Geopolitics and Anti-Geopolitics

Geopolitics is difficult to define, as since it came into use before the 1900s, it has, as could be expected, changed and evolved its meaning substantially. In the beginning, it meant what could easily be inferred, politics pertaining to geography, specifically that of the state. Today, though, like many political geography terms, it has a new meaning, something that, while on the surface easy to understand, becomes ever more complex the more it is examined. From Rudolf Kjellen’s initial definition, it changed according to the ideas of Sir Halford Mackinder, who added the seeds of current geopolitics, a struggle for power relating to location, and then adjusted more when German scholar Karl Haushofer wrestled with the idea, applying the ideas of the state as an organism to the idea of geopolitics as a power struggle, before lastly adding in the ideas of Isaiah Bowman, that geopolitics is considered a science, based on evidence and empiricism. Current geopolitics, however, comes from being critical of these ideas, developing it into three different areas.

The first of these areas, formal geopolitics, ignores the “state as an entity” concept, and focuses on territory, particularly the protection of it from dangers, both foreign and in the homeland. Secondly is practical geopolitics, working as the “traditional” geopolitics, the one we hear from politicians and other leaders. Lastly is popular geopolitics, the area of the media, full of over exaggerations. This is also the area elaborated on by the second reading, which tells the story of the U.S. exercising its dominant power and attempting to justify the Iraq war, and how the media responded to it. In short, the media responded badly, critiquing the war on multiple fronts and using political cartoons to portray the message that, in essence, the world was against the U.S.

The last section of the chapter focuses on anti-geopolitics, which, as the name implies, tries its hardest to not be another type of geopolitics. By resisting traditional geopolitical theory and focusing on an inclusive approach to the study, anti-geopolitics becomes the ideals of those who work against the state, not toward its downfall, but rather, to attempt to bring to light the possible alternatives to whatever strategy has been settled upon. While not stories of neutrality, anti-geopolitics becomes the closest thing to a peaceful geopolitical perspective, focusing on wars and similar subject matter through the eyes of the everyday civilian. Focusing particularly on this, anti-geopolitics seeks to include not just the work of the traditional scholar in political geography, that of a white male, but of all races and genders, so that, again, wider viewpoints can be used, and a better perspective is ultimately gained.

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