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The European Union and the Geopolitics of the Arctic

Andreas Raspotnik

The Arctic is a region that has seen exponential growth as a space of geopolitical interest over the past decade. This insightful book is the first to analyse the European Union’s Arctic policy endeavours of the early 21st Century from a critical geopolitical perspective.
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Chapter 2: The thought experiment referred to as geopolitics

Andreas Raspotnik


For over a century, classic geopolitics has highlighted geographical variables as instrumental for an actor’s foreign policy behaviour. Although academically not trendy, it remains a popular approach to simplify complex global relationships. Critical geopolitics challenges this apparently straightforward correlation between geography and power. It argues that the assigned causal relationship is a constructed one for a very specific purpose in order to authorise an actor’s actions in a certain region. Recently, these critical voices have started to explore the European Union’s foreign policy behaviour and its distinct geopolitical nature. Accordingly, the European Union has developed geopolitical ambitions alongside its own conceptualisation of world order, core values, rule of law and good governance. The related discourse emphasises the Union’s globally stabilising and democratising role as an international actor.

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