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Agnew___Corbridge_pp_1-7 - 1 INTRODUCTION ~ ~ j ~ 5>\qq 5 ~...

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~) j' ~ (\qq 5) ~~) 5> . hL ~ P<' err 6 ~. n --j(V:? tJ- S~ pYv ~Ji-\~k. . ?)~~ \j\~ \/:r~ tV fc( ~ ~.~ ~~I \~/' ., /\ ~& '-1/ ~ ~\/~ v-f~1 ( ~~ ~1/J 1 INTRODUCTION The term 'geopolitics' has been popular at times of dramatic global political change and then has tended to recede from use. The term was first used by the Swede Rudolf Kjellen in 1899.It became associated with the formal model of geographical influences on global conflict proposed by the British geo- grapher Halford Mackinder in the early twentieth century in his efforts to promote the field of geography as an aid to the practice of British statecraft. During the 1920s and 1930s Mackinder's model of a EUJ;asian'heartland' rising to global dominance if not held in check by cohesive reaction from the (British-dominated) 'outer or insular crescent', was adopted by certain German geographers who used it to justify Nazi expansionist designs on Eastern Europe. Not surprisingly, the term suffered from guilt by associatibn. After the Second World War the term 'geopolitics' fell into disuse because of its Nazi connotations and its reliance on ideas of eilVironmental determinism from which professional geographers were in retreat. r In recent years geopolitics has undergone another revival, but this time with little agreement as to its precise meaning and influence. Contemporary usage ranges from classical concepts of seapower versus landpower in the distribu- tion of power among states, to the ways in which political leaders name places as more or less important strategically, organize foreign policy accordingly, and operate militarily. A more anodyne formulation refers to geopolitics as the equivalent of political geography, in the sense of a real variation in political phenomena at all scales, including the global. The range of usage illustrates an important feature of the contemporary world situation: the collapse of agreement about terms that previously had meanings that (seemingly) were self-evident. It is in this context that we are proposing a 'new geopolitics'. The world has changed significantly over the past twenty years. We believe that this change has been so profound that it is necessary to change the way in which we think about the geography of international relations. We believe that in redirecting the orientation of geopolitics we can also offer an important new perspective on the field of international relations in general and international political economy in particular. One of the boasts often made by the mainstream social science that was institutionalized in 1
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INTRODUCTION Europe and North America during the course of this century is that its claims about 'order' in human society held for all times and in all places. In no field has this point of view been more popular than 'international relations'. One version of the conventional wisdom is put forward with his usual directness by Samuel Huntington. Referring to the need for the United States to remain the most powerful state in the world lest other less benign states assume the mantle of leadership, he claims, matter-of-factly, that 'No reason exists to
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Agnew___Corbridge_pp_1-7 - 1 INTRODUCTION ~ ~ j ~ 5>\qq 5 ~...

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