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Each century has had its own geographical perspective. . . . To this day, however, our view of geographical realities is colored for practical purposes by our preconceptions of the past. In other words, human society is still related to the facts of geography not as they are but in no small measure as they have been approached in the course of history.
One hundred years ago, Sir Halford John Mackinder (1861–1947) presented a bold idea that became the foundation of geopolitics and U.S. foreign policy. Originally presented to the Royal Geographical Society in 1904, but subsequently readjusted for the strategic contexts of 1919 and 1943, Mackinder proposed a model that would put into perspective the competing forces in international politics. By expressing history as ‘‘part of the life of the world organism,’’ he devised a ‘‘geographical formula’’ into which any political balance could be fit.