Early 20th Century Geopolitical Theories Essay

2626 words - 11 pages

Introduction
Geopolitics has been a major obsession of nation-s¬tates throughout history and even today. The strategies that nation-states use to assert their position in relation to other states are complex and changing with the new nature of states and power in the World. Mackinder originally formulated one of the most crucial geopolitical models in order to capture the way in which states vie for power over space, which has seen renewed relevance as Afghanistan continues to be at the heart of a world power struggle. Whilst organic theories of how nation-states behave and exist in a manner similar to that of organism(relating to geopolitical actions and ambitions) were penned by early German writers such as Ratzel and Haushofer(though have existed before this), that have tended to be adopted by authoritarian regimes and have been extended to the utilisation of repression. These models can be seen to work in conjunction with one another and are at the backbone of geopolitical theory and can be widely applied. However they were originally ideas that were conceived with a very different world in mind when compared with the present. So it would be interesting to see whether the modern nation states in the face of globalisation (whereby the states’ own role have been redefined) still adhere to these theoretical frameworks in regard to how they conduct geopolitical activity.
The Organic State Theory
Since antiquity the idea of a state has been likened to an organism, just as an organism functions as the sum of several organism and cells concerned with individual functions, as does the state. Bluntschli, a 19th century Swiss politician/political writer summarised these notions in the first chapter on his book regarding the state, ‘The State is in no way a lifeless instrument, a dead machine: it is a living and therefore organised being. This organic nature of the State has not always been understood …. a man is not a mere quantity of cells …; and so too the nation is not a mere sum of citizens, and the State is not a mere collection of external regulations.’ (Bluntschli, 1895) Though Bluntschli does note that this is analogous and not a literal description ‘In calling the State an organism we are not thinking of the activities by which plants and animals … consume … reproduce ... We are thinking rather of the following characteristics of natural organisms:— (a) Every organism is a union of soul and body, ... (b) Although an organism is and remains a whole, yet in its parts it has members, which are animated by special motives and capacities…. (c) The organism develops itself from within outwards, and has an external growth.’ (Bluntschli, 1895)
Nonetheless the organic state notion was expanded upon with considerations for the theory of evolution which tended to almost forget this was an analogy. German geographers in particular wrote dwelled on the idea. Friederich Ratzel introduces the idea that the organic states have spatial requirements in...

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