,000,000 square kilometres (21,000,000 sq mi), or around 36.2% of the Earth's total land area. The landmass contains well over 5 billion people, equating to approximately 70% of the human population. Humans first settled in Eurasia between 60,000 and 125,000 years ago. Some major islands, including Great Britain, Iceland, and Ireland, and those of Japan, the Philippines and Indonesia, are often included under the popular definition of Eurasia, in spite of being separate from the contiguous landmass.
Physiographically, Eurasia is a single continent. The concepts of Europe and Asia as distinct continents date back to antiquity and their borders are geologically arbitrary. In ancient times the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara, along with their associated straits, were seen as separating the continents, but today the Ural and Caucasus ranges are more seen as the main delimiters between the two. Eurasia is connected to Africa at the Suez Canal, and Eurasia is sometimes combined with Africa to make the largest contiguous landmass on Earth called Afro-Eurasia. Due to the vast landmass and differences in latitude, Eurasia exhibits all types of climate under the Köppen classification, including the harshest types of hot and cold temperatures, high and low precipitation and various types of ecosystems.Fin de siècle
Fin de siècle (French pronunciation: [fɛ̃ də sjɛkl]) is a French term meaning end of century, a term which typically encompasses both the meaning of the similar English idiom turn of the century and also makes reference to the closing of one era and onset of another. The term is typically used to refer to the end of the 19th century. This period was widely thought to be a period of degeneration, but at the same time a period of hope for a new beginning. The "spirit" of fin de siècle often refers to the cultural hallmarks that were recognized as prominent in the 1880s and 1890s, including ennui, cynicism, pessimism, and "...a widespread belief that civilization leads to decadence."The term "fin de siècle" is commonly applied to French art and artists, as the traits of the culture first appeared there, but the movement affected many European countries. The term becomes applicable to the sentiments and traits associated with the culture, as opposed to focusing solely on the movement's initial recognition in France. The ideas and concerns developed by fin de siècle artists provided the impetus for movements such as symbolism and modernism.The themes of fin de siècle political culture were very controversial and have been cited as a major influence on fascism and as a generator of the science of geopolitics, including the theory of lebensraum. Professor of Historical Geography at the University of Nottingham, Michael Heffernan, and Mackubin Thomas Owens wrote about the origins of geopolitics: "The idea that this project required a new name in 1899 reflected a widespread belief that the changes taking place in the global economic and political system were seismically important." The "new world of the Twentieth century would need to be understood in its entirety, as an integrated global whole." Technology and global communication made the world "smaller" and turned into a single system; the time was characterized by pan-ideas and a utopian "one-worldism", proceeding further than pan-ideas.
What we now think of geopolitics had its origins in fin de siècle Europe in response to technological change … and the creation of a 'closed political system' as European imperialist competition extinguished the world's 'frontiers.'
The major political theme of the era was that of revolt against materialism, rationalism, positivism, bourgeois society, and liberal democracy. The fin-de-siècle generation supported emotionalism, irrationalism, subjectivism, and vitalism, while the mindset of the age saw civilization as being in a crisis that required a massive and total solution.First Congo War
The First Congo War (1996–1997), also nicknamed Africa's First World War, was a foreign invasion of Zaire led by Rwanda that replaced President Mobutu Sésé Seko with the rebel leader Laurent-Désiré Kabila. Destabilization in eastern Zaire resulting from the Rwandan genocide was the final factor that caused numerous internal and external factors to align against the corrupt and inept government in the capital, Kinshasa.
The new government renamed the country Democratic Republic of the Congo, but it brought little true change. Kabila alienated his Rwandan and Ugandan allies. To avert a coup, Kabila expelled all Rwandan and Ugandan forces from the Congo. This event was a major cause of the Second Congo War the following year. Some experts prefer to view the two conflicts as one war.Foundations of Geopolitics
The Foundations of Geopolitics: The Geopolitical Future of Russia is a geopolitical book by Aleksandr Dugin. The book has had a large influence within the Russian military, police, and foreign policy elites and it has been used as a textbook in the Academy of the General Staff of the Russian military. Its publication in 1997 was well-received in Russia and powerful Russian political figures subsequently took an interest in Dugin, a Russian fascist and nationalist who has developed a close relationship with Russia's Academy of the General Staff.Dugin credits General Nikolai Klokotov of the Academy of the General Staff as co-author and main inspiration, though Klokotov denies this. Colonel General Leonid Ivashov, head of the International Department of the Russian Ministry of Defence, helped draft the book.Geostrategy
Geostrategy, a subfield of geopolitics, is a type of foreign policy guided principally by geographical factors as they inform, constrain, or affect political and military planning. As with all strategies, geostrategy is concerned with matching means to ends—in this case, a country's resources (whether they are limited or extensive) with its geopolitical objectives (which can be local, regional, or global). Strategy is as intertwined with geography as geography is with nationhood, or as Gray and Sloan state it, "[geography is] the mother of strategy."Geostrategists, as distinct from geopoliticians, advocate aggressive strategies, and approach geopolitics from a nationalist point of view. As with all political theories, geostrategies are relevant principally to the context in which they were devised: the nationality of the strategist, the strength of his or her country's resources, the scope of his or her country's goals, the political geography of the time period, and the technological factors that affect military, political, economic, and cultural engagement. Geostrategy can function normatively, advocating foreign policy based on geographic factors, analytically, describing how foreign policy is shaped by geography, or predictively, predicting a country's future foreign policy decisions on the basis of geographic factors.
Many geostrategists are also geographers, specializing in subfields of geography, such as human geography, political geography, economic geography, cultural geography, military geography, and strategic geography. Geostrategy is most closely related to strategic geography.
Especially following World War II, some scholars divide geostrategy into two schools: the uniquely German organic state theory; and, the broader Anglo-American geostrategies.Critics of geostrategy have asserted that it is a pseudoscientific gloss used by dominant nations to justify imperialist or hegemonic aspirations, or that it has been rendered irrelevant because of technological advances, or that its essentialist focus on geography leads geostrategists to incorrect conclusions about the conduct of foreign policy.Halford Mackinder
Sir Halford John Mackinder (15 February 1861 – 6 March 1947) was an English geographer, academic, politician, who is regarded as one of the founding fathers of both geopolitics and geostrategy. He was the first Principal of University Extension College, Reading (which became the University of Reading) from 1892 to 1903, and Director of the London School of Economics from 1903 to 1908. While continuing his academic career part-time, he was also the Member of Parliament for Glasgow Camlachie from 1910 to 1922. From 1923, he was Professor of Geography the London School of Economics.Internal colonialism
Internal colonialism is the uneven effects of economic development on a regional basis, otherwise known as "uneven development" as a result of the exploitation of minority groups within a wider society and leading to political and economic inequalities between regions within a state. This is held to be similar to the relationship between metropole and colony, in colonialism proper. The phenomenon creates a distinct separation of the dominant core from the periphery in an empire.Robert Blauner is regarded as the developer of the Internal Colonialism Theory. The term was coined to highlight the "blurred" lines between geographically close locations that are clearly different in terms of culture. Some other factors that separate the core from the periphery are language, religion, physical appearance, types and levels of technology, and sexual behaviour. The cultural and integrative nature of internal colonialism is understood as a project of modernity and has been explored by Robert Peckham in relation to the formation of a national modern Greek culture during the nineteenth century, when Greece gained independence from the Ottoman Empire.The main difference between neocolonialism and internal colonialism is the source of exploitation. In the former, the control comes from outside the nation-state, while in the latter it comes from within.International community
The international community is a phrase used in geopolitics and international relations to refer to a broad group of people and governments of the world. It does not refer literally to all nations or states in the world. The term is typically used to imply the existence of a common point of view towards such matters as specific issues of human rights. Activists, politicians and commentators often use the term in calling for action to be taken; e.g., action against what is in their opinion political repression in a target country.The term is commonly used to imply legitimacy and consensus for a point of view on a disputed issue; e.g., to enhance the credibility of a majority vote in the United Nations General Assembly.International opinion polling for the 2016 United States presidential election
This article lists international opinion polls taken in various countries around the world prior to the United States presidential election of 2016. Clinton was heavily favored in every foreign country where polling occurred, except for Russia and China.Josué de Castro
Josué de Castro, born Josué Apolônio de Castro (5 September 1908 in Recife – 24 September 1973 in Paris), was a Brazilian physician, expert on nutrition, geographer, writer, public administrator, and activist against world hunger.
His book Geopolitics of Hunger was granted with The Franklin D. Roosevelt Foundation Award, in 1952. Two years later, he received the International Peace Prize.
He taught at the University of Brazil (today's UFRJ) and was chairman of the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). He was also a member of the Brazilian parliament and a diplomat. His political rights came to an end with the military coup of 1964, when he moved to France. For many years he was president of the Association Médicale Internationale pour l’Etude des Conditions de Vie et de Santé and member of other international organizations. He taught at Paris 8 University until his death.Manipal Academy of Higher Education
Manipal Academy of Higher Education, formerly known as Manipal University, is a private research institute deemed to be university located in the university town of Manipal, Udupi, Karnataka, India. Manipal Academy of Higher Education has branch campuses in Dubai and Mangalore. It also has sister campuses in Sikkim and Jaipur. It is a member of the Association of Commonwealth Universities.Politics of outer space
The politics of outer space includes space treaties, law in space, international cooperation and conflict in space exploration, and the hypothetical political impact of any contact with extraterrestrial intelligence.
Astropolitics, also known as astropolitik, has its foundations in geopolitics and is a theory that is used for space in its broadest sense. Astropolitics is often studied as an aspect of the security studies and international relations subfields of political science. This includes the role of space exploration in diplomacy as well as the military uses of satellites, for example, for surveillance or cyber warfare.
An important aspect of the geopolitics of space is the prevention of a military threat to Earth from outer space.International cooperation on space projects has resulted in the creation of new national space agencies. By 2005 there were 35 national civilian space agencies.Regional organization
Regional organizations (ROs) are, in a sense, international organizations (IOs), as they incorporate international membership and encompass geopolitical entities that operationally transcend a single nation state. However, their membership is characterized by boundaries and demarcations characteristic to a defined and unique geography, such as continents, or geopolitics, such as economic blocs. They have been established to foster cooperation and political and economic integration or dialogue among states or entities within a restrictive geographical or geopolitical boundary. They both reflect common patterns of development and history that have been fostered since the end of World War II as well as the fragmentation inherent in globalization, which is why their institutional characteristics vary from loose cooperation to formal regional integration. Most ROs tend to work alongside well-established multilateral organizations such as the United Nations. While in many instances a regional organization is simply referred to as an international organization, in many others it makes sense to use the term regional organization to stress the more limited scope of a particular membership.
Examples of ROs include, a.o., the African Union (AU), Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Arab League (AL), Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Council of Europe (CoE), Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), European Union (EU), South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), Asian-African Legal Consultative Organization (AALCO), Union for the Mediterranean (UfM), Union of South American Nations (USAN).Sphere of influence
In the field of international relations, a sphere of influence (SOI) is a spatial region or concept division over which a state or organization has a level of cultural, economic, military, or political exclusivity, accommodating to the interests of powers outside the borders of the state that controls it.
While there may be a formal alliance or other treaty obligations between the influenced and influencer, such formal arrangements are not necessary and the influence can often be more of an example of soft power. Similarly, a formal alliance does not necessarily mean that one country lies within another's sphere of influence. High levels of exclusivity have historically been associated with higher levels of conflict.
In more extreme cases, a country within the "sphere of influence" of another may become a subsidiary of that state and serve in effect as a satellite state or de facto colony. The system of spheres of influence by which powerful nations intervene in the affairs of others continues to the present. It is often analyzed in terms of superpowers, great powers, and/or middle powers.
Sometimes portions of a single country can fall into two distinct spheres of influence. In the colonial era the buffer states of Iran and Thailand, lying between the empires of Britain/Russia and Britain/France respectively, were divided between the spheres of influence of the imperial powers. Likewise, after World War II, Germany was divided into four occupation zones, which later consolidated into West Germany and East Germany, the former a member of NATO and the latter a member of the Warsaw Pact.
The term is also used to describe non-political situations, e.g., a shopping mall is said to have a sphere of influence which designates the geographical area where it dominates the retail trade.
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