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Geopolitics and Geostrategy

Hall Gardner

Introduction
Concepts of geopolitics and geostrategy are moving in new directions in the aftermath of the Soviet collapse
in 1991 and the antistate terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11,
2001. A reconceptualization has proved necessary in the effort to better analyze the global ramifications of
the collapse of the amphibious Soviet empire, if not predict the future geopolitical contours of the global
system. At present, the essentially insular United States continues to sustain global military predominance,
but appears to be losing its overseas political and economic influence in a number of regions due to the rise
of emerging powers. Questions remain as to whether a new form of polycentrism is truly in the making, how
long the United States can sustain its global predominance, and whether the advent of globalization and rise
of new regional powers will result in wider regional, if not global conflict, or else in new systems of global
governance that could help mediate more traditional territorial state rivalry. This article examines works that
deal with geopolitics and geostrategy and that generally seek to examine multiple systemic factors that
affect global decision-making processes, not to overlook the forces of globalization as they have impacted
upon more traditional geopolitical analysis. It consequently looks at those studies that seek to formulate or
discuss the multidimensional aspects of global strategy, including military strategy and diplomacy,
particularly when the latter is used as the art of statecraft to reach settlements over territory or other vital
issues of geostrategic, military-technological or political-economic concerns.

General Overviews

This section provides a list of general introductory texts in the field of geopolitics that explain the relationship
between geography and politics. Agnew 2002 discusses the history of geopolitical thinking while seeking to
analyze issues such as environmentalism, drug trafficking, and international terrorism. Braden 1999 seeks to
show how geography, demography, and economics impact politics and international relations. Tuathail
2006 provides critical perspectives on a wide range of geopolitical issues. Flint 2006 creates a process-andfeedback model for understanding the dynamics of geopolitics. Gray 2007 explains the nature of strategic
thinking from the French Revolution to the war on terrorism. Lacoste 2006 analyzes the geopolitical
interests of the major powersthe United States, Europe, Russia, China, India, Japan, and Brazil.
Morgenthau and Thompson 1985 develops the theory and practice of geopolitics as a struggle for power.
Taylor 2007 examines the shifting nature of contemporary politics by means of a comprehensive
examination of the geopolitical landscape.
Agnew, John. Making Political Geography. London: Hodder Arnold, 2002.
E-mail Citation
An introductory text that explains how changing geopolitical contexts have been critical to the making of
political geography. Discusses the history of geopolitical thinking while seeking to analyze issues of
environmentalism, drug trafficking, and international terrorism. Identifies three waves of political geography
during the last three decades: the spatial-analytical approach, the political-economic critiques, and the
postmodern approaches.

Braden, Kathleen, and F. M. Shelley. Engaging Geopolitics. London: Longman, 1999.


E-mail Citation
An introduction into the ways in which geography, demography, and economics impact on politics and
international relations. Develops classic and contemporary geopolitical concepts and applies them to key
global issues.

Flint, Colin. Introduction to Geopolitics. London and New York: Routledge, 2006.
E-mail Citation
Provides an introduction to and brief history of geopolitics. Creates a framework for understanding
geopolitics that involves a process-and-feedback model. The latter helps to explain how geopolitical tension
can result in conflict and whether such conflicts can result in just and long-lasting resolutions. Includes a
discussion of the geography of terrorism.

Gray, Colin. War, Peace, and International Relations: An Introduction to Strategic History.
Strategy and History. London and New York: Routledge, 2007.
E-mail Citation
Explains the nature of strategic thinking from the French Revolution through the 19th century, World War I,
World War II, the Cold War, and the war on terrorism.

Lacoste, Yves. Gopolitique, la longue histoire daujourdhui. Paris: Larousse, 2006.


E-mail Citation
Analyzes the major geopolitical issues confronted by the American hyperpower as well as those of
Europe, Russia, China, India, Japan, and Brazil. Discusses conflicts in the Mediterranean, Middle East,
Central Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, and the Balkans, involving demography, energy, water, and food.

Morgenthau, Hans, and Kenneth Thompson. Politics among Nations: The Struggle for
Power and Peace. 6th ed. Boston: McGraw-Hill, 1985.
E-mail Citation
First published in 1948, this classic work develops the theory and practice of geopolitics as a struggle for
power and evaluates national power by showing the interrelationships between geostrategic positioning, the
relative economic and technological capabilities of states, international public opinion, international law and
morality, international government and diplomacy, and the regional and global balance of power.

Tuathail, Gearid, Simon Dalby, and Paul Routledge, eds. The Geopolitics Reader. 2d ed.
London and New York: Routledge, 2006.
E-mail Citation
Introductory text that provides critical perspectives on a wide range of texts that examine imperialism, Cold
War geopolitics, and postCold War geopolitical dangers, in addition to anti-geopolitical movements.

Taylor, Peter J. Political Geography: World-Economy, Nation-State, and Locality. 5th ed.
Harlow, UK: Pearson/Prentice Hall, 2007.
E-mail Citation
This introductory text examines the shifting nature of the contemporary geopolitical landscape.
LAST MODIFIED: 03/02/2011
DOI: 10.1093/OBO/9780199743292-0056
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