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.


  1. --------, (2001). Theory of Alliance and the Political Role of Germany at the recent Bonn Conference, Tehran: Defense and Foreign Policy Committee of Islamic Parliament Research Centre, 6308 issue, subject code 140.
  2. Ahmadi, Sayed Abbas; Badiee Azondahi, Marjan ؛ Heidari Mosello, Tahmores. (2017), “The Theoretical Explanation of the Nature of the Geopolitical Regions in Competition of the Powers”. Geopolitics Quarterly, Volume 13, Issue 47, pp. 55-78[In Persian].
  3. Azghandi, Alireza and Rushandel. Jalil (2009). Contemporary military and strategic issues; Tehran: SAMT Publisher[In Persian].
  4. Cohen, B. Saul (2008). Geopolitics of the World System, Tehran: Abrar-e-Moaser Centre.
  5. Collins, John. M.(2004), Grand Strategy; Principles and Practices, translator: Kerios Bayender, Tehran: The Institute of Political and International Studies(IPIS).
  6. Crossick, Stanley. Reuter, Etienne.(2007). China - EU: A Common Future, World Scientific Publishing Company.
  7. Czechowska, Lucyna (2013) “The Concept of Strategic Partnership As an Input in the Modern Alliance Theory". The Copernicus Journal of Political Studies ,No.2(4)
  8. Dehghani Firoozabadi, Seyyed Jalal (2004) "The Development of Conflict Theories and Cooperation in International Relations." Quarterly journal of law and politics. No. 74. Pages 115-73.[In Persian].
  9. Dehghanii Firoozabadi, Seyyed Jalal (2010) "Foreign Policy of Islamic Republic of Iran". Tehran: SAMT Publication[In Persian].
  10. Dehkhoda, Ali Akbar (1997), Dictionary, Tehran: Tehran University Press, Second Edition of the New Period.[In Persian].
  11. Ezzati, Ezatollah and Bayat, Mahboubeh (2005). Cold War and Cold Peace, Tehran: Ghomes Publications.[In Persian].
  12. Ezzati, Ezzatollah (2005). Geostrategy, Tehran: SAMT Publication, Fourth Edition.[In Persian].
  13. Fukuyama, F, (1992 ), the end of history and last man, New York: Ravager
  14. Gajauskaitė, Ieva (2014). Strategic Partnerships in Foreign Policy: Comparative Analysis of Polish - Ukrainian and Lithuanian - Ukrainian Strategic Partnerships, Lithuanian Annual Strategic Review (The Journal of Military Academy of Lithuania), Volume 11: Issue 1, pp. 189–229. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/v10243-012-0028-x
  15. Ghavam, Seyyed Abdul Ali, Imani, Hemmat (2012), “The Realist Theory of Alliance in International Relations”, The Journal of Political and International Approaches, No.30, p.37-66.[In Persian].
  16. Hafeznia, Mohammadreza(2006), Principles and concepts of geopolitics, Mashhad: Papeli publication[In Persian].
  17. Hafeznia, Mohammadreza(2010), “The theory of the emerging geopolitical structure of the world” Geopolitics Quarterly, Volume 6, Issue 19, Page 1-8[In Persian].
  18. Hax, Arnoldo C. Majluf, Nicolas, S. (1986), “Strategy and the strategy formation process”, Sloan School of Management (M.I.T.). available at: https://dspace.mit.edu/bitstream/handle/1721.1/2149/SWP-1810 15686178.pdf
  19. Holsti, K, J) 1988) ; International politics; Englewood cliffs; N. J: prentice – Hall.
  20. Hosseinpour Pouyan, Reza (2013), “Expounding Geographical and Geopolitical Factors of Relations in Geopolitical Regions”,The Journal of Geopolitics, Volume 9, Issue 30, Summer 2013, Page 161-203.[In Persian].
  21. Jervis, Robert (2006) " The Remaking of a Unipolar World". The Washington Quarterly.29:3. Pp. 7-19
  22. Jonas, Robert, (2000), “The Real Meaning of Strategy”, Strategy International, Inc, available at:  http://www.strategyinc.com/pdfs/Real%20Meaning%20of%20Strategy.pdf
  23. Kashmiri, Seyyed Mohammad (2016). "US-China Relations: From Economic Cooperation to Strategic Competitiveness", Journal of International Political Economy Studies, Vol. 1, No. 2, Autumn and Winter, pp. 81-112.[In Persian].
  24. Kenneth Waltz, Theory of International Politics, New York: Addison Wesley Publishing Company, p. 107
  25. Krasner, Martin (2000), “power as wealth in north – south economic relations “, In art and jervis ,eds
  26. Liska, George (1968),”Nation in Alliance, the Limits of Interdependence”, Paperback.    Edition, Baltimore.
  27. Maghroori, R and Ramberg, B eds (1982), Globalism vs realism. Boulder, co: westviewpress.
  28. Meshirzadeh, Homira (2009). Evolution of theories of international relations, Tehran: SAMT Publishing.[In Persian].
  29. Moisiu, Alexander. "Polarity and International System Consequences". INterdisplinary Journal of Research and Development. Vol(1),No.1,2014
  30. Morgenthau, H. J (1985 ;) Politics among nations: New York: Alfered knopf
  31. Morgenthau, Hans J. (2005), Politics among nations, translated by Homira Mushirzadeh, Tehran: Ministry of Foreign Affairs publication.
  32. Mu'in, Mohammed (1997), Mu'ayyen culture, 2nd c., Tehran: Amir Kabir Publishing.
  33. Nikolas, Fred, (2016), “Stratigy: Difination and Meaning”, Distance Consulting, available at: http://www.nickols.us/strategy_definitions.pdf
  34. Oest, Kajsa Ji Noe (2007)."The End of Alliance Theory?” Institut for Statskundskab. Københavns Universitet.
  35. Oliver Black, Conceptual  Foundations of Antitrus,  New York: Cambridge University  Press, 2005, p.18
  36. Sahargard, Majid (2007) Study on the National Energy Strategy of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the 1414 horizons, master's thesis, Faculty of Energy, Abbaspour University[In Persian].
  37. Schweller, Randall L (1994) " Bandwagoning for Profit: Bringing the Revisionist State Back in". International Security, 19, 93.
  38. Smith, Alastair (1995), “Alliance Formation and War,” International Studies Quarterly Vol. 39, No. 4, p.405-425.
  39. Walt, Stephen M (1987). The Origins of Alliances. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press,263, 273-281
  40. Walt, Stephen M (2009) “Alliances in a Unipolar World". World Politics, Vol.61, No.1 pp.86-120
  41. Websters Encyclopedic Dicitionary (1995), Revised Edition, New York.
  42. wendt, Alexander (2006). "Authoritarianism is something that governments perceive themselves", in Andrew Linkeller (editor), Society and Cooperation in International Relations, Translated by Bahram Mostaghimi, Tehran: Ministry of Foreign Affairs publication [In Persian].
  43. Whish, Richard. (2009) , Competition Law, Oxford University Press, 6th Ed.   
  44. Yazdi, Babak (04/May/2018). "Michael Porter and Concept of Competition", personal website of Babak Yazdi. Available at: http://yon.ir/4qTTc [In Persian].