chapter  8
Imagining natural divisions of global power
Pages 15

Geopolitics is a branch of political geography which argues that understanding the dynamics of space is essential for a proper understanding of international relations (Heffernan, 1998). Certainly, manoeuvrings over access to territory have always been an essential backdrop to political strategy and, as Henry Fielding commented, admittedly in a rather different context, grand designs have an enduring fascination. The theme is a universal one and has been a driving force for all the great empire-builders over the millennia. The list of ambitious men – and women are notable by their absence – who have sought to forge empires across what they saw as the known world is almost endless, but a few examples will serve to illustrate the scale and scope of their ambitions.