The Return of Geopolitics in Europe? Social Mechanisms and Foreign Policy Identity Crises by Stefano Guzzini (ed.)

Nachiket Khadkiwala is Research Assistant at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi. Click here for detailed profile
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  • March 2015
    Book Review

    The end of the Cold War was one of the defining moments in Europe’s geopolitical history. The ‘frozen spatiality’ that dominated the geopolitical space of Europe for half a century came undone. The emergence of a new spatial reality brought with it a novelty of issues that had to be dealt with by strategic and political elites and their appendages (academia and media). Their interpretation of the end of the Cold War, and the choices they made, were critical in the evolution of a particular type of geopolitical thought and foreign policy discourse.

    The Return of Geopolitics in Europe explains the recurrence of geopolitical thought in post-Cold War Europe. The ‘puzzle’ that Guzzini and his co-authors try to solve is to explain why geopolitics returned to Europe after the end of the Cold War. The book discusses a particular kind of geopolitics that appeared in Europe, termed ‘neo-classical geopolitics’, which relies on geographical determinism. Neo-classical geopolitics is ‘defined as a policy-oriented analysis, generally conservative and with nationalist overtones, that gives explanatory primacy, but not exclusivity, to certain physical and human geographic, and gives precedence to a strategic view, realism with a military and nationalist gaze, for analysing the “objective necessities” within which states compete for power and rank’ (p. 70).