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Geography and Territory

Jaroslav Tir and John A. Vasquez


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Comment on this article   Territorial disputes and other geographical factors have arguably some of the greatest influences on the patterns of war and peace in international politics, be it because countries fight over territory more often than over any other issue or because geographic proximity both conditions the ability to fight and provides for frequent interactions. The first part of the essay looks at the research related to geographic factors in general with an emphasis on contiguity. This section looks at geography as a facilitating condition of conflict and war (see Diehl 1991 ). The second part examines the role of territory in interstate militarized conflict and the onset of war. The third part explores the role of territory in internal conflict, especially civil war. The second and third parts look at geography and specifically territory as a source of conflict and war (see Diehl 1991 ). Each section is organized chronologically with the earliest work on a specific topic reviewed first and the most recent last. The study of the role of geography in shaping international relations (IR) has a long history going back at least to Mackinder (1904) , a geographer. Nonetheless, early on political scientists, like Spykman (1942) and Sprout and Sprout (1951) , recognize the importance of geography for shaping relations, as does Richardson (1960) , the physicist who ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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