Geopolitics is based on the nature of politics and relations defined by the real spaces in which we live. Over time thanks to technology these spaces have changed and have become much closer. The seas that used to make a ground invasion impossible have become much smaller on a planet where a nuclear strike could hit any location in the world in a matter of hours or some would speculate minutes. Technology has also opened up new spaces onto which a geopolitical logic can be applied. In fact there is a surprising correlation between the layout of the world’s current military landscape and its digital geopolitical landscape and this is not by some bit of random chance.
If we take a look at a “Hard Power” map of the world, showing the rough locations of foreign military bases, especially those of NATO then we can see a very clear picture of the geopolitical landscape of our planet.
Source: Telegraph.co.uk (via Pinterest)
Source: Foreign Policy
Source: Swiss Institute for Peace and Energy Research (via Big Think)
We shouldn’t be so naive as to think that NATO and Russia just give out the addresses to all their bases to the press so they can compile nice infographics for Google to show in search results. Furthermore, change happens quickly and the US base in Kyrgyzstan often shown on such maps has already been closed, but in general, we are able to see a Hard Power picture of the world with the following characteristics.
NATO: Dominates the majority of the surface of the globe surrounding Russia and China.
China: Is the second most powerful economic nation on the planet yet it does not project much power outside of its borders, however within itself it has very solid control.
Russia: Does try to project power outside of its borders but mostly in terms of the territories it lost as a punishment for losing the Cold War.