Geopolitics, Geography and Strategy

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Geopolitics, Geography and Strategy

Australian National University Library. Open to the public. John and Alison Kearney Library.


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Other suppliers National Library of Australia - Copies Direct The National Library may be able to supply you with a photocopy or electronic copy of all or part of this item, for a fee, depending on copyright restrictions. 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.

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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. 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.


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Spykman is both a follower and critic of geostrategists Alfred Mahan , and Halford Mackinder. His work is based on assumptions similar to Mackinder's, [32] 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.

Geopolitics

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. Another famous follower of Mackinder was Karl Haushofer who called Mackinder's Geographical Pivot of History a "genius' scientific tractate. 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 , 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.

Friedrich Ratzel — , 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" concerning biogeography.

Ratzel created a foundation for the German variant of geopolitics, geopolitik.


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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. 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, [40] 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 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.

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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 to friction and ultimately to open denunciation of geopolitics by Nazi ideologues. The resultant negative association, particularly in U. 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. 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. All in all, an important change that expresses the transition from situations dominated by rivalries and potential conflicts in search of regional hegemony, to the present circumstances in which there is the predominance of an open and accelerated process of integration in the economic and political fields, as well as in infrastructure and even security and defense. Besides, during his government the country also strongly invested in the process of economic integration, based on stimuli to direct productive investments of companies in several industrial sectors and of infrastructure, and more recently even in specialized services.

In consequence, South American integration extrapolates the initial goals which inspired the formation of a regional block of conventional trade, and all this process has fomented numerous of studies on these themes in the past years. Other studies also try to express the topic of regional integration from an explicitly geopolitical standpoint, as the one by Costa The collection by Girault , elaborated from a seminar he organized in partnership with Programme Arcus and The Advanced Studies Institute of USP, in which some articles specifically dedicated to this theme can be found, also deserves to be mentioned.

The first case refers to the successful economic, political and strategic integration policies previously mentioned and that have their empiric expression in the deepening of bilateral and multilateral cooperation in all the spheres of neighbouring relationships. As examples, the increase of border interaction experiences, including institutional arrangements for shared management of urban areas and natural resources in common pool. Besides, the infrastructure projects for roads, railroads, oil and gas pipelines implementation and modernization are emblematic.

This effectiveness as a forum has been demonstrated especially in the solution of conflicts between partners, such as the one involving Colombia and Ecuador caused by a Colombian bombing to FARC headquarters in Ecuadorian territory. On the other hand, the rivalry derives from the open hostility of Venezuelans since Hugo Chaves ascended to power toward the United States and due to that, toward their Colombian allies, what has been aggravated by their recent strategic proximity with Russia.

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Among others, there are the recurrent border conflicts aggravated by all sorts of illicit activities, particularly drug trafficking. Also, disputes of fiscal or customs nature which often come up as commercial barriers involving specific groups of products, or disagreements derived from the intensification of migratory flows, generally concerning the large contingent of Brazilians who settled down in Paraguay decades ago, and more recently in Bolivia, Peru, Venezuela and French Guiana.

However, there is consensus in opinion among specialists that the most important potential risk for the future of integration is the one stemmed from the deepening in the asymmetry among the countries in the region. Except for cases of minor importance, such as the recurrent picture of old border conflicts between Peru and Ecuador, Venezuela and Guiana, Peru and Chile, or even the Bolivian tragedy as a landlocked nation, what is actually risky is the presence and the recent increase of North American military apparatus in Colombian territory as previously mentioned , at first on the pretext to give support to this country to combat drug trafficking Colombia Plan , representing indeed a foothold of the superpower in the region, though.

All in all, this region represents the South American hot point, currently the major political-strategic and geopolitical friction, and this topic is surely a priority on the agenda of multilateral mutual consultation entities in the region. The second priority is the Amazon, considered the major national strategic vulnerability in the country.

The third one is the South Atlantic or the Blue Amazon , the newest Brazilian jurisdictional territory 4. In fact, with its more than five million square kilometers, the most important river basin in the world and the biggest tropical biodiversity of the planet, as well as its over eight thousand kilometers of boundaries, in itself would deserve a strategy qualitative by any state of the international community.

At the height of the military regime, as previously mentioned, the geopolitics for this region materialized mainly by means of the so-called National Integration Plan On the one hand, this strategy of occupation especially for the national sovereignty defense, crystallized in practice ideas expressed by the old military geopolitics, as previously mentioned, and on the other hand, inspired critical studies of the new geopolitics developed in the country as from mid s.

The Amazon Ecological-Economic Zoning Program, which fostered a great deal of research on the physical-biotic and social-economic aspects of the region, in addition to subsidize policies focusing the regional and environmental planning in the scope of the nine Amazonian states is worthy of praise. On the one hand, there is a mix of various perceptions and scientific research results becoming stronger throughout the world, and which emphasize the impacts of this ecosystem in the functioning of the planet environment.

On the other hand, there is an ongoing revaluation of natural resources minerals, water resources, bioproducts, etc,. It is a conceptual and analytical attempt to rescue the imperative of Brazilian sovereignty over this region, at the same time that embodies the challenges of its decentralized and participatory management, grounded in international cooperation. It regards the valuation or revaluation of the Brazilian coast, Brazilian jurisdictional waters and, why not say it, the South Atlantic.