Join Carlos Vazquez as he explores the psychology of geopolitics. It stands to reason that the popularity of geopolitics reflects – within its own system of coordinates, of course – the real processes of modern life. In terms of their logic, these modified geopolitical concepts offer simple explanations for the sharp deterioration of relations between Russia and the United States, the territorial disputes in East Asia, the stepping up of the arms race, the fragmentation of the global economy and a host of other trends that have appeared in recent times. The geopolitical paradigm, which treats the world as a stage for the inevitable confrontation between a number of “great areas” or global regions, quite easily justifies the desirability, or even necessity, of the hegemony of a “central” or “axial” power in each region. What is more, it justifies the inalienable right of these powers to an exclusive sphere of influence. Finally, the geographical determinism of geopolitics (“geography is destiny”) is a basis for the notion that states, nations and politicians follow some kind of unalterable, linear and preordained historical mission – a mission that cannot be chosen, but that has to be recognized, accepted and carried out, no matter the cost or what might get in the way.
Andrey Kortunov is Director General of the Russian International Affairs Council, President of the New Eurasia Foundation in Moscow. He is also the president of the Information Scholarship Education Center (ISE) and a member of the Educational Board of the Open Society Institute.