Geopolitics: The Geography of International Relations / Edition 2

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Now in a thoroughly revised and updated edition, this textbook examines the dramatic changes wrought by ideological, economic, sociocultural, and demographic forces unleashed since the end of the Cold War. Saul Cohen, one of the world's leading political geographers, considers these forces in the context of their human and physical settings and explores their geographical influence on foreign policy and international relations.

Beginning with a survey of geopolitics and its practitioners, Cohen explains geopolitical terms, structure, and theory. He traces the developmental process that guides the geopolitical restructuring of the world's different realms and regions, its major and regional powers, and the global networks that link them, thus creating a map of dynamic equilibrium. The author illustrates why the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa are "Shatterbelts" while South America's role as a separate region within the Maritime realm is reinforced by Brazil's dominance as a regional power.

The author argues that the era of a world dominated, and precariously balanced, first by the American and Soviet superpowers and then by the United States alone, has run its course. The international system is now divided and better balanced by a number of major powers, each of which dominates its geopolitical region. He posits that whether certain areas become Gateways or Shatterbelts is the key question influencing global stability. For example, American influence within the Middle East is rapidly declining both because of the push of the Arab Spring and the pull of U.S. self-sufficiency in oil and natural gas. The United States is likely to give way to Russia, China, India and Japan as the main external players in the Middle East Shatterbelt. Cohen analyzes especially the current forces favoring accommodation, including the economic benefits of globalization, the common battle against terrorism, and the need to contain Iran and Venezuela, as well as to stabilize certain key failed states.

Presenting a global spatial scope, Geopolitics considers the entire hierarchy of geopolitical units—subnational, national states, and quasi states; geopolitical regions; and geostrategic realms. By emphasizing the interaction between geographical settings and changing ideological and economic forces, Cohen has succeeded in creating a new global geopolitical map.

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Editorial Reviews

Praise for the first edition:

This is the most ambitious and comprehensive survey of the field of geopolitics and current geostrategical issues available anywhere. Highly recommended.

This is the most ambitious and comprehensive survey of the field of geopolitics and current geostrategical issues available anywhere. Highly recommended.
Alan K. Henrikson
This is reality-based political geography at its best—a combination of deep factual knowledge of the world's major regions, including knowledge of their historical interaction as well as their current relations, with a panoptic world view, not of the shape of the globe as it should be but as it likely will be.
David Kaplan
I first learned about geopolitics from Saul Cohen’s classic book, Geography and Politics in a World Divided. Cohen continues as the preeminent expert on geopolitics of our era. In this new edition of Geopolitics, he provides an unbiased and insightful overview of the world as it exists today, its axes of organization, and its tension points. The writing is clear and compelling as Cohen makes geopolitical theory accessible to all interested readers. Above all, Cohen reaffirms the overwhelming significance of a geographical perspective in understanding how the modern world operates and how it is likely to change in the future. All geographers, foreign area specialists, engaged citizens, and especially policy makers would do themselves an enormous favor by reading this book and absorbing its wisdom.
Alexander B. Murphy
Saul Cohen has put together a remarkable geopolitical tour du monde that will help readers appreciate the relevance of geography to international relations. Unlike some recent geopolitical accounts that represent geography as a static, largely physical set of influences, Cohen emphasizes the dynamic mixture of physical and human geographical elements that bear on the tumultuous geopolitical world we inhabit. Avoiding jargon-laden prose, Cohen’s book is as accessible as it is wide-ranging. Its empirical detail will expand readers’ understanding of current events, and the author’s unabashed willingness to offer his own interpretations of the geographical circumstances that bear on those events will likely stimulate reflection and discussion.
California Bookwatch
The third updated edition of Geopolitics: The Geography of International Relations is a pick for college-level social science and geography holdings alike, and comes form an author who assembles a geopolitical model to help readers understand the importance of geography to international relations. It blends geographic and human elements with political background and details that embed geopolitical theory in everyday life and world experiences, comes from one of the world's leading political geographers, and strives to avoid jargon so that it can reach a wider audience. This revised textbook considers the world changes brought about by economic, demographic and political forces since the end of the Cold War, and it discusses the different, changing, fluid geopolitical features of different countries and regions and how they interact. College-level readers will find this an involving, specific text.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780742556768
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/17/2008
  • Edition description: Second Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 470
  • Product dimensions: 6.90 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Saul Bernard Cohenis University Professor of Geography emeritus at Hunter College, City University of New York, and past director of the Clark University Graduate School of Geography.

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Table of Contents

1 Introduction 1

2 Survey of geopolitics 11

3 Geopolitical structure and theory 33

4 The Cold War and its aftermath 61

5 North and Middle America 91

6 South America 147

7 Maritime Europe and the Maghreb 165

8 Russia and the Eurasian convergence zone 201

9 The East Asia geostrategic realm 253

10 The Asia-Pacific Rim 295

11 South Asia 329

12 The Middle East shatterbelt 355

13 The Sub-Saharan African shatterbelt 393

14 Epilogue 421

Bibliography 429

Index 437

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