Geopolitics: Global Strategic
The study of the way a country’s size,
position, etc, influence its power and its relationships with other countries. Political
activity is influenced by the physical features of a country or area of the world.
Geo politics is concerned with how geographical factors including territory, population,
strategic location, and natural resources endowments as modified by economics and
technology affect the relations between states and the struggle forward domination.
It is battle between land power and sea power which is going to lead the world continents
Mackinder described the political history
of the world as continuous struggle between land and sea powers. According to him,
the Columbian era of sea powers, which gave Europe its pivotal position for four
centuries is coming to an end. And in the struggle between land and sea powers,
the ultimate victory is going to be of one possessing land powers. He divided the
earth into 3 tiers.
The Heartland - area of
interior and Arctic drainage in the Eastern
Europe, covered by mountains on three sides and Arctic in north. This is a natural
fortress on earth, inaccessible to sea powers.
2) The Inner or Marginal Crescent - area of Europe and Asia adjoining the Heartland and Africa, north of Sahara.
3) The Outer or Insular Crescent - It includes North and South America, Africa (south
of Sahara) and Australia. Besides, it also includes the Great Britain and Japan
because of their insularity from Eurasia.
According to Mackinder, one with control
over Heartland will be in an unstoppable position to rule the world. Heartland,
with its agricultural and industrial resources would conquer the inner crescent
and Outer crescent would follow later. He conceptualized his theory as:
Who rules East Europe commands the Heartland.
Who rules Heartland commands World Island.
Who rules World Island commands the World.
Mackinder later argued that key to control
Heartland lays in Eastern Europe, reflecting a powerful strand of pre and post-
Versailles geographical thinking concerning the news to separate the powerful states
of Germany and Russia by the creation of ‘buffer states'.
- His theory was put to test during the World War II when the Heartland
could become the power centre of the world if either Germany unites with Russia
or China or Japan thrashes Russia. But the shattering defeat of Germany turned Heartland
into a power vacuum.
The area highlighted in red is the heartland,
blue is rim land and the encircled area is the world island.
The heartland is inaccessible from top
because North Sea, Norwegian Sea, Barents Sea, Kara Sea, Laptev Sea, East Siberian
Sea are all frozen throughout the year. The hearland is inaccesible from the bottom
because of Middle Eastern desert, Iranian Plateau, Himalayas, Plateau’s of Tibet
and Siberian mountains. This makes heartland immune to any conquests from any other
side than Eastern Europe.
The only gateway to the heartland is
through Eastern Europe. So, protecting one gateway would be far easier than protecting
the whole land. Moreover, the heartland was self sufficient with most of the resources
and wasn’t dependent on trade from outside world.
So, Mackinder believed that the one who
controls the heartland would be able to control the Rimland and as a result the
world-Island, and the one, who rules the world Island, would rule the world. Although
this theory made sense at that time (1904), when there was no significant aviation
and naval power, it does not make much sense now.