Mackinder or Mahan

Topics: United States, Superpower, Navy Pages: 4 (2133 words) Published: October 22, 2014

Who is more useful for understanding contemporary Geopolitics: Mackinder or Mahan? Use a major power to illustrate your points. In the current century that we live, the world is becoming a smaller place from the effects of technology and globalisation. In the 19th and 20th century, the theoretical works of Mahan and Mackinder were drivers of geopolitical thought. Both theorists’ have a similar framework where they studied political power, military strength and how they were affected by geographic space. In the modern era, geopolitics is very similar to traditional thought, which is why these theorists, in particular Mahan, are arguably still applicable to contemporary geopolitics. The ideologies that are held together by Mackinder and his concept of the ‘Heartland Theory’ are out-dated and irrelevant to contemporary geopolitics. His idea of a ‘World Island’ as set geographical position that is highly inflexible, is opposite to what is expected of modern thought. Walters (1975) argued the ‘Heartland Theory’ was one perspective of the globe, and stated, “policy is made in the minds of men; its contours may not concur with a true map of the world”. As contours are a minimal factor in Mahan’s school of thought, he has become highly popular regarding sea power. His works on Naval influence is highly relevant to contemporary geopolitics. To cater for an increasingly globalised world, that is heavily dependent on foreign resources and trade, sea power, and navies essentially, are key to ensure that a sustained level of growth and power is achieved. The United States of America is a clear example of a major power that uses its naval capacity to adhere to Mahanian logic, that reflects his tridents and six principle conditions that are still existent today. Mackinder and the ‘Heartland Theory’ was of high relevance in the 19th and 20th century. At that time, Eastern Europe was of a favourable strategic geographic area, lying on the brink of the western and eastern...

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