Foreign Policy Research Institute A Nation Must Think Before it Acts Geopolitics: Middle Eastern Notes and Anticipations

Geopolitics: Middle Eastern Notes and Anticipations

As befits a word constructed from two parts, geopolitics is a locution with more than one meaning. To most contemporary observers of international politics, the term raises at least a whiff of Realpolitik. To those not inured to Realpolitik, geopolitics smacks of the overly simple and the primitive, as if someone were to seriously suggest that the complex dynamics of international relations could be reduced to the rules of the board game ‘‘Risk.’’ To those for whom Realpolitik is philosophically or temperamentally congenial, geopolitics can mean anything from the common-sense notion that geography and topography are factors among many to be taken into account when explaining international politics, to the extravagant claim that these are first-order causal factors in such politics.

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