Archivi giornalieri: 3 Giugno 2024

Geopolitics: a Philosophical Approach



These my brand-new reflections on geopolitics present it as a philosophical field, emphasizing the influence of geography on political strategies and the impact of geopolitical actions on collective identities and human conditions. It integrates classical philosophical thoughts on power and State acts, aiming to deepen the understanding of nations’ strategic behaviours and ethical considerations. This reflective approach seeks to enhance insights into global interactions and the shaping of geopolitical landscapes.


A Philosophy of Geopolitics

Part I


The increased prominence of geopolitics is readily observable, as evidenced by the substantial airtime devoted to this subject in recent television broadcasts. This resurgence is predominantly lexical, a development of significant import considering that our cognitive frameworks are shaped by the extent of our lexicon, as substantiated by Heidegger’s profound analyses. Notably, this lexical revival eschews Anglicisms, marking it as an exceptional trend. The question arises: is this surge in interest merely a temporal anomaly or does it signify a fundamental transformation in our cultural paradigm? To engage with this understated debate, it is indeed beneficial to contemplate the structural demands of our society that may be driving the rejuvenation of geopolitical discourse.
History was scarcely proclaimed to have ended when declarations of its resurgence began to surface, highlighted by events in 2001, 2003, 2008, 2011, 2014, 2020, and 2022, with terrorism, China, Putin, Israel, and intermittently Covid-19 being identified as central figures. These assertions aim to awaken Italy and Europe from the soporific embrace of postmodernity, yet they falter in pinpointing a definitive event that reawakens our historical consciousness. No event conveniently lends itself to a singular interpretation, and it is a fallacy of realism to assume a transparent epistemological clarity of historical occurrences. The real tragedy is our diminished capacity to ascribe historical and strategic significance to events, indicative of an atrophied historical sensibility. Cultural issues of posture cannot be resolved with expedient solutions, yet a gradual disintegration of the myth of post-history might be emerging. The concept of “longue durée,” largely overlooked by those preoccupied with the immediate, who confuse data for outcomes, could potentially disrupt our complacency.
We will not “return” to history; rather, we will come to recognize that we are still enveloped within it. This acknowledgment is fundamentally a cultural endeavour, wherein the future relevance and viability of geopolitics become pertinent. As a unique instance, and more crucially, as an indication of cultural reform rather than a revolution, this recognition will not be without discomfort. Moving beyond the simplistic reductions promoted by a certain brand of populist empiricism that champions fact-checking as a cure-all and views various disciplines as mere collections of data, we must accept that it is the modes of thought and the theoretical assumptions that orient our focus and interpretation of reality that constitute the spiritual core of a civilization. Thomas Kuhn might describe this as a shift in “paradigms.” The crucial question then becomes: where will necessary changes concentrate, and which cultural forms are currently impeding the development of geopolitics?
Understanding the methodology of prevailing thought, which we term “epochal thought,” involves outlining the self-concept it engenders. An epistemological reform, deemed essential for the advancement of geopolitics and as a precondition for it, must start with a comprehensive reassessment of the self-representation that underlies and influences our historical narrative. Every philosophy of history, and every historiographical philosophy, features a protagonist. In our case, this role is assumed by the “prehistoric individual” (distinct from “prehistorical”). This concept, vigorously discussed in various texts including the fifth chapter of the pamphlet “What is the Third Estate?” by abbé Emmanuel Joseph Sieyès, occupies a central position in much of modern political philosophy. The prehistoric individual is described as pre-collective, pre-ideological, and sometimes pre-linguistic, yet almost never pre-economic. “Prehistoric” might be the most apt description, as this idea stems from the philosophical tradition of conjectural history, predominantly Enlightenment in nature. This tradition, while indirectly critiquing gaps in historiography, primarily explores the potential to identify the “nature” of humans, purportedly external to history. On one hand, this surpasses historiography for situational reasons; on the other, it subtly undermines it by replacing it with a methodology believed to more accurately address the question of human nature. This approach, deeply rooted in ancient Greek philosophy, aimed to remove the mystifying contingencies from the contemplation of a truer reality. The contemporary use of this age-old practice in modern political philosophy has led to the “accidentalization” of history. Much of the current philosophical and political discourse is essentially a commentary on the notion of the “end of history,” which is often misconceived as an event rather than a concept. Indeed, the end of history is perpetually imminent, given our prehistoric or, more precisely, ahistorical anthropological philosophy, which is inherently monistic. We routinely dismiss the qualitative distinctions that define history, which are its essence and dynamic force, as mere contingencies. It could be provocatively argued that modernity has left us with an anti-philosophy of history. The legacy of a de-objectified humanity, never the creator of its own nature, remains ensnared in the ceaseless stasis of its own inertia—a shadow more tangible than reality itself, blind to the distinctions crafted by human agency.