Land Power vs. Sea Power in the Context of Maintaining Balance of Power

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GALLARDO, Raniel M.August 7, 2013
4POl3POL 282
Land Power vs. Sea Power in the Context of Preservation of Balance of Power
Based on realist perspective, geography proves to be a very essential tool in understanding, analyzing, and explaining phenomena in international politics. It is considered one of the factors that shape the behaviour of states when it comes to dealing with different global issues, most especially if these will affect their respective interests. Securing their interests, being the primary concern of each state, leads to actions that have a global impact. Historically, there were states that projected imperialist tendencies as a manifestation of their interests. This phenomenon may be related to the concept of balance of power, which can be considered as one of the most, if not the only, vital requirement in attaining stability in international politics. The said concept vis-a-vis the states seeking their respective interests can be a point of reference in comparing Sir Halford Mackinder's land power and Alfred Thayer Mahan's sea power.

The idea of land power and sea power utterly illustrates the influence of geography in explaining a certain international phenomenon. By this, Mackinder and Mahan tried to project and explain their inclinations when it comes to who really has the upper hand in being the geographical pivot and the key to world power. According to Mackinder (1904), in his article "The Geographical Pivot of History", the mobilization of land-based resources via the railway promised to redress the balance between sea- and land- power in favour of the latter. In addition, Gerry Kearns (2009) noted that the railroad, which Mackinder believed an advancement that favoured land power, "meant a new and more fully integrated world, wherein land-based power might achieve the global reach of a world empire". This favourable condition suggested that an advantage would be given to a country situated in Mackinder's...
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