.. barrel infected by one rotten one, the corruption of Greece would infect Iran and all to the east. It would also carry infection to Africa through Asia Minor and Egypt, and to Europe through Italy, France, already threatened by the strongest domestic Communist parties in Western Europe (Acheson, 1969). Presenting “apples in a barrel” is a mark of excessive pride in the American intellectuals of statecraft with the Truman administration. Thus when Truman declares in his speech that it is “necessary only to glance at a map,” the map he has in his mind is one where states are equivalent to dominoes about to fall. Only physical proximity is seen as geography and nothing else.
The geopolitical order made by the American after World War II was geographically more extensive than the Soviet order. Domestic politics with the US was characterized by containment militarism, which was set by exaggerated view of the Soviet threat. This mainly facilitated the creation and expansion of a national security state and a confinement of US political culture. Through exaggeration of the Soviet threat, American intellectuals of statecraft attempted to transform the US stance from a reluctant isolationist power to a crusading interventionist power, which promoted an open world economy and safeguarding the free enterprise system. In addition, the US ought to establish for itself the freedom, in the space called the “Third World” to intervene and attack peoples and states that have been considered a threat to a view of American values and economic interests.
After World War II, this tendency led the US security state to intervene in the domestic politics of many states, for example, Iran in 1953, Guatemala in 1956 and Chile in 1973. The US also got massively involved militarily in a number of regions and fought bloody wars in Korea and Vietnam among other places against what it perceived as a threat of worldwide communist. The geopolitical order established by the Soviet Union in the wake of World War II was largely confined to Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. Just like the US built a huge military complex to support its national security, so did the Soviet Union that its state structure became even more militarised than that of the US. The Soviet geopolitical order was set by the maintenance of a system extended deterrence in Eastern Europe by ruling communist elites and military structure of the Warsaw Pact organization.
Because it did not have the resources and wealth of the capitalist West, the Soviet Union intervened erratically in the Third world such as a few radical states like North Korea, Vietnam and Cuba, to compete its counterpart, the capitalist West. Europe was the principal place where both contending geopolitical orders confronted each other and the site of its greatest militarization. However, ironically both superpowers came to share a mutual interest in the Cold War as a system because they convinced their mutual positions on the European continent. COX (1990) notes: The Cold War served the interests of both the USSR and the US. For this reason neither sought to alter the nature of the relationship once it had been established.
Their goal, therefore, was not so much victory over the other as the maintenance of balance. In this sense, the Cold War was more of a carefully controlled game with commonly agreed rules than a contest where there could be clear winners and losers. The new breed of communist politician who came to power was Mikhail Gorbachev. He launched a policy of glasnost (openness) in Soviet society in 1986 and envisioned perestroika (restructuring and renewal) of the USSR based on modernized and humane communist principles. His new political thinking helped bring about the end of the Cold War. Gorbachev’s policy for arms reductions and his refusal to intervene to save communist dictatorships in Eastern Europe resulted in the fall of Berlin Wall and the beginning of the end of the Cold War in Europe at last.
Furthermore, the geographical consequence of his new policies provoked a counter-reaction by hard-liners within the Soviet military-industrial complex in 1991, an attempted coup whose failure spiralled into the consequent dissolution of the USSR and the fitful emergence of the “new world order” of the 1990s. New World Order Geopolitics The end of the Cold War allowed the emergence of a new geopolitical order dominated by geo-economic questions and issues, a world where the globalization of economic activity and global flows of trade, investment and images are re-making states, sovereignty and the geographical structure of the world. The existence of one of the superpowers, the Soviet Union completely disappeared from the world scene. The end of Cold War effectively left the US as the sole remaining superpower. President George Bush declared a ‘new world order’ during the Gulf War and it was a way of achieving the national exceptionism of the US. He believed that American’s interests were universal interests for everyone.
In practical term, the new world order for Bush was a world where the United States, in alliance with those who were willing to follow, did not ordering. Any change in the status quo geopolitical order unfavourable to the US and the interests of “the West”, such as Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, was considered unlawful aggression that “would not stand.” On the contrary, any change in geopolitics initiated by the US, for example, the US invasion of Panama was acceptable and can be justified. Many of geopoliticians argue that geopolitic in the post Cold War era can be explained as geo-economics. Focusing greatly on the economic ability of the state, Japan has emerged as most likely hegemonic contender at the time. What makes Japan look so good as successor in this sort of environments is that its economic prowess is not prevented by any military commitments.
However, it is possible to interpret Japan as the antithesis of the USSR, another mammoth mismatch between economic and political power but the other way around. Although by no means likely to suffer the same fate as the Soviet Union, Japan’s weaknesses have been exposed by the post-cold war situation as for instance their failure to contribute physically to the Gulf War in 1991. There is much less talk now of Japan as a future world leader. For some of the environmentally minded intellectual and policy maker, the new geopolitics is not geo-economics but ecological politics or ‘ecopolitics.’ Because the relationship of politics to the earth became more important than ever as state and people struggle to deal with environmental degradation, resource depletion, transnational pollution and global warming. In many cases, the owners of the land are not the same people as those who traditionally used it before development and imposed a very different understanding of the environment and the appropriate ways of using it. It also tends to be occupied by the state with power for their interests.
Like this, the variable and processes in geopolitics differ from international environments and times they get involved. Besides, not only economic and environmental issues, but also the perspectives of race, culture and ethno-minorities came up with a considerable attention in geopolitics. Therefore, as the power of the world and the interests of them changes, new roles and new actors in international context emerge incessantly. Conclusion The early geopoliticians had emphasis on the sheer friction of distance and the buffering function of space, the value of which were evaluated in terms of military technology at that time. However, the technological revolutions over the period of time have produced the variables and tools of power. For example, economic and environmental variables and technological developments have already started altering the ways of assessing distance, space, influence and power.
However, it is important to note how dependent on historical context the evolution and application of the modern geopolitical assumption have been. Whatever the outcome of the period, the awareness of historical dependence remains strong. That is why the question of the current geopolitical understandings for the future has to be solved with examining the geopolitics of the past. It also seems certain that there are perceptible differences to interpret the concept of ‘Geopolitics’ in historical and contemporary perspectives because it has been changing along with changing historical conditions. However, it is also possible to find some common denominators of geopolitical assumption of geopolitics, such as universality of national interests, the centralization of the state like Mackinder’s “pivot theory”, the reasoning of intervention and so on, all through the history.
The ways to achieve tend to vary in accordance with prevailing issues and the interests of the power state at the time. To conclude, it can be said that the main purpose of each state’s geopolitics has been achieving power and maintaining the stance with power in international context. Although the history produced many contending perspectives on geopolitics that seemed to be merely an adaptation to newly emerged issues to keep pace with a rapid radical change. Thus it seems hazardous to assess ‘Geopolitics’ in a facing contemporary context without considering how it has been evolved. Geopolitics is not only a way of interpreting current geopolitical realities but also an evolutionary process, which constantly reflects the whole picture in a wider historical context. Bibliography 1. O Ttathail, Gearoid, Dalby, Simon and Routledge, Paul.
The Geopolitics: Reader. Routledge (1998) 2. Demko, George and Wood, William B. Reordering the World: geopolitical perspectives on the 21st century. Westview Press (1994) 3. Taylor, Peter.
Political Geography: world economy, nation-state and locality. Longman Scientific & Technical (1993) 4. Agnew, John. Geopolitics: re-visioning world politics. Routledge (1998).