Introduction to geopolitics 3rd ed. London: Routledge. Thus far, we have really focused on the ability of agents to make strategic geopolitical choices and decisions and how these choices are complicated by competing goals and changing circumstances. However, decisions are not made in a social and political vacuum.
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Introduction to geopolitics 3rd ed. London: Routledge. Thus far, we have really focused on the ability of agents to make strategic geopolitical choices and decisions and how these choices are complicated by competing goals and changing circumstances.
However, decisions are not made in a social and political vacuum. Our ability to make choices is an important aspect of our everyday lives. This ability affords us some modicum of control in a very complex socio-political landscape. Indeed, our ability to make key decisions is an exercise of our personal agency.
This agency aids in our strategic navigation and negotiation of social, political, cultural, and economic terrain so that we can work towards social, cultural, financial etc. But, as the last paragraph highlighted, we make these decisions within a structure that shapes and constrains the selection of choices and decisions we have to make.
This is certainly true at the individual scale—and now we will investigate how geopolitical structure works at the national and global scales. A cautionary note worth repeating from Flint, , p. It is a historical model that interprets a wealth of historic data in a simplified framework. In other words, it is a descriptive model. His view of geopolitics is limited to conflicts between the major powers; smaller countries and geopolitical actors that are not countries are not included in this model.
However, the model is useful for introducing the idea of a geopolitical structure and offering a context for current geopolitical events. Long Cycle Theory George Modelski, who presented his ideas in the book, Long Cycles in World Politics , is the chief architect of long cycle theory. In a nutshell, long cycle theory describes the connection between war cycles, economic supremacy, and the political aspects of world leadership.
Long cycles, or long waves, offer interesting perspectives on global politics by permitting "the careful exploration of the ways in which world wars have recurred, and lead states such as Britain and the United States have succeeded each other in an orderly manner.
Modelski divides the long cycle into four phases. When periods of global war, which could last as much as one-fourth of the total long cycle, are factored in, the cycle can last from 87 to years. Many traditional theories of international relations, including the other approaches to hegemony, believe that the baseline nature of the international system is anarchy.
They are part of the living processes of the global polity and social order. Wars are "systemic decisions" that "punctuate the movement of the system at regular intervals. After all, long cycles have provided, for the last five centuries, a means for the successive selection and operation of numerous world leaders.
Modelski used to believe that long cycles were a product of the modern period. He suggests that the five long cycles, which have taken place since about , are each a part of a larger global system cycle, or the modern world system. Under the terms of long cycle theory, five hegemonic long cycles have taken place, each strongly correlating to economic Kondratieff Waves or K-Waves. The first hegemon would have been Portugal during the 16th century, then the Netherlands during the 17th century. Next, Great Britain served twice, first during the 18th century, then during the 19th century.
In particular, it helps us to observe the ways in which world leaders play a key role in creating a global geopolitical structure. Further, he notes that we can examine how the geopolitical structure changes over time, and how that change aids our interpretation or contextualization of geopolitical codes of the US, other states, or non-state actors.
Some key elements of his theory are: Power is a function of global reach the ability to influence events across the globe. Power in this model is about strength and dominance. Note the feminist geopolitical critique of this conception of power. An innovation refers to bundles of institutions, ideas and practices. Cycles of world leadership are dynamic—they rise and fall.
Introduction to Modelski’s Model of World Leadership
Modelski was on our faculty for nearly 30 years, beginning in until his retirement in After his retirement, he moved to Washington, DC where he remained active in research, conferences, and publishing. He was a major contributor to international relations theory, the study of multinational corporations as actors in international relations, and the study of leadership in international relations. He is best known for his work on long-cycles in global politics in depicting regularities in the rise and decline of world powers from the 15th century to the present. That work appeared in a book Long Cycles in Global Politics Macmillan and was further developed in a book Seapower in Global Politics Macmillan with William Thompson along with numerous articles and book chapters. Modelski saw long-cycles as a mechanism of evolutionary world politics, and more broadly system evolution.
Thompson, William R.
Passing of George Modelski