Bruno Ferrari University of Uppsala, Sweden


Geopolitics – a critical assessment of the new “Great Game” in and around the Caspian Sea*
The politics of a State lies on its geography Napoleon Bonaparte1


The present paper is intended to be a brief discussion and outline of the concept of Geopolitics, its meaning and relationship with the study field of International Relations (hereafter IR). It should be noted that Geopolitics is nowadays used extensively throughout the world, on international media covers, academic research or official foreign policy discourses, a condition that does not explain its real meaning and definition, always notoriously difficult to unravel; moreover the term is used widely not only among geographers, but also by political scientists, diplomats, military strategists and journalists.2 Thus, the statement made by Napoleon is a clearcut reference to the propagandistic aim and character of the discipline, serving also as a strong analytical tool for the Statesman, when confronted with having to take decisions, choices and its consequent implementations.3

* This paper is a modified and slightly extended version of an earlier one presented at the Department of Peace and Conflict Research, University of Uppsala, 2 November 2003. I would like to thank the helpful comments of Prof. Ashok Swain to the original version. Of course, the entire responsibility on the final outcome and results of this essay remains on me, that is to say, that the usual disclaimers apply. 1 Cf. Gérard Chaliand and Jean-Pierre Rageau, Atlas Stratégique, Géopolitique des rapports de forces dans le monde, Editions Complexe, Paris, 1994. 2 See V. D. Mamadouh, “Geopolitics in the nineties: one flag many meanings”, GeoJournal, vol. 46, no. 4, 1998, pp. 237-253. 3 Besides the account of Chaliand and Rageau, op. cit, see also the valuable German assessment of geography and its connection to politics (hence,...