Macinder's Grand Theory Analysis

Topics: Russia, Russia, Navy Pages: 5 (1001 words) Published: March 6, 2015


To elaborate on Mackinder’s grand theory it is necessary to discuss its key themes. The first theme of Mackinder’s theory was about historical struggle for power be-tween maritime and terrestrial powers. He insisted that, as a consequence of that struggle, the world had become a ‘closed political system’, with no new lands left for the European powers to discover, to conquer, and expand into. Maritime and terres-trial powers would then struggle for dominance of the world, and the victor would be in a position to set up a world empire. As an example Mackinder referred to the UK as a maritime power, challenged by European terrestrial powers, France, Germany and Russia. Mackinder gave precedence to the UK which, thanks to its incomparable navy,...

In Mackinder’s thoughts maritime power was fundamentally a matter of appropriate land bases, resources and skilled manpower. To explain this, Mackinder described a ‘closed seas’ theory. According to this theory the foundation of dominance on the water had been the action of maritime power to exclude sea bases to rivals. In Petersen’s words: ‘The Indian Ocean had effectively been closed by Britain’s navy to rival powers by denying them significant sea bases around the region’ (Petersen, 2011, p.13). Although this was mere fact, Mackinder was sceptical about it asking two basic questions. Firstly, how long could Britain’s naval regime be maintained and ‘closed seas’ theory carried out? Secondly, what if growing land powers replete in riches, to which the sea has played so little part in their growth, decide to take to the sea and challenge that supremacy and ‘closed seas’ theory, both from the sea and land (Petersen, 2011, p.12)? To illustrate this, Mackinder referred to the Black and Baltic seas. According to...

China will be a continental power of huge dimensions in control of a large section of the littoral of that middle sea. When China becomes strong, her present economic penetration in that region will undoubtedly take on political overtones. It is quite possible to envisage the day when this body of water will be controlled not by British, American, or Japanese sea power but by Chinese air power (Spykman, 1942, p.469).

In fact, with China’s development of asymmetric and anti-access/area-denial (A2/AD) capabilities and tactics, designed to deny the US and Japan Navy easy entry to the East and South China Sea and other coastal waters, Spykman with his concentration on the ‘Rimland’ and his more sophisticated view of geopolitics seems almost contemporary (Kaplan, 2012, p.97,...
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