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...


Bibliography: CNN 2011, ‘U.S. Military Personnel by Country’, viewed 18 May 2014, from < http://edition.cnn.com/interactive/2012/04/us/table.military.troops/>
Dalby, S and Toal, G 1998, Rethinking Geopolitics, Routledge, London.
Holmes, JR & Yoshihara, Y 2009, ‘Mahan’s lingering Ghost’, United States Naval Institute Proceedings, vol. 135, issue 12, pp. 40-45, viewed 16 May 2014, from < http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy1.library.usyd.edu.au/docview/205990005?accountid=14757>
Holmes, JR 2011, ‘What’s the matter with Mahan?, United States Naval Institute Proceedings, vol. 137, issue 5, pp. 34-39, viewed 16 May 2014, from < http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy1.library.usyd.edu.au/docview/874205311>
Mahan, A 1890, The Influence of Sea Power Upon History, 1660-1783, Little, Brown and Co., New York.
Mayerson, D, Piper, K & Ojukwu, C 2012, ‘Oil and Gas Resources off the West Coast of the United States’, Search and Discovery, vol. 2, issue 1, pp. 1-37, viewed 16 May 2014, from < http://www.searchanddiscovery.com/pdfz/documents/2012/20135mayerson/ndx_mayerson.pdf.html>
Parker, RD 2003, ‘Mahan for the Twenty First Century: His Principles Still Apply to National Power’, Report on Mahan’s Relevance, United States Marine Corps, Marine Corps University.
The World Bank 2012, ‘Military Expenditure’, viewed 16 May 2014, from < http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/MS.MIL.XPND.GD.ZS>
Walters, RE 1975, The Nuclear Trap: An Escape Route, Penguin Books, Baltimore.
Wohlforth, WC 1999, ‘The Stability of a Unipolar World’, International Security, vol. 24, issue 1, pp. 5-41, viewed 18 May 2014, from < http://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/abs/10.1162/016228899560031#.U36jnZSSxYw>
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Alfred Thayer Mahan Essay
  • Naval Philosophies of CAPT Mahan and ADM Zumwalt Essay
  • Art History Research Paper

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free