Asia Europe Journal

, Volume 14, Issue 2, pp 125–134

Geoeconomics in the context of restive regional powers



Geoeconomic power and its use appear to be a crucial, albeit understudied aspect of today’s international relations. Traditionally, international power has been thought of in geopolitical rather than geoeconomic terms. Indeed, ever since the famous debate about sea power and land power between Alfred Thayer Mahan and Halford MacKinder at the cusp of the twentieth century, scholars have linked geography with the pursuit of political and military power. However, the term “geoeconomics” is of a more recent origin, and also more vexing than geopolitics. The term is commonly associated with Edward Luttwak’s writings in the early 1990s Luttwak (Natl Interes 20:17-24, 1990, Int Econ 7/5:18-67, 1993), although it did not spin a major scholarly discussion at the time. For Luttwak, geoeconomics denoted the successor system of interstate rivalry that emerged in the aftermath of Cold War geopolitics. As a consequence of the rise of major new economic powers, such as China, India and Brazil, there is renewed interest in the concept. Yet, an overview of the literature indicates that there seems to be no agreement on what exactly the term means. This special issue tackles the different ways in which the term geoeconomics is used, in the context of the policies pursued by major regional powers (e.g. China, Russia and Germany). How are we to understand the actions of these regional powers in contexts where economic interests, political power and geography intersect? In the introductory article, we overview the literature and summarise the main arguments of the individual papers.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political Science and Contemporary HistoryUniversity of TurkuTurkuFinland
  2. 2.Finnish Institute of International AffairsHelsinkiFinland

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