Beyond the ‘Outer Crescent’: the Mackinder century in New Zealand geopolitics

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Abstract:

This paper proposes that, although Mackinder never mentions New Zealand in his influential 1904 paper and despite the absence of a formal Kiwi geopolitical tradition, ‘The geographical pivot of history’ provides a useful framework with which to approach New Zealand geopolitics. The argument uses two Mackinderian ideas to suggest three phases in New Zealand's security relationships during the Mackinder century. First, New Zealand's commitment to Mackinder's ‘pivot area’ notion of ‘imperial defence’ and ‘collective security’ characterized its dependent security phase. Between 1973 and 1990/91 there was a transitional security phase towards Mackinder's second ‘global interconnectedness’ idea. Third, this shift led to a current interdependent security phase which is characterized by the recognition that New Zealand's security relationships, despite its geographic isolation, are mutually dependent on political, economic, and military events around the world. The impact of 11 September 2001 and the consequent ‘war on terror’ are also considered. The paper concludes by suggesting that New Zealand's post-conflict reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq point to the continuing relevance of Mackinder's ‘The geographical pivot of history’ to New Zealand geopolitics.

Keywords: Mackinder; New Zealand geopolitics; ‘The geographical pivot of history’

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.0016-7398.2004.00138.x

Affiliations: Department of Geography and National Centre for Research on Europe, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand, Email: p.mayell@geog.canterbury.ac.nz

Publication date: December 1, 2004

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