"This is the only region in the world where so many combinations and permutations of two- three and four- and even two plus four or three plus three- power games can be played on the regional chessboard with all their complexities and variations."
The concept of strategic geometry comprises the notion that that the interactions and interconnections between a number of political actors within a particular system of international relations, either global or regional can be seen in terms of geometric patterns of strategic configurations. It can be a case of simple geometry, in which A interacts with B: but in a more complex system such as that of Asia, with the presence of more than one major actor, each with their distinct, sometimes conflicting political agendas, the interaction between A and B will be likely to affect C or influenced by C.
The concept of an international system' itself implies that events are not random, and units within the system are interrelated in some patterned way. This patterning' maybe envisaged or conceptualized as patterns of strategic geometry.
Any attempt to analyze the transition from a Cold War system of international relations to a post Cold War one, will incorporate an analysis of the general nature of the system itself, in this case the system of international relations in Asia; of the actors involved and their respective roles; how changes in the political environment and in specific policies of the actors shape the evolution of a new system; and finally the nature of the new system with its own actors, their new roles, and new concerns.
The concept of strategic geometry enables us to understand these changes in the political dynamics from one system to another, in our case the transition from the Cold War to the post Cold War era, by serving as an analytic tool. If we view the international relations of Asia, more and the interactions of the main actors in terms of strategic configurations and geometric patterns of alignments and oppositions, then we can assess changes in the political system over time by way of the changes in the strategic geometry. Some strategic configurations change, others remain the same, while new patterns of strategic geometry appear, as the old forms dissolve--the explanations behind the shifting pattern of strategic geometry is what enables us to understand the transition from the Cold War era to the post Cold War.
Geopolitical and politico-economic factors have in some cases changed the content, but not the form of the particular strategic configurations and in some cases however, we find both form and content are changed. In my essay I will focus on this dual analysis of the content and form of the major patterns of strategic geometry and their change over time from Cold War to post Cold War. In order to assess the usefulness of the concept of strategic geometry, we must first see how well the concept is expressed in the international relations of Asia. Firstly I will briefly outline the general strategic concerns or tenets of the Cold War era, the roles and interactions of the actors involved, and the major strategic geometric patterns this produced. The second part of my essay will comprise an analysis of the evolution of the system, and the tenets of the new post cold war system, drawing attention at the same time to the usefulness of the concept of strategic geometry to explain the transition.
One may even conceptualize pre -Cold War international relations in strategic geometric terms: the past is replete with instances of three-way interactions between Japan, China and the Soviet Union. According to Mandlebaum, the fate of the region has "for the last two centuries' depended on the fate of three major powers--China, Japan and Russia, on the stability and tranquillity of their mutual relations." Hence we may presume that it is not novel or...