As I mentioned in a previous blog post, I didn’t know how interesting geopolitics was until I realized that my interest in world politics, and politics in general, is so very connected to geopolitics. I am even starting to realize how geopolitics can be applied to smaller geographies, like cities and regions. My interest in Urban Design comes chiefly from a desire to learn about how design can impact how people view, use, and define spaces and places within a city. That may, in turn, go into the identity, which may be an issue of politics and geopolitics. A group of people may claim a place and associated people to have some sort of characteristic or belief, which makes them different from the judging group. This dynamic is similar to the ‘Us’ and ‘Them’ mentality. However, groups contesting over space, in terms of territory, is a little more rudimentary than the above idea, but one could start to see identity become a source of small-scale geopolitics.
Anyway, to get back to both the book and the article, after my experiences traveling abroad and the older I get, the more I understand how both sides to a story may have very different ideas on one thing. The US is looking to protect itself and its interests abroad versus a foe that we can’t exactly pinpoint in one place. There are places of perceived terrorist concentration, like Iraq and Afghanistan, or of measurable aggression and dislike, such as North Korea. The US may use what the book describes as practical geopolitics and popular geopolitics to invade Iraq. Practical politics meaning that those that we think are supporting terrorism or have hatred towards us are all on the same page and, therefore, must be dealt with. Popular politics on Iraq from the US point of view stems from the media portraying Middle Easterners as aggressive and anti-American.
On the other side of the fence, which I did not know until reading the article and book, and what we consider to be anti-geopolitics. In reality, the anti-geopolitics, stemming from the idea that any ideas or notions about geopolitics that are not in tune with those of the hegemonic or major idea, are actually both practical and popular geopolitics in their own right and within their own geographical context. Practical geopolitics of some Arabic new outlets may paint the relationship of that nation with the US to be good, but many popular geopolitics, namely regional political cartoons, begin to call out the US as the aggressor. The hardest part is that the US was the aggressor in this case. No one, except for the British, wanted to get entangled with us in Iraq and many people in both the UK and Middle East did not support what the US was doing. In the end, the US looks bad for it, relations with the Middle East are not in a good place, and the rest of the world sees Iraq as a victim of today’s version of imperialism left-over from Cold War-era thinking.