A Study of Neglected Theories in Geopolitical Literature of Iran

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Professor of Political Geography, University of Tehran

2 Geography, University of Tehran


The term "geopolitics" was first coined in 1899 by a Swedish political scientist named Rudolf Kellen. There are many definitions of geopolitics, sometimes it is considered as a science and sometimes it is presented in the form of knowledge and discourse. The Larousse Dictionary mentions geopolitics as a science. While critical geopolitics thinkers believe that geopolitics does not have a separate and pervasive meaning and identity, but is a different cultural and political discourse and way of describing, writing and representing geography and international politics. They believe that geopolitics is a type of power / knowledge that at the beginning of the twentieth century was concerned with the expansion of nations and the security of empires.The World Geography Dictionary believes that geopolitics are policies that Territorial relations and the aspirations of political institutions are taking place. Geopolitical theories with the nature of predicting the events of the future world system, have generally been proposed with the centrality of different geographical locations in the field of global power competition. Our main goal in this research is to study 15 geopolitical theories that have been neglected in the specialized literature of this field in Iran.
The present study is of a fundamental and theoretical type that tries to expand the boundaries of general knowledge of this science in Iran by examining the neglected theories of geopolitics. The method of data collection in this research is documentary and library and the method of data analysis is descriptive-analytical.
Results and Conclusion
So far, many theories have been studied and analyzed in the specialized geopolitical literature in Iran. However, there are some theories that have not been examined for various reasons, such as the breadth of the global geopolitical literature or the novelty of the theories. Therefore, in the present study, we reviewed and analyzed 12 important theories that were neglected in the Iranian geopolitical literature, and also in the end, we briefly introduced 3 other less cited geopolitical theories. These theories start with Charles Doran's theory in 1971 and continue to Verbowski's theory in 2020. They include: 1. The power cycle (Doran): This theory explains the changing structure of the world power system and reflects the change in structure The system and the rise and fall of a country as a great power. 2. Linkage (Kissinger): This theory connects all the sensitive and troublesome parts of the world to the Soviet Union, and considers the involvement of the United States in any conflict to examine its impact on the superpower balance. 3. The Fall of the Russian Empire (Collins): He proposed a geopolitical theory based on the conditions that determined the emergence and geopolitical collapse of territorial power and correctly predicted the fall of the Soviet Union. 4. Eurasian Chessboard (Brzezinski): This theory likens the land of Eurasia to a chessboard with a major player for the first time in US history. 5. The Last Map (Kaplan): The Kaplan map is divided into rich north and poor south, where the south, especially Africa, is doomed to chaos. In fact, this map will be an immutable display of chaos. 6. Death of Heartland (Trenin): This theory states that the new Russia has lost its former quality as the center of world power (Heartland). So by the end of the heartland, the country must join the West. 7. Systematic geopolitical configuration (Dussouy) In this attractive model, Dussouy introduces 5 spaces, which include three central levels: demographic space, diplomatic-strategic space and economic space. 8. The Maritime Ring (Cohen): He believes that the growth of population, economy and political power along the coast and ports is the main reason for the geographical change (continentalism towards navigation) that creates a Maritime ring. Cohen tests this theory in the United States and says that the maritome ring is the center of gravity of American commerce. 9. Role Realignment Theory (Lahneman): This theory, which is influenced by the Charles's cycle of power, states that with the rise or fall of nations in power cycles, power gaps in maps appear due to an inherent stagnation in the planning of roles and responsibilities. For Lahneman, role-power gaps are defined using four roles: structural, declarative, operational, and attributive. 10. The end of geopolitics and the beginning of geopolinomics (Kazi): This theory is based on the work of Demco and Wood and believes that in the 21st century, power rivalry is based on geopolnomical components such as energy corridors, modern Silk Roads and ports, Thus we are witnessing the end of traditional geopolitical patterns that have been replaced by global geopolinomics. 11. Heartland Fascination (Ristick and Malinson): This theory takes an unscientific and unrealistic view of geopolitics and argues that geopolitics and heartland fascination are very dangerous to international relations because of the instrumental approach in the actors' think tank. In addition to being unscientific, this theory ignores the pacifist geopolitical dimension (geopacific) and its applied dimension based on humanistic geopolitics. 12. The framework of network geopolitical metaphors (Verbovszky): The purpose of using metaphor in this theory is to provide a framework and vocabulary for understanding some political changes. It is a metaphorical framework, the geopolitics of a network based on a new balance of power, with the play of strategic actors, strategic disruptors, digital militants and strategic citizens. Three other lesser-cited geopolitical theories include: 1. Hierarchical regional grouping (Chrone): This theory presented ten regional groupings and believed that the Pacific would become the arena of future confrontation for the Soviet Union, the United States, and China. 2. Key regions (Silak): Silak 25 centuries ago believed that any country that dominates the three key and strategic regions, namely Bahrain, Oman and Yemen, will rule the world. 3. The Arabian Peninsula, the axis of world power (Schreiber): The focus of this theory was the Arabian Peninsula, which believed that any country that dominates the peninsula would dominate the entire continent of Europe, and that any country that dominates the continent of Europe would rule the world.


Main Subjects

Articles in Press, Accepted Manuscript
Available Online from 15 April 2021
  • Receive Date: 15 November 2020
  • Revise Date: 15 April 2021
  • Accept Date: 14 April 2021