The new geopolitics: Prospective approach of national power


The article analyzes how the new geopolitics consolidates planning between national policy and foreign policy. In this sense, prospective studies, especially in the Defense Sector, must take these studies into account, mainly in the economic, technological, environmental and development fields.

Keywords: National power, national potential, strategic balance, economic development, democracy, and security.


A population’s demand for well-being forces the State to carry out studies formulate public policies. Currently, strategic planning is one of the tools that aim to establish goals in the medium and long term, involving elements with sufficient capacity to achieve the development of a nation. Consequently, in this incessant struggle for power, and under a concept of free market, globalization and general well-being for the population, it is necessary to identify the role of geopolitics as a useful tool for decision-making at the highest level.

The theory of power

The concepts of Haushofer and Ratzel in the construction of a theory of power establish that the amount of square meters (the living space) is decisive to obtain power and national potential. However, at present, it is easy to refute this theory, as technology and science development have become determining factors to evaluate the degree of influence of one State over another.

Under the considerations of the theory of power, some countries can support the development of an arms race, the support of the population and even the strategies of their State policies. As Clausewitz stated (“war is nothing but the continuation of political activity with other means”), these elements are key to obtaining success in war, achieving the objectives of the State. Therefore, it is imperative to recognize that any State will be able to develop strategies where the desired objectives are achievable -without military forces confrontation. Throughout history, there is very good evidence and results of this type of strategy.

Geopolitical reality

The current geopolitical reality imposes new challenges and opportunities to resolve conflicts of interest through international cooperation, while maintaining a strategic perspective or questioning the balance of power. However, uncertainty is a constant, as are the conditions and actors. In this incessant desire for improvement, one cannot fail to mention two types of strategic thoughts. The first, under a realpolitik approach (“the enemy of my enemy is my friend”), which facilitates the building of alliances. The second, following a strategic and confrontational approach (“the achievement or achievement of my opponent’s objectives affect the fulfillment of mine”), so it is essential that the opponent does not achieve his objectives. Consequently, under these two thoughts a question arises: Is this a hypocritical relationship or rather a relationship of interest?

Chart 1. Planning in the relationship between power and strategic balance.

Source: self made

Despite the complexity of the strategic environment, it is observed that countries are increasingly intertwined and interdependent, both due to the global nature of the threats and the common aspects for their development. Currently, highly competitive regional blocks are established, where advances in robotics, electronics, communications, biotechnology, as well as their military capabilities and the level of interoperability are measured. All this, marked by a common aspect: the defense of their interests.

Geopolitical trends

Within this context, everything indicates that the following aspects will mark geopolitics, in the 21st century: 1) The impact of the economy in a market that does not have a flag or nationality, 2) technology as a determining variable, 3) the substitution of rivalry for cooperation, 4) sustainable or sustainable development within a supranational policy of caring for the environment and 5) the promotion of democracy with security as a fundamental element for development and well-being.

Regarding the first of these aspects, one defines the free market as the predominant economic model worldwide, with the exception of some activities considered proper to the State, such as laws, the maintenance of public order, or national defense, among others. In this sense, when referring to the free market, those economic activities and transactions exclusively dependent on the free initiative of individuals are considered. This interaction generates an environment in which individuals are free to obtain their goals and maximize their profits without the intervention of the State. However, there are certain discrepancies between the activities that – in one way or another – the state must control, and those that must be free initiative. Therefore, the generation of wealth without any type of control, through the exploitation of essential resources for the life and development of a State, is complex and controversial from a nationalist and supervisory approach. In this regard, a retrospective look at Peru at the beginning of the 20th century shows that the arrival of foreign capital launched an economic policy of exports, beneficial for a specific group. However, this situation did not allow the increase of power and national potential, because these power groups have an abstract concept of what the homeland and the State mean. In many cases, these concepts are simply not within your imagination.

How can we quantify the power of a state? To answer this question, econometric models facilitate the determination of national power and potential, taking as the main variable the number of square kilometers that a State owns. That is, the greater the amount of territory, the greater power (1) however, at present, this variable can lose value, if a State does not have adequate technological advances for its development. Consequently, the geopolitical principles and theories that respond to a qualitative study that claim to express themselves quantitatively by mathematical tools are relative.

The second aspect relates to technological progress. In this regard, in the domain of cyberspace, the lack of an international regulatory framework facilitates the understanding of the dangers to which States – and therefore, people – are exposed. This situation results in actions that range from identity theft, financial crimes, or the manipulation of weapons of mass destruction, among others. On the other hand, the National Center for Strategic Planning (CEPLAN), as the governing body of planning in Peru and based on a prospective vision, has presented a management document for the creation of policies and plans. These scenarios allow us to analyze how the increase in technology and mechanization can have a radical impact on global production patterns, as well as on production costs and the reduction of labor. Under this approach, the countries that dominate the field of technology (either on their own initiative or by exporting it for use) will set the standard in the generation of power and national potential.

The third aspect refers to how the rivalry between two States came overcome territorial disputes by way of arms. Even more so, if the two states fail to carry out this warlike concept own their own fruition, but through the interests of third parties. However, at present, international cooperation and various organizations, such as the United Nations (UN) and the Organization of American States (OAS) are setting the tone for the construction of new spaces for dialogue and trade between countries. In this regard, the Harvard-fisher conflict and interest resolution model presents criteria and various alternatives in which the parties in conflict are equally benefited. (2)

The fourth aspect, sustainable or sustainable development, as the basis for the development of the new generations, is a commitment not only to the country’s population, but also to the world population. (3) In a country like Peru, where the country bases its source of wealth on the exports of raw materials, it is important to articulate the objectives and goals of public and private institutions to achieve sustained economic, political, social and environmental development. Therefore, a responsible country is a country recognized and integrated into the international community.

Chart 2. Actors in public management

Source: self made

The fifth aspect is the promotion of democracy with security, as a primary element for development and well-being. Without a doubt, this is a mandatory element for any State. Consequently, a state with two variables in balance (governability and governance) is a state that promotes development.

Chart 3: National Power and Potential

Source: self made


The new perspective of geopolitics leads to a new look at the relationships of multidimensional interest and security at the global level. Likewise, strategic planning in which countries internalize national objectives by all levels of Government and are in accordance with the international context will facilitate the path of development of a State. On the other hand, the opportunity for States to join supranational organizations and foreign trade opportunities strengthen national potential and power. Additionally, it is necessary to remember that the States – within an international context – do not have friends, but common interests where the instruments of national power complement each other to have weight and negotiation capacity. Therefore, one should understand geopolitics as the study method that allows the key pieces of a State to be strategically moved within the great international board.


  1. Econometrics is based on the development of statistical methods that are used to estimate economic relationships, test economic theories, and evaluate and implement public and business policies. The most common application of economics is the forecast of macroeconomic variables (interest rate, inflation and gross domestic product).
  2. Methodology designed by Roger Fisher, Bruce Patton and William Ury that consider seven aspects to reach an agreement: interests, alternatives, options, legitimate criteria, commitment, communication and relationship.
  3. Sustainable development is a concept defined in the Brundtland report in 1987, it refers to the development of the needs of the present generation, without compromising the ability of the future generation to satisfy their own needs.


1 Edgardo Mercado Jarrín. Geopolítica en el tercer milenio (Lima: Instituto Peruano de Estudios Geopolíticos y Estratégicos, 1995).

2 Manuel Mindreau Montero. Introducción a la teoría de relaciones internacionales (Lima: Universidad del Pacifico, 2001).

3 Manfred Enrique Grautff y Fernando Chaparro Miranda. “Geopolítica, poder y capacidad nacional: una aproximación econométrica,” Criterio Libre (7, no.10, enero-junio 2009), 13-49.

4 Centro Nacional de Planeamiento Estratégico. “Escenarios contextuales,” Centro nacional de Planeamiento Estrategico (Lima: 12 de diciembre de 2012),

5 Jeffrey M. Wooldridge. Introducción a la Econometría: Un enfoque moderno (México, DF: CENGAGE Learning, 2010), trad. Ma. Del Carmen Hano y Érika M. Jasso.


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The ideas contained in this analysis are the sole responsibility of the author, without necessarily reflecting the thoughts of the CEEEP or the Peruvian Army.

Image: Creative Commons