عنوان مقاله [English]
Geopolitics developed in the late of 19th century and the first half of 20th century with some theories that focused mainly on the role of geographic space in world power and strategies, so today these theories form an important part of geopolitical history and literature, and accurate study and recognition of geopolitics is not possible without the exact study and recognition of these theories. Therefore, study, evaluation, analysis and critique of geopolitical theories have become an integral part of geopolitical studies. In this regard, the present research evaluates and explains the status of applied recommendations in classic geopolitical theories (1875 to 1945).
Geopolitics of classic era started from the late of 19th century and ended by the end Second World War, namely the years between 1875 and 1945. In this period, two trends emerged: one originated from the common social Darwinism in this period, with the German Friedrich Ratzel being as its forerunner. In his article titled “The Laws of the Spatial Growth of States” (1896) and the book “Political Geography” (1897) and in his other works, he proposed the theory of “Organic State” and claimed that “In the state we are dealing with an organic nature. And nothing contradicts the nature of the organic more than does rigid circumscription.” Another trend was based more on geographic facts and the policies affected by the geographical conditions that were often called geostrategy. Theories of “Sea Power,” “The Geographical Pivot of History,” and “Rimland” are also related to this trend. The American “Alfred Thayer Mahan” in 1890 published the book “The Influence of Sea Power upon History, 1660-1783” and presented the theory of “sea power,” claiming that “the use and control of the sea is and has been a great factor in the history of the world.” Following this and with the advent of the transcontinental railroad age, British “Sir Halford J. Mackinder” in 1904 presented the theory of “the geographical pivot of history.” In 1919, having added a large part of Eastern Europe to the “Pivot Area,” he called it “Heartland”, claiming that “Who controls eastern Europe rules the Heartland; who rules the Heartland rules the World Island; and who rules the World Island rules the World.” Following Mackinder, American Nicholas J. Spykman presented the Rimland theory in 1943 in “The Geography of the Peace.” Unlike Mackinder, he stressed the important role of surrounding countries around the Heartland. Spykman named these countries “Rimland” and claimed that “Who controls the rimland rules Eurasia; who rules Eurasia controls the destinies of the world.” This period of geopolitics ended with the end of World War II, and a new era emerged in geopolitics that is known as the Cold War geopolitics.
The present research is a fundamental-theoretical method, through descriptive-content analysis using the first-hand library resources, evaluates and determines the status of applied recommendations in four of the most important and most well-known classic geopolitical theories - theories of "Sea Power", "Organic State", "The Geographical Pivot of History" and "Rimland".
Results and Discussion
Based on research findings and their analysis, Mahan in his “Sea Power” theory provides the statesmen of his country with a number of applied recommendations for restoration of the US military and commercial fleet and the transformation of the country into a superior sea power. He recommends the US statesmen to strengthen naval power, dig the Panama Canal, acquire numerous colonies across the world, capture stations around and near the Strait (Panama Canal), control shipping routes, and maintain a powerful naval force during the war. These applied recommendations influenced the thoughts and policies of two US presidents (McKinley and Roosevelt) to strengthen the navy and end America's isolation policy. So, several bases and islands in the Pacific and the Atlantic were conquered by the United States and the Panama Canal was dug, thereby transforming the United States into one of the greatest powers of the world and eventually replacing British naval power after World War II. Ratzel, in the theory of “Organic State” under the influence of social Darwinism, proposes a series of presuppositions to provide applied recommendation to German statesmen. For Ratzel, the German Empire as an organism requires space to survive, and the statesmen of this empire must seek to obtain a vital space in line with the growth of their growing population and think of colonial occupation. He also recommends and encourages his statesmen to adopt a realistic policy (territorial development policy) and to reach more space, which will require Germany to become a superpower, otherwise Germany will be marginalized. Being interested in preserving the hegemony of the British Empire, Mackinder also offers the most important and applied recommendation to the leaders of the British Empire in the “Geopolitical Pivot of History” theory. According to Mackinder, the leaders of the British Empire should prevent the unification of the German and Russian land powers to not let them reach the “Pivot Area” and prevent the formation of unity between these two countries. To this end, Germany and the Soviet Union should be separated by the buffer countries from each other, otherwise the two countries would dominate Eastern Europe, consequently conquering the “Heartland” and dominating the whole world. In “Rimland” theory, Spykman advocates strengthening the nation's sea power, emphasizing the value and position of sea power in domination of the world. By emphasizing that: who controls the “rimland” controls the destinies of the world,” he recommends the US statesmen to control the “rimland” area in order to dominate the world.
To sum up, it can be argued that the classic geopolitical theories, while having the fundamental-theoretical nature also have an applied nature as theoreticians of this period are of a geopolitical nature in terms of the function, efficiency and usefulness of their theories, and by presenting several recommendations have added an applied nature to their theories, so that presentation of functional recommendations has become an inherent responsibility for these theories. Therefore, applied recommendations are among the important features of classic geopolitical theories and had a special place among these theories.
38. Spykman, N. J., (1944), “The Geography of the Peace”, edited by Helen R. Nicholl, New York, Harcourt, Brace and Company.