Discuss about The Relevance of Studying Geopolitics.
Geopolitics is one of those contentious concepts that have been debated for a long period and the debate is going still now. The scope of this theory or field is so huge and complex that the researchers and scholars are bound to represent different views on it. It has evolved and developed over the time but as the age of technology and globalization has prevailed, many people are raising questions about the relevance of studying geopolitics. This paper attempts to discuss geopolitics, the arguments against it and the vagueness of those arguments to establish that the study of geopolitics has immense importance in this age.
It is extremely difficult to define geopolitics as scholars and experts have failed to develop a proper and wholesomely acceptable definition. However, geopolitics is largely considered as the study of the interacting relation among the geography, international relations and international politics . A number of experts and scholars suggest that geopolitics tries to establish geographical determinism. This one of those arguments they present against the relevance of studying geopolitics. In the sub-Saharan countries like South Africa, environmental or geographical determinism played a huge role in determining the path of the development of the nation. A number of experts argue that South Africa was destined to be colonized because the tropical climate did not allow its residents to become civilized. Moreover, the climatic influence made their skin colors black and it led a number of theorists to assume that the European races were superior to the African inhabitants. It was observed that South African people heavily relied on agriculture and the societal foundations were not strong enough as there were limited competition. This was mainly due to the geographical position and environmental features of the nation. Thus, instead of fighting for the acquired land, the African people usually chose to flee and take charge of another land. It was a barrier in the development of the hierarchical societies. On the other hand, the European societies continuously received threats from others and it forced them to create a strong social formation. This is the one of the reasons why the European power became successful in colonizing South Africa. Many scholars suggest that such theory of geopolitics is a means for supporting imperialism, colonialism and promoting the extreme side of geographic determinism in which the geography alone determines the destiny and development of a nation. But one must understand that the geography in geopolitics simply do not refer to fixed elements such as topography and location but it also points toward the cultural, historical, and human-related aspects. It takes geography as a spatial component that can help the human beings to analyze the limits and opportunities in the broader field of the international politics. The political strategizing of a state can be designed by evaluating the threats or vulnerabilities of other states with a concentration on their geopolitical features.
The attackers also argue that geopolitics has become an obsolete subject because it considers the state as the unitary actor and wholesomely focuses on the politics of the power and the national identity. In the age of the rapidly changing world, the sense of globalization has transgressed beyond the geographical boundaries but one cannot deny the fact that every state has to critically evaluate the components, formation, and scope of the international relation in order to survive and progress . The study of critical geopolitics also concentrates on the economic and cultural aspects of the relation so that the states can properly assess their areas of strength and the fields that need improvement.
After the World War II and the post-Cold War period, geopolitics went through huge development simply because of the rapidly changing scenario of the globe. The classical geopolitics indeed heavily emphasized in the discussion and evaluation of a state's opportunities by focusing on geographical qualities but with the advent of the nuclear bombs, chemical weapons, terrorism, globally active criminal groups, it has become very difficult for a state to perfectly and appropriately assess any possible threats and opportunities . But it should be not be neglected that such global operations heavily relies on the supply of human-made and natural resources. Geopolitics tries to elaborate the fact that the proper assessment of the resources has a vital role to play in the process of determining strategies. Moreover, as emotional and cultural aspects are also parts of the geopolitical study, it helps to critically examine the scope of international relations. Terrorists and criminal groups are active throughout the world and geopolitics can help the society to determine the proper counteract by evaluating the international relations and creating a sense of unification if necessary .
There are a number of critics who think that the transnational agents of global security risks regarding the environment are making the study of geopolitics more vulnerable. But they should realize that these transnational agents are also the components of international relations. In this case, the new paradigm titled meta-geopolitics may prove to be extremely efficient. This study focuses on the traditional concepts of geopolitical strategies along with special concentration on the continuously shifting framework of global security with the help of modern tools .
Geopolitics is an extremely important topic of study from the viewpoint of international relations and strategizing the shift of state power. The contemporary modern world is obviously a complex environment. But it should be realized that the old security risks coexist with the new ones in this age of globalization. None of them are mutually exclusive. Therefore, the study of geopolitics from the classical, critical and combined views is still relevant and immensely valuable.
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 Mackubin Thomas Owens, " Mackubin Thomas. "In defense of classical geopolitics", Orbis 59, no. 4 (2015): 463-478.
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 Geoff Sloan, "Classical Geopolitical Theory: Does It Still Matter?", Journal of Global Competitivenes 13, no. 1 (2005): 101.
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 Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan, Neo-statecraft and Meta-geopolitics: Reconciliation of Power, Interests and Justice in the 21st Century (New York: LIT Verlag, 2009), 96.