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Aug

The meltdown of the global order

Written on August 7, 2015 by Waya Quiviger in Global Economy

Just over a century ago, in a lecture to the Royal Geographical Society, British geographer Halford Mackinder laid out the fundamental tenets of a new discipline that came to be known as “geopolitics.” Simply put, he said, international relations boiled down to the intersection of unchanging physical geography with the vagaries of human politics. Only one constant was ever in that equation: “The social movements of all times,” he said, “have played around essentially the same physical features.”But here’s the thing: Today the “geo” in “geopolitics” is actually changing, chiseling away at one of the core principles that has guided foreign policy in the United States, Europe, and Asia for the past 100 years. Oceans and islands are appearing where they weren’t before, once-constant coastlines face a salty dissolution, and formerly fertile breadbaskets are doomed to be barren. So what do we do when both parts of Mackinder’s equation are in flux?

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Published by Keith Johnson on July 23rd in Foreignpolicy.com

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