Modern geopolitics diverges from its traditional roots, which were tied to pure physical geography, and embraces a broader, more complex vision that includes global and even spatial interactions. In a world where globalization and interdependence among nations are undeniable, even the smallest nations must develop strategies that take into account global phenomena, extending beyond terrestrial borders in search of new resources and opportunities.
A New Definition of Geopolitics
In the modern era, geopolitics is no longer confined to the study of the past and present but also includes forecasting and planning for the future. It has become the art of influencing events on an international level, uniting the ambition to guide not only the fate of one’s nation but potentially a significant portion of the world.
Geopolitics and Geography: An Unaltered Link Despite its evolution, geopolitics remains intrinsically tied to traditional geographical aspects such as natural formations and resources, but now also extends to factors like economics and finance, making it a decisive force in all national policies.The Harsh Reality of International Politics Geopolitics reflects the hypocrisy and cruelty of international politics, where every decision is primarily driven by national interests, often in contrast with those of other states. This dynamic leads to a perpetual state of rivalry and conflict, with alliances and enmities rapidly changing based on continuously evolving interests.
Dominators and Dominated: The International Dualism The international landscape is divided between dominating and dominated nations. The former exercise control at various levels, while the latter may experience such influence directly or indirectly. This dualism is evident in situations like Sudan under the influence of China, or Syria, which sought the support of Russia.
Bismarck’s Theory and Geopolitical Alliances Following
Otto von Bismarck’s thought, some nations seek alliances to increase their geopolitical relevance. This dynamic sometimes pushes even medium-sized countries to participate in conflicts unrelated to their direct interests, in search of a place in the global power game.
Rebels and Vassals: Geopolitical Diversity
Some countries, like North Korea, choose to isolate themselves from the international system, becoming “geopolitical rebels.” Others, like Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt, and Iran, influential at a regional level, maintain a delicate balance not to disrupt relationships with superpowers.
Strategic Players and Geopolitical Pivots
The distinction between “strategic players” and “geopolitical pivots,” theorized by Zbigniew Brzezinski, offers a clear perspective on the structure of global power. “Strategic players” are powerful nations capable and willing to extend their influence far beyond their borders, actively altering the global geopolitical balance. These countries, like the United States, China, and Russia, not only possess significant resources and military power but are also key actors in global economic and political decisions.On the other hand, “geopolitical pivots” are states that, while not necessarily great powers, occupy strategic geographical positions influencing access to crucial resources or transit routes. Notable examples include Ukraine, Iran, and Turkey. These countries often find themselves at the center of international tensions due to their strategic importance, both in terms of natural resources and geographic location.
Conflicts and Interests: Modern Realpolitik
In modern geopolitics, conflicts and alliances are often driven by “realpolitik,” a policy based on interests and pragmatic circumstances rather than ideals or moral principles. This approach is evident in international relations, where states act based on their national interests, often at the expense of common global interests, such as in the fight against climate change.
Geopolitics and the Future Looking to the future, geopolitics will continue to be a dynamic and rapidly changing field. Challenges like digitalization, climate change, and new technological discoveries will further shape international relations. The ability to predict and adapt to these changes will be crucial for nations seeking to maintain or improve their position in the world.
In summary, modern geopolitics is a complex interweaving of national ambitions, resources, strategic positions, and power dynamics. As nations navigate this complex landscape, they must balance their interests with those of the global community, facing challenges that require cooperation and mutual understanding beyond the traditional boundaries of geopolitics.