Geopolitical Theories

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Geopolitical Theories
AP HUMAN GEOGRAPHY
GEOPOLITICS
 The study of power
relationships past,
present, and future
 Branch of political
geography that
considers the strategic
value of land and sea
area in the context of
national economic and
military power and
ambitions
Alfred Thayer Mahan: 1890
 Sea power necessary to facilitate trade and peaceful
commerce
 The country that possessed power would be one that
could control the sea
 Development of a strong navy was essential
ingredient to a powerful state as was the country’s
location
 Most powerful country would have accessible and
large coastline and good harbors
Mahan
Friedrich Ratzel
 Organic Theory of
States
 “lebensraum”
ORGANIC STATE THEORY: 1897
* Founded by Friedrich Ratzel
 The state is an organism conforming to natural
laws and forced to grow & expand into new
territories in order to secure resources needed for
survival.
 State requires lebensraum


Translates to “living space”
Adolf Hitler used this theory to invade surrounding countries
and build German nationalism
 Must devour other territories to achieve this goal
HEARTLAND THEORY
 Founded by Sir Halford Mackinder
 World power is based on the assumption that the
land based state controlling the EURASIAN
heartland has the key to world domination.
• Advent of railroads
released countries from
dependence on navy to
move to army
• Warfare would move
from the water to land
• Railroads would make
heartland easy to defend
and hard to conquer
Heartland Theory Contd.
Summary:
 Believed the physical geographical quantities
(land) are the most important aspect of state
 Criticized for oversimplifying the complexity of
factors that shape global geopolitics
DOMINO THEORY
Cold War and Eastern Europe
 Destabilization from any cause in 1 country can result in the collapse
of order in a neighboring country leading to a chain of events that
affect adjoining states in turn.
 Korea (1950)
 Vietnam (1964)
 Afghanistan (1980)
Domino Theory Contd.
 President Eisenhower Speaks Out Against
Communism

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1N1_JGG4XX8
 Domino Theory – Presidents’ Perspective
 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QP9QDRDLw6c
Bush Doctrine
 Two main pillars are
identified for the
doctrine:
1. preemptive strikes
against potential
enemies, and
 2. promoting
democratic regime
change.

Bush Doctrine
 preventive war,
 depose foreign regimes that represented a potential or perceived
threat
 a policy of spreading democracy around the world, especially in
the Middle East
Close Read and Annotate
 Independently, close read and annotate “Hitler and
Lebensraum”
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