Interview 1016 - Tim Ball Outlines 20th Century Theories of Geopolitics

03/19/20156 Comments

Dr. Tim Ball of joins us again to continue our ongoing exploration of geography, climate and politics. In this conversation we explore 20th century geopolitical theories and theorists, from Ratzel's Lebensraum to Mackinder's "Heartland" to Spykman's "Rimland" to Cohen's "Divided World." We also explore the rise of NATO in the mid-20th century and the role of the BRICS in shaping the world of the 21st.

For previous editions of this interview series, please see part one and part two.

Influences of Geographic Environment: On the Basis of Ratzel's System of Anthropo-Geography

World Conquest : The Heartland Theory of Halford J. Mackinder

Spykman's World

Geography and politics in a world divided

The Influence of Alfred Thayer Mahan Upon The Imperial Japanese Navy

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  1. candideschmyles says:

    What a gerous troll I am. I have prevented the embarrassment of zero comments.

    • candideschmyles says:

      But I did…..listen… every word….
      No major objections on a…narrative history of fanciful political philosophy… But of little more value than any night doon the pub.

  2. matthew_devall says:

    I love that this got into Russian history. I’m a history nerd in general and sort of a Rusaphile. Interesting thing about Moscow and it’s location that wasn’t mentioned. You look all over the world and you see examples of Ancient monoliths and great stone structures, but not so much in Russia, particularly in Moscow.

    Reason being…

    It’s location.

    To my understanding, because it was in the middle of a giant plane, that also made it difficult to defend from a practical, tactical standpoint. No high ground basically. Dr. Ball is correct, nature did dissuade many a potential army from getting to Moscow in the first place, but once they did, well…

    What this meant, based on my own extensive reading, is that early Moscow never made their walls, or their buildings, out of stone. They never had the time. Their city would be over run, destroyed, and rebuilt as quickly as possible (thus out of wood) to get ready for the next invader. (The city was also destroyed many times by simple fire).

    In fact, what eventually gave Moscow the chance to catch their breath was being conquered by the Huns. With the Huns in town people stopped invading them, and the Huns never really made an effort to wipe out the Russians or their culture. Just let them be as long as they payed their tributes (taxes).

    Eventually, over time, as the Hun’s overall power diminished, and a strong leader arose in Kieven Rus, Moscow was able to gain independence, and start the slow journey to being the Moscow we know today, but we don’t have all the stone structures we’d have with other civilizations, and when you think about it, that’s where we get a lot of our knowledge about those ancient civilizations. Ancient Russia is a world we really know relatively little about.

    • jeffmorgano says:

      Russia seems to have been censored from the american viewpoint.

      There are a lot of people who want to keep their research from leaking out. Especially the true essence of Pavlov’s work on nerves, and those who followed up observing the living state.

  3. Knarf says:

    Very fascinating, and it all hearkens back to long-forgotten teaching in my youth. The 1960’s classroom where I and other “accelerated” students were being groomed as cold warriors, was covered in maps with movements of armies and peoples diagrammed. Much of what Dr. Ball talks about rings a distant bell. Yes, we covered this in some detail, it was considered crucial. Well, it is crucial.

    There is something to the notion that people are shaped to some extent by their geographical location. I was born and raised in forest lowland, so at any given time the horizon was only as far as had been cleared. All young men were expected to know how to wield axe and chainsaw and bush hog mower. This was so long ago that any clearing of forest was considered progress of civilization, a decade or so before we were much concerned about Nature or preservation.

    The woods are lovely but it does make your world small. Now I live in the Southwest US, where in any direction are visible distant mountain ranges, and the sky is overwhelmingly large. Living here has changed my nature, I believe. I see everything more holistically, on a larger canvas.

    So yeah, understanding the ‘geo’ in geo-politics is crucial now more than ever, because the Internet firehose spews headlines and propaganda at a furious rate. Without a footing in ‘grounded’ reality, we are lost. Thanks for getting into this, James and Dr. Ball.

  4. jeffmorgano says:

    Dr.Tim Ball makes me think of Dr Ray Peat, what a roundtable that could be..

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