Society, Space and Power. Challenges, deficits and news regarding critical geopolitics (Part 1)

Heinz Nissel

Is it sensible and necessary to re-engage with this topic after four years? Yes, for several reasons. On the one hand, classic and deterministic geopolitics is not dead, but celebrates something of a Renaissance amongst a number of European think tanks, as recently criticized by the philosopher of history, Hauke Ritz (2013).[3] However, he throws out the baby with the bathwater when he declares that “Geopolitics is a discipline that has always been practiced by the military and thus represents an art of war.”[4] This can, at best, be accepted in times and areas where the military practices and controls political power. In democracies, the primacy of politics prevails and the military is bound by instructions. Statecraft comes before the art of war. One thing, however, unites the semantics of this obscure circle of political fantasists as well as its critics – they are mired in obsolete mindsets. They completely ignore the existence of critical geopolitics and its investigative function. The author considers the Austrian Military Journal to be the right place to extend this approach to political geography beyond a narrow, specialist interpretation and to encourage discussion.