Chapter 4 - Applied Geopolitics
4.1 "Internal Geopolitics" ; Yves Lacoste School
The geopolitical renaissance in Europe is associated with the activities of geographer Yves Lacoste, who founded the Herodotus magazine in 1976, where geopolitical texts began to be regularly published for the first time in post-war Europe. It should be emphasized that the head was a man close to left-wing political circles, while until that moment only fairly marginal right-wing, nationalist circles were engaged in geopolitics in Europe.
In 1983, Herodotus magazine introduced the subtitle “journal of geography and geopolitics” in the title, and from that moment the second life of geopolitics begins, which is now officially recognized as a special political science discipline that helps in a comprehensive analysis of the situation.
Yves Lacoste seeks to adapt geopolitical principles to the current situation. Lacoste himself does not share the "organist approach" characteristic of the continentalist school, nor the purely pragmatic and mechanistic geopolitical utilitarianism of Sea Power ideologists. From his point of view, geopolitical considerations serve only to "justify the rival aspirations of the authorities in relation to certain territories and the people inhabiting them " (14). This may concern both international relations and narrowly regional issues.
At Lacoste, geopolitics becomes only an instrument for analyzing a specific situation, and all global theories underlying this discipline are reduced to relative, historically determined concepts.
Thus, Lacoste offers a completely new definition of geopolitics, in fact a new discipline. This is no longer continental thinking, based on fundamental planetary civilizational-geographical dualism and coupled with global ideological systems, but the use of some methodological models that were present in traditional geopolitics in a general context, but taken in this case as something independent. This is a " deglobalization" of geopolitics , reducing it to a narrow analytical method.
Such geopolitics is called "internal geopolitics" (la geopolitique interne), as it is often involved in local problems.
4.2 Electoral "geopolitics"
A variation of such internal geopolitics is a special technique developed to study the connection between the political sympathies of the population and the territory in which the given population lives. The forerunner of this approach was the Frenchman Andre Siegfried (1875 1959), a politician and geographer. He made the first attempts to investigate "internal geopolitics" in relation to the political sympathies of certain regions. The first formulations of the laws go back to him, which formed the basis of the "electoral geopolitics" of the new school of Yves Lacoste.
"Each party or, more precisely, each political trend has its own privileged territory; it is easy to notice that just as there are geological or economic regions, there are also political regions. The political climate can be studied in the same way as the natural climate. I noticed that despite deceptive appearances, public opinion, depending on the regions, remains constant. Under the ever-changing picture of political elections, one can trace deeper and more constant trends that reflect regional temperament." (15)
At Lacoste’s school, this theory was systematically developed and became a familiar sociological tool that is widely used in political practice.
4.3 Media democracy as a “geopolitical” factor
Yves Lacoste set himself the task of introducing the latest criteria inherent in the information society into geopolitics. Among the information systems that directly affect geopolitical processes, the media, especially television, have the greatest value. In modern society, it is not the conceptually rational approach that dominates, but the brightness of the "image" ("image"). Political, ideological and geopolitical views are formed in a significant part of society solely on the basis of telecommunications. The media "image" is an atomic synthesis in which several ethnic, cultural, ideological, and political approaches are concentrated at once. The synthetic quality of the “image” brings it closer to those categories that are traditionally operated by geopolitics.
An informational report from some hot spot about which nothing is known, for example, a resident of the capitol, should, in the shortest possible time, present the geographical, historical, religious, economic, cultural, ethnic profile of the region, as well as place emphasis in accordance with a narrowly defined political purpose. Thus, the profession of a journalist (especially a television journalist) is moving closer to the profession of geopolitics. Mass media in modern society is no longer playing a purely supporting role, as before, but it is becoming a powerful independent geopolitical factor capable of exerting a strong influence on the historical destinies of peoples.
4.4 History of geopolitics
There is one more direction within the framework of the general process of “revival” of European geopolitics, the history of geopolitics. It is not in the full sense of the word geopolitical, since it aims at the historical reconstruction of this discipline, work with sources, chronology, systematization, bibliographic data, etc. In a sense, this is a "museum approach", not claiming any conclusions and generalizations in relation to the current situation. Such a historical line is represented, first of all, by the works of Pierre-Marie Gollois and authors such as Herve Cuto-Begari, Gerard Schalian, Hans-Adolph Jacobsen, etc.
As part of this initiative, the texts of the historical geopoliticians of Mackinder, Mahan, Chellen, Haushofer, etc. are published and reprinted.
Historical studies of this kind are often published in the French journal Herodotus and the new Italian geopolitical journal Limes, published by Lucho Caracolo and Michel Korenmann, with the participation of the same Lacoste.
4.5 "Applied Geopolitics" is not geopolitics
Applied or “internal geopolitics”, developed by Yves Lacoste, as well as other major experts, Michel Korenmann, Paul-Marie de la Gors, etc., is characteristic of modern European political science and consciously avoids conceptual generalizations and futurological developments. This is the fundamental difference between this whole area, especially developed in France and Italy, from the atlantist and mondialist schools in the USA and England.
Applied geopolitics retains much less connections with historical, pre-war geopolitics than Atlanticism and mondialism, not to mention the “continent of the Listian” tradition. This is a purely analytical, political science, sociological technique and nothing more. Therefore, a distinction should be made between it and the planetary global projects of geopolitics proper. In essence, we are talking about two disciplines that bring together only terminology and some methods. Ignoring geopolitical dualism, considering it either overcome, or insignificant, or simply going beyond the frames of the main subject of study, “applied geopolitics” ceases to be geopolitics in the proper sense of the word and becomes only a kind of statistical sociological methodology.
Real geopolitical decisions and projects related to the fate of Europe and the peoples inhabiting it are being developed in other instances connected with the strategic centers of Atlantism and mondialism. Thus, the project of European integration was developed exclusively by the efforts of intellectuals who collaborated in the "Tripartite Commission", i.e. in a mondialist supranational organization that does not have either a strict legal status or political legitimacy. The Frenchman Jacques Attali developed his geopolitical theories based on the data of this particular organization of which he was a member, and not on the basis of the “applied” geopolitics of the modern European school.