IPSA RC 41 - Geopolitics

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2012 Madrid

Please find the papers presented in Madrid here.

During the IPSA 2012 World Congress in Madrid on July 8-12, our Research Committee on Geopolitics (RC-41) organized a business meeting and 3 panels:




Please find the full description of the panels below.

Additional information on the Congress can be found on the official IPSA web-site (www.ipsa.org).


Panel 1

Back to the Balance of Power? Asian-Pacific Contests and Realignments

Chair: Dr. Igor Okunev Discussant: Dr. Teh-Kuang Chang

The expansive Asian-Pacific region (Northeast and Southeast Asia, the South Pacific basin) assumes greater prominence in world affairs. This shift of strategic emphasis from the North Atlantic zone and Europe poses hard questions for geopolitics. To what extent are regional realignments a function of Great Power contests (USA, China, Russia, Japan)? What pivotal role should we anticipate China, in particular, to play? What place do other key regional players like Australia, Indonesia and Vietnam have in shaping this emerging balance? What are the prospects for smaller nations in the shadow of stronger actors to preserve their independence and room for maneuver? Similarly, how will this rebalancing influence the opposing poles of integration and separatism throughout the region? What is advisably the best formula for regional stability? Bilateralism, or multilateral frameworks like ANZUS? Mutual security pacts or regional economic integration structures modeled on APEC and ASEAN? Should realignments already underway prove destabilizing, what are plausible scenarios for regional conflict centering on North Korea, Taiwan and rival territorial claims in the South China and Japan Seas? From a global perspective, to what extent can developments in the Asian-Pacific influence the nature and agenda of international relations? Lastly, which concepts and methods for scientific study of geopolitics deepen our understanding of processes at work in this region of both promise and peril?


• The Emerging Balance of Institutions in the Asia-Pacific: A Game on Two Chessboards? Dr. Artyom Lukin

• The Politics of Contestation in Asia Mr. Hannes Ebert, Dr. Daniel Flemes, Mr. Georg Strüver

• The US vs. The East Asian Rising Powers: Can the US Stay on Top? Dr. Ziv Rubinovitz

• What Determines Secondary Powers’ Strategy Toward Rising Power? China’s Rise and East Asian States’ Responses Mr. Jeongseok Lee

Panel 2. The Geography, Politics and Economics of Projected Global Resource Scarcity (Joint panel RC15/RC41)

Chair: Dr. Takashi Yamazaki Co-Chair: Prof. Aharon Klieman Discussant: Prof. Sanjay Chaturvedi

“Scarcity is the new norm”. The warning has been sounded of a new and unprecedented era in which food scarcity in particular will increasingly shape world affairs, forcing us to rethink traditional concepts of security. At issue: basic staples for sustained human life and social development, questioning the mobilizing and carrying capacity of the earth -- and our own ability as political geographers to contribute to both understanding and alleviating the crisis. “Maldistribution” has long endured as one of the primary causes frustrating the emergence of a strong international system. Yet, “the science of distribution” remains sorely underdeveloped. The cause is patently simple. We are using up the Earth’s resources faster than they can be sustainably replenished. In effect, we are eating into the future. This panel, marked by a sense of urgency, aims at analyzing deeper underlying causes, such as an expanding global population, increased consumption, water shortages and wastage, and climate change, as well as potential consequences, including social unrest, bread riots, upheaval and even revolution; intensifying competition for food supplies; armed conflicts and failing states. The panel invites critical examination of these issues and practical recommendations (individual, national, multilateral) from different disciplines, approaches and perspectives


• Central Asia and the Great Powers: Different Times, the Same Game? Mr. Paulo Duarte

• Large Refugee Populations, Resource Scarcity and Conflict Miss Heidrun Bohnet

• The Role of Natural Resources, Strategic Assets, and Human Rights in U.S. Foreign Assistance Allocation Mrs. Naomi McMillen

• Water Resource Management and North American Paradiplomacy: The Case of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Mrs. Annie Chaloux, Prof. Stéphane Paquin


Panel 3. The Impact of the ‘Arab Spring’ on Euro-Med Relations

Chair: Dr. Pedro Vilanova

The Mediterranean Sea area is widely considered to represent a distinctive geopolitical region, with common features and a dynamic of its own. Objectively, therefore, the analyst ought to be able to understand conflict, cooperation and coexistence within this geopolitical framework. The hypothesis of a unified physical and geographic space is questionable, however. Our panel presents an alternative construct: the Mediterranean as a fragmented, heterogeneous space – where interactions (cultural, political, economic, etc) take on a quite different dynamic. Special attention will be paid to recent transformations associated with the “Arab Spring” that offer an exceptional case of “regional transition”, with deep consequences on three levels: • reform or continuity of State political systems and regimes, • the impact upon Mediterranean stability, security and development, • repercussions internationally. This session on “fragmented regionalism” is open to papers exploring suggested specific topics: consequences of the “Arab spring” on enduring conflicts in the region; implications for greater regional integration; EU and NATO policies and attitudes towards democratic change. Presentations will lead to a general discussion on prospects for a genuine Mediterranean regional process, as well as its global relevance in the second decade of the 21st century.


• Rethinking the "Middle East" as an Object of Study in Political Science Dr. Carimo Mohomed

• Revolution of the Arab Peoples and the Euro-Mediterranean Partnerships Mr. Rachid Aarab, Mr. Mustapha Akoub

• The Shifting Hard and Soft Balance of Power in the Euro-Mediterranean Regional Security Complex Dr. Astrid Boening

• Thinking Regions in the 21st Century. A Mediterranean Approach Miss Maria Ayllon

Published on Wednesday, January 19 2011 by Igor Okunev