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Pakistan: A Hard Geopolitical Country, Essay Example

Pages: 1

Words: 324

Essay

In Lieven’s Pakistan: A Hard Country, the author underscores how geography has affected Pakistani military strategy: “Geography ha(s) contributed greatly to the sense of danger, often spilling over into paranoia, which characterizes the Pakistani security establishment.” (176) This remark in itself is nothing surprising: it acknowledges the relevance of geopolitics to Pakistani strategy. However, when placed in the context of Pakistani’s geopolitical relationship to the rest of the world, the concerns of the Pakistani security establishment appear truly legitimized because of Pakistani’s crucial geopolitical position.

This remark led me to do some research on geopolitical theory. One of the most prominent geopolitical theoreticians historically was Sir Halford Mackinder. Mackinder’s Heartland theory has had a profound effect on strategic thinking. Mackinder’s theory can be summarized as follows: “whoever rules the Heartland commands the World-Island; whoever rules the World-Island commands the world.” (Ismailov and Papava, 86) The World-Island is the combined connected land-mass of Europe, Asia and Africa, all connected. The Heartland or Pivot Area is crucial to controlling the World-Island. This is because it is protected from attacks from sea power, bound by the Himalayas and the Arctic; the steppe areas of the Heartland also allow for speed in movement. Control of the Heartland means the possibility to attack as well defend with more ease, while also offering vast natural resources.

When perusing a map of Mackinder’s theory, Pakistan occupies a crucial position (see graphic): it is on the direct south border of the Pivot Area or Heartland. Therefore, Pakistan is not only part of the crucial geopolitical area: it is also a border region of this area, meaning that strategic advances on the Heartland or Pivot Area may be conducted precisely through Pakistan. This explains the importance Pakistani strategists place on their country’s geographic position.

Works Cited

Ismailov, Eldar and Papava, Vladimer. Rethinking Central Eurasia.  Washington, DC: Johns Hopkins University, 2010.

Lieven, Anatol. Pakistan: A Hard Country. New York: Penguin, 2011.

MacKinder, Halford. “Heartland Theory Map.” Retrieved at: http://www.google.si/imgres?imgurl=http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/9c/Heartland.png/500px-Heartland.png&imgrefurl=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Geographical_Pivot_of_History&h=299&w=500&sz=49&tbnid=v2MpunYzMHfRnM:&tbnh=90&tbnw=151&zoom=1&usg=__HXFd-hbwqvy5aayjHTl3qGWpMAA=&docid=qKjZbIN8xOQ3XM&sa=X&ei=A_JjUvH7CIvk4wS7mIC4CA&ved=0CDQQ9QEwAg

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