International Relations of Strategic Geometry

Essay by Ali ImamCollege, UndergraduateA-, May 1996

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'This is the only region in the world where so many combinations and permutations of two- three and four- and even two plus four or three plus three- power games can be played on the regional chessboard with all their complexities and variations.'


The concept of strategic geometry comprises the notion that that the interactions and interconnections between a number of political actors within a particular system of international relations, either global or regional can be seen in terms of geometric patterns of strategic configurations. It can be a case of simple geometry, in which A interacts with B: but in a more complex system such as that of Asia, with the presence of more than one major actor, each with their distinct, sometimes conflicting political agendas, the interaction between A and B will be likely to affect C or influenced by C.

The concept of an international 'system' itself implies that events are not random, and units within the system are interrelated in some patterned way. This 'patterning' maybe envisaged or conceptualized as patterns of strategic geometry.

Any attempt to analyze the transition from a Cold War system of international relations to a post Cold War one, will incorporate an analysis of the general nature of the system itself, in this case the system of international relations in Asia; of the actors involved and their respective roles; how changes in the political environment and in specific policies of the actors shape the evolution of a new system; and finally the nature of the new system with its own actors, their new roles, and new concerns.

The concept of strategic geometry enables us to understand these changes in the political dynamics from one system to another, in our case the transition from the...