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VII. The Balance between Soft and Hard Geopolitics

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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses the current balance between soft and hard geopolitics and the way in which such geopolitics are legitimised. The attempts to use financial power to intervene directly into other states, for example through the mechanisms of 'structural adjustment' (IMF), are based predominantly on soft geopolitics. Because intra-societal power relations so fundamentally influence the opportunities and scope of foreign policy activity, legitimation discourses play an important role in justifying the use of soft geopolitical methods, and increasingly the use of hard geopolitical measures as well. The theory of democratic peace underestimates the extent to which Western liberal-democratic states are 'capitalist' states and related to each other in an international system with enormous destabilising potential. The tendencies of the 'political' to internationalise within a fragmented world economy, the market-liberal state system, and other inter-societal relations all find expression to a certain extent in 'international law'.

Keywords: capitalist state; foreign policy; fragmented world economy; hard geopolitics; international law; intra-societal power relation; market-liberal statism; soft geopolitics



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