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Main schools of geopolitical thought Russian geopolitics Despite the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Russia remains the largest country in land area in the world. Russias European territory, in fact, is nearly equal in size to the land area of the rest of that continent. The size of European Russia has rendered its influential in international geopolitics for centuries, as Mackinder had recognized the role of Russia in defining the heartland. Yet, Russias vast geopolitical potential was only beginning to be realized by the end of the 19th century. Relative to the rest of Europe, the Czarist Empire was huge, peripheral, back-ward and isolated. Yet the vast and fertile Russian territory had long been targeted by foreigners for invasion. During the Middle Ages, Russia had been invaded by the German speaking Teutonic Knights from the west and by the Mongols and other asiatic nomads from the east. Meanwhile, Russias economic development lagged far behind that of Western Europe; industrialisation came late to Russia, which remained a feudal society long after Britain, France, Germany and other European powers had become characterized by industrial capitalism. Russian geopolitics is ,in large measure, derived of Russia perception of itself as vulnerable, isolated and peripheral. This was recognized as early as the late 17th century by Peter the Great, who travelled throughout western Europe before ascending the Russian throne in 1689. After he became Czar, tried to transform Russia into a major European power by encouraging Western influence. He opened Russia to Western trade and established the city of St. Petersburg on the Baltic as the new capital of the Russian state. Peter the Great and his successors established the traditional cornerstones of Russian international policy: secure borders, access to warm-water ports, elimination of economic dependency and expansion to the east. The borders of the Russian Empire display different geographical contexts: to the north Russia is bordered by the

Arctic Ocean, to the south the great mountain ranges of Asia. The western border, the Russian Plain was always very dangerous, because of its accessibility acted as an important invasion route for centuries. That is why, the western border has been secured constantly, especially against the expansion of Germany. Another geographic factor which has influenced the Russian geopolitics referred to the climatic constraints. The major rivers and ports of Russia are blocked by ice for several months each winter, diminishing the Russian trade flows mainly to western Europe. Only Murmansk in far northern Russia is an ice-free port, but its remote location on the Arctic Ocean renders it of little value for trade with western Europe. Thus, a major objective of Russian policy has been expansion to warm-water ports and trading opportunities. In particular, Russia desired control of the Black Sea and the Bosphorus and Dardanelles Straits, connecting the Black Sea to the Mediterranean and consequently to the Atlantic. Russian control of this territory stayed at the root of the Crimean War of 1853-1856. Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, Russia expanded steadily to the southwest. In paralel, there has been an eastward movement through Siberia to the Pacific Ocean. Throughout the 17th to 19th century, Russian influence in Asia expanded steadily. The establishment of Vladivostok and other Pacific ports and the completion of the Trans-Siberian railway helped to link Siberia with European Russia. Thinly populated Siberia stands in sharp contrast with the densely populated countries of eastern Asia to the south. Throughout the Middle Ages, Russia had experienced successive invasions of Asians and the fear of countinued Asian and particularly Chinese expansion has long been a dominant component of the Russian worldview. The overthrow of the Czars and the subsequent establishment of the Soviet Union brought about some fundamental changes in Russias approach to geopolitics. After the Russian Revolution had established a communist government in the Soviet Union, Soviet leaders argued the

merits of using Russia as a base from which to encourage worldwide socialist revolution as opposed to concentrating on the economic development of the Soviet Union itself. This debate was critical to the struggle for power between Stalin and Trotsky, the former sustained the policy of socialism within one country, whereas the latter intended to facilitate an international socialist revolution. Stalin viewed the Soviet state as a socialist island surrounded by hostile, capitalist enemies, so during the 1930s he sponsored large-scale industrial development programs, aiming to build a strong military system. During the existence of the Soviet Union from 1917 to 1991, geopolitics was considered to be the preserve of the bourgeois democracies. The Russian word geopolitika is a transliteration of geopolitics and became a term of abuse, as it was equated with militaristic capitalism. Its promoters were seen as lackeys of imperialism. In the mid-1950s the Soviet view of world affairs changed dramatically. The Soviet navy has changed its range from Soviet coastal waters to worldwide operations. At the same time, the demand for independence in the European colonies began to escalate, and the region became viewed as a zone of competition between the West, led by the US and the USSR. The USSR saw its role as assisting national liberation movements, later codified as part of the Brezhnev doctrine. According to this, USSR was supposed to intervene in Africa, Asia and Latin America to disrupt the capitalist order in the 1970s. The declaration of active support of revolution without frontiers was accompanied by practice in different places of the world. The Soviet Union provided military and economic aid to self-proclaimed revolutionary governments in Angola, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Ethiopia, Kampuchea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Laos and lesser amounts of aid to other Third World left-wing governments and movements. The other element of Brezhnevs Doctrine was the proclamation that Soviet control of Eastern Europe was irreversible, especially

after 1968 when the Red Army had put down the Czech ambitions for independence. This was considered until the so-called Sinatra Doctrine came into play in autumn 1989. The name came from Gennady Gerasimov, the Gorbachev spokesperson, stated that Eastern European countries could do it their way, paraphrasing the popular Frank Sinatra song I did it my way. In effect, Soviet leader Gorbachev stated that the Eastern European states could follow their own destinies, as civil unrest was growing in all of the Eastern European countries. The result was the rapid success of popular movements in Czechoslovakia, Poland, East Germany, Hungary and Romania, the unification of Germany and the replacement of Communist regimes by popularly elected gobernments in Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Bulgaria. Geopolitics in the United States Although geopolitics in the 19th and early 20th centuries was focused primarily on Europe, the US had emerged as one of the most powerful countries in the world by the time of WWI. In less than a century and a half, the US grew from a European colonial outpost on the western shores of the North Atlantic Ocean to a leading military and economic power. The US enjoyed several substantial advantages in its rise to international prominence. In contrast to the western European powers, America has enjoyed an abundance of natural resources, a large land area and secure borders. Its great distance from Europe had enabled America to remain neutral in most European conflicts. Throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, the US spent much less money for military purposes than the European countries. This money was in turn used to finance the industrialisation and economic development. Throughout American history, US foreign policy has shifted between introverted cycles in which American interest has been dominated by domestic concerns, and extroverted cycles when the US took a more active interest in international relations. Thus introvert phases represent periods dominated by a philosophy of American isolasionism, while extrovert periods

are characterized by an attitude of intervention in foreign affairs. Between the granting of American independence following the Treaty of Paris in 1793 and the end of the WWII, three extrovert periods and three introvert periods are recognized. The extrovert phases include the early years of American independence prior to 1825, the period between 1845 and 1867 when America completed its teritorial expansion across North America, and the period from the late 1890s until the end of the WWI, when the United States emerged as a global power. The period during and after the WWII represents the fourth extrovert period. After the Revolutionary War, Americas main foreign policy concerns included ensuring sovereignty over its territory and removing European influence from the New World. Achievement of these objectives brought the newly independent state into conflict with Britain and France, including the War of 1812. The result was the Monroe Doctrine adopted in 1823 which established as a cornerstone of American foreign policy the opposition to any further European colonial expansion in North and South America. Geopolitical domination of the Americas has remained a central tenet of American geopolitics ever since. The first half of the 19th century was devoted to land purchase of Louisiana in 1803, Florida in 1819, New Mexico and southern Arizona in 1853 and Alaska in 1867. The second half was devoted to the expansion of settlement across these new territories and the development of American industry. In the same time the role of the US was increased in Central and Southern Americas (the previously independent kingdom of Hawaii was annexed, and troops were sent to Cuba, Puerto Rico, Honduras, Panama and the Monroe Doctrine was invoked to justify these incursions. The Monroe Doctrine embodied three principles. First, it restated the principle of noncolonization for the European powers in the Americas. Second, it asserted the nonintervention principle by announcing that the United States would stay apart in the case of European wars since the political systems were so different. Third, it formalized the principle of nontransfer, that the United States would not submit to any

transfer of territory in the New World from any one European state to another. The Monroe Doctrine was invoked in the 1980s by President Ronald Reagan when referring to the Soviet Union and Cuban support of the Sandinista government in Nicaragua. The US entered the WWI as neutral but Woodrow Wilson the president at that time was concerned to maintain a balance of power in Europe, so in 1917 the US declared war against Germany. In fact, Americas entry into the war secured an Allied victory. After the WWI, the US moved again into an introvert phase in its foreign relations. Only during the 1930s when the tensions mounted again in Europe, the US gave up of its international policy of isolation. On December 7, 1941, the Japanese attack of Pearl Harbour in Hawaii caused the American declaration of war against the axis Powers (Japan, Germany and Italy). The destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by atomic bombs demonstrated the immense power of nuclear weapons. The end of the war in 1945 left America the worlds strongest military and economic power. However, America did not retreat into isolationism as it had done following WWI. During the late 1940s the US expanded economic and military aid to Western Europe through the establishment of the Marshall Plan and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. In early 1950s a bipolar view of international relations, contrasting Soviet communism with American democracy, was characteristic of American foreign policy. The nuclear era and the increasing arms race between the US and the Soviet Union generated the beginning of a new era in world geopolitics. In addition to the tension between isolationism and internationalism and the Monroe Doctrine, two other considerations have influenced 20th century American geopolitics the role of aviation and the role of the Arctic regions. Throughout the 20th century, American foreign policy emphasized American dominance of the sky and outer space. The Arctic Region is important because it is located along the shortest air routes between Eurasia and North America. In this respect, Arctic has been regarded as an American Mediterranean, which explains why during the Cold War era the

Arctic was considered very important to American defense. Numerous military bases and missile tracking stations were operated in Alaska, northern Canada, Greenland and Iceland.