Political scientists perceive geopolitics to be the analysis of the geographical effect on power relationships in the international arena. Tentatively, geopolitics can be described as the application of economic and physical geographical advantages on foreign policies, national clout, and politics of a particular state. Many nations participate in these trade to gain an economic or political advantage over other states. They develop national policies with respect to their political and geographical interrelation with other nations. Rudolf Kjellen, a Swedish political scientist, coined the term geopolitics originally (Ecfr.eu, 2015). The geography of a nation's impacts on the politics of nations has been a widely accepted thought among the Western countries political spheres especially the effects of climate, arable land, the topography of a state and access to the international sea.
Many geopoliticians have advanced theories to try and explain how industrial invention and capabilities in communication, destruction and transportation particularly advancements in railroads, airplanes, telegraphy, steamships and explosives, will shape the number, location, and character of feasible security units in the emerging international scene. The great strides made railroad technology prompted Halford Mackinder, a geopolitician who employed materialistic approaches to discern and explain contemporary issues, to advance the Heartland theory. In his theory, Mackinder purported that Land power would eventually trump over sea power. The theory prominently focused on the vast geographical regions of Eurasia that are accessed by railroads and argued that any state which will have the capacity to control the heartland would be in control the world politics and perhaps pose a real threat to a world empire (Ecfr.eu, 2015).
Alfred Thayer Mahan, another geopolitician and a naval officer in the United States Army who employed materialistic approaches to discern and explain contemporary issues, advanced the Mahan theory that emphasized on the maritime force. Mahan argued convincingly that the control of sea routes was pivotal because of the superior mobility of sea vessels over animal-powered transport on land. He further posited there was a danger of one strategically positioned the maritime state to take absolute control over maritime trade and colonial assets. However, emergence and advancements in airplanes led geopoliticians like Giulio Douhet to undermine the role of land and naval power in favor of the superiority of air power. In the cause of World War II, some geopoliticians had the temerity to predict that far-reaching technological advancements in the air equipment would supersede naval power and render it obsolete.
In the 21st century, geopolitics has extensively transformed, and its now not just an ideology that prophesies a possibility of political world dominance by a nation but one that analyzes the political and economic effects of the interrelation between countries. Geopolitical tensions are on the rise especially in Europe and Asia, and this has caused increased border controls among countries. Pakistan and India borders are volatile, and so is Turkeys and Syrias borders. Japan and China geopolitical tensions are boiling up, and Britain is threatening to exit the European Union. The sanctions imposed on Ukraine by United Nations and the prospect that Russia a heavy exporter to Ukraine might violate this sanctions is a matter of global politics. Geopolitics being outplayed in Iran based on the scrutiny of their nuclear ambitions is affecting oil prices while the advancement of geographical territory of the IS jihadist group in Iraq is causing unpredictable volatility in the prices of fuel across the globe (Shelley and Taylor, 1991).
The geopolitical tensions have evidently reduced the volume of international business. The fragile relationship between India and Pakistan has to lock out an economic endeavor between two neighbors which would have had immense economic benefits between the two countries. The even feebler cross-border association between Israel and Palestine, who for more than 20 years have been separated economically, does not offer any hope of peace in sight. Perhaps if these countries engaged in trading activities, these would have created constituencies of peace in those countries.
Geopolitics in Europe has made Britain rethink its relationship with the continent and its threatening to pull out of the European Union. A British exit from the union would, but the achievements so realized in jeopardy. It may also trigger mass pullout by other Scandinavian states and lead to an utter disintegration of the union. Britain exiting would deny the Union its imperative foreign policy and security assets that made the European Union have enormous clout and be a respected player in the world scene. Such a pull out would dwindle the Euro currency in detrimental proportions and pose an economic meltdown in economies that are over-reliant in the currency. The exit would exhume the long buried mistrust and geopolitical competitions among the European powers. But to Britain since there will be no new trade agreements its output is expected to drop by 2.2 percent. The GDP of the UK could suffer a potentially permanent loss of up to 0.8 percent of GDP or gain nearly 0.6 per cent of GDP by 2030. The German Bertelsmann Foundation predicts that the European Union would lose in the region of 0.1 to 0.36 percent in real GDP if Britain exits the union. The firm has also suggested a drop in total sales of German automotive sales by roughly 2 percent (Margulis, 2014).
Ecfr.eu, (2015). European Council on Foreign Relations. [online] Available at: http://Ecfr.eu [Accessed 10 Dec. 2015].
Geopoliticsnorth.org, (2015). GeoPolitics in the High North - Home. [online] Available at: http://Geopoliticsnorth.org [Accessed 10 Dec. 2015].
Margulis, M. (2014). Trading Out of the Global Food Crisis? The World Trade Organization and the Geopolitics of Food Security. Geopolitics, 19(2), pp.322-350.
Shelley, F. and Taylor, P. (1991). Britain and the Cold War: 1945 as Geopolitical Transition. Geographical Review, 81(4), p.489.
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