Expounding Geopolitical Factors Affecting the Formation of Strategic Relations

Document Type : Original Article


1 Ph.D Student in Political Geography, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran

2 Political Geography, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran


Extended Abstract
During these decades, some concepts like “strategic alliance”, “strategic coalition”, “strategic participation” and “strategic competition” have been used in media and diplomatic literature that all of them are defined in the framework of “strategic relations”. This research is intended to expound strategic relations at the first step and to investigate the relation between this concept and the four above mentioned concepts and also to extract geopolitical factors of strategic relations at the second step.  
   The research method adopted here is based on induction and its tactics like library findings,interview with specialists and inferential analysis are used regarding the requirements.
 Competition and cooperation in the geopolitical theories: from geopolitical point of view, competition is a kind of group conflict in international system which requires the existence of the states, powers or organizations which are similar to the states and are taken different forms based on the situations of the historical evolution. Geopolitical point of view toward competition roots is close to realist school in international relations. During the history reaching national interest is known as jumping-off place in the competition of powers in international relations arena, and regarding that reaching geopolitical goals are among the most objective and tangible interests of a state interests, the way of reaching these interests passes from geopolitical competitions path.   
Strategic relations as relations which are based on cooperation and competition (etymology): the literature review and interview results show that strategic relation is: an spectrum of bi-or-multi faceted relations which can have a cooperation-based or competition-based nature or both of these natures and includes different political, military, economic and military areas and are seen vital due to some causes like “including strategic action”, “activism of strategic actors”, “having strategic consequences” and “occurring in strategic domains”. The word “relation” can include both positive (good) and negative (bad) relations. Hence, the concept of strategic relation includes any interaction which comprise of relations ranging from good to bad based on competition or cooperation provided that it is in connection with national interest or security. 
International relations and interactions may be evaluated as strategic due to the following reasons:

these relations are strategic, because they follow vital goals;
being strategic is the result of interaction in the domain of the interests which are in connection with national security;
relations and interactions between the units are seen strategic due to the ability of actors to affect the system. The actors can have strategic weight due to having high level of national power, strategic geographic location, resources or monopoly of a goods, historical, cultural and civilization values.

For some decades, strategic relations had been seen as strategic alliance, namely the word “relation” was only correspond with cooperative relations. Hence, when it was claimed that the actors have strategic relations, it was meant the alliance between the two actors, and the definitions did not go far from this concept. This means that the nature of the relation and competition was absent as a reality in the interaction in the scientific literature. As it is expounded in this research, strategic relation is a relation that the element of the competition is active in it. Competition is a kind of relation and institutionalized issue in the structure and nature of the international system.     
Strategic relation has a geopolitical nature in both cooperative and competitive natures and the roots of cooperation and competition is expounded by geopolitics, but in other level and more accurately in the definition of indexes of strategic relation, strategic geopolitics of the states are determinant. The use of geopolitics in this stage is that the actors define their foreign relations based on the perceptions of interests, priorities and geopolitical lines of national security. Namely, geopolitics forms the formation of politicians’ perceptions towards national interests of the state in relation with surrounding area, and it is natural that it forms orientation of foreign policy of the actors that one of these orientations is having strategic relations with the actors.


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Volume 16, Issue 57
April 2020
Pages 1-36
  • Receive Date: 24 December 2018
  • Revise Date: 17 November 2018
  • Accept Date: 15 June 2019
  • First Publish Date: 20 March 2020