Courtesy Reuters

Fashions in Space

THE signal that a new fashion had arrived -- the fashion called geopolitics -- was given by the flashy journalism which suddenly raised the Professor-General Haushofer to the rôle of the "man behind Hitler." Since then new books rolling off the press almost weekly make this "new science of power politics" the "inside story" of National Socialism's secret desires and drives. The Professor's presumed power and prestige appeal no less to some American geopoliticians. What Haushofer is supposed to have done, Professor Renner thinks can be tried as well over here. Let the geopoliticians dictate the future peace; let amateurish statesmen step aside. Like any fashion, geopolitics will pass. Even so, it will leave its mark and therefore should be taken seriously. The term has come to stand for a danger zone of muddy thinking and shady ambitions. It is imperative to delineate the chief features of the new science and to give it a critical airing.

Geopolitics has three aspects, three distinct dimensions -- as a science, as a political weapon, and as a world outlook. First, it is a modern version of political geography, or anthropo-geography. As such, though neither new nor novel, it has accumulated a respectable body of scientific material. Second, it serves as a weapon of modern National Socialism, a rationalizing ideology of imperialist expansion. It is this side of geopolitics which has naturally aroused wide interest and many misunderstandings among the non-academicians. Finally, it is an all-embracing Weltanschauung which has filled the imagination and won the loyalty of a small yet significant group of ardent followers. This, the least discussed aspect of geopolitics, probably is the most crucial. Not only does it explain the appeal of this pseudo-science to so many young and susceptible minds, but it also brings out clearly its power and peril.

The difficulty of analyzing geopolitics lies not least in the fact that the three aspects are inextricably intermingled in the minds of friend and foe alike. With its enemies,

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