As I understand it, geopolitics is the study of the effects of geography on international politics and international relations. Geopolitics is considered to be a method of analysis for foreign policies. Through this analysis, we can comprehend, understand and predict international political behaviors in term of geographical variables. These variables could include physical location, climate, topography, demography, natural resources, and technological advances of the state. While typically the term is used to discuss the impacts of geography on politics, over the past century the term has evolved its uses to encompass wider connotations.
Traditionally, geopolitics studies the comparison between political power and geographic space. The tradition of geopolitics is coupled with concerns of power in world politics, the identification of international core areas, and the relationships between naval and terrestrial capabilities. In an academic stand point, geopolitics analyses patterns pertaining to geography, history, and social science with reference to spatial politics. Included in this academic understanding is the study of relations between the interests of international political actors, interests focused to an area, space, and relations that create a geopolitical system.
Throughout my readings on geopolitics, I have found that there are three important types of geopolitics. The first type is called formal geopolitics. This type of geopolitics could be considered the “normal” understanding. The reason it is considered normal is because it can be described as treating everyone as a member of the state or the states interests. The second type to consider is practical geopolitics. This type of geopolitics can be referred to as the politician way of thinking. An example of this type of geopolitics might be an interview. One of the examples mentioned in the readings was the speech given by George W. Bush. In his speech, former President Bush discussed the “Axis of Evil” in relation to Iraq, Iran and North Korea. This speech allowed the former President to group places together in order to create a general category for terrorism. Popular geopolitics is the last kind. This type of geopolitics could be anything from cartoons to television shows to any other media referenced issue. The first thing that comes to mind when I think of popular geopolitics are the images of super heroes during war times. Specific super heroes like Captain America defeating the Nazi’s and Superman protecting the world from our enemies.
Geopolitics is important because it allows us to produce ideas that help to label, order, and communicate with other areas of the world. As an example of this, we can relate geopolitics to the idea of “place.” We focus on this idea because in our everyday lives we use labeling of places to give us an understanding of where we are and what we are dealing with. An example of this would be the concept of the “Third World.” Our understanding of this place pertains to the fact that these places have low well-being and are in lower economic standing. With these ideas about this place in mind, we then determine how we are going to interact with those specific countries. It is important for our politics to be rooted in ideas that have spatial quality to them when it comes to world perspective.