Security and conflict
Since ancient times, military analysts have recognized that spatial factors have played a critical role in the resolution of armed conflict. The discipline of geography has much to contribute to understanding the questions of warfare.
1. First, spatial strategic factors are a crucial part of warfare planning and conduct. Military analysts view geography as a key element in the success of campaigns and the ability to understand where a state may be vulnerable.
Classic geopolitics is based on detailed geographical analyses such as movement of military vessels through international straits, distribution of troops and weaponry for battle. Some of the most interesting analyses of campaigns during the American Civil War or the Boer War in South Africa focused on geographic factors. A common approach which is inherently geographic is the analysis of a state's industrial resources and capabilities for waging war, vulnerability of trade and supply lines. Governments have often used professionally trained geographers in order to undertake these military and economic analyses. Indeed, the government of Imperial Germany in the late 19th century created professorships of geography at every university of the country for that specific purpose.
2. Second, many conflicts arise from border disputes. Geographers classify and describe various types of borders and border violations. Beside geographical inquiry, these matters imply also international relations and international law.
3. The psychology of space may be a topic for geographic analysis. The importance of territoriality and defending home are the links between geography and psychology. Of particular interest here is research on place annihilation, or the death of places during warfare.
4. Geographers have recognized that wars do not occur randomly in space around the globe. Distance plays a key role in most conflicts over history, as neighboring states are more apt to war with each another. Yet some areas of the world are especially prone to conflict, for example the shatterbelts as the Middle East and Southeast Asia have experienced numerous armed conflicts over the past centuries.
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