Book Review: Krishnendra Meena, British Geopolitics in South Atlantic

Published date01 January 2018
Date01 January 2018
Subject MatterBook Reviews
84 Book Reviews
Krishnendra Meena, British Geopolitics in South Atlantic (New Delhi:
Academic Publishers, 2014). 271 pp., `995.
DOI: 10.1177/0020881718756723
The book analyses the occupation of Falkland/Malvinas and many other islands
by the British in the South Atlantic Ocean. The author addresses this issue from a
critical geopolitics perspective by distinctly highlighting the possible factors that
are responsible for the continuing British possession of these islands. The most
outstanding feature of this work is that it amalgamates geography, history, geohis-
tory, geostrategy, international relations, knowledge of resources and geopolitics
to critically evaluate the British presence. This is true that few parts of the world
are more popular and attract more attention. There are spaces that are not only
geopolitically significant but are also important in terms of its location, resource
endowment and so on. Since the geopolitical imagination of only a few dominate
the discourse, many other geopolitics related issues get sidelined and marginalized.
The author evocatively writes that ‘this study questions the marginal status accorded
to the South Atlantic and South America and stresses that certain geographical
conditions combined with the resources available in the region have rendered the
region important not only for the states around South Atlantic but also the extra-
territorial powers’ (p. 13). The book brings to the light the conflict between
Argentina and Britain over the Falkland/Malvinas Islands and also evaluates the
geopolitical relevance of these islands from various vantage points.
To begin with, the author discusses the expansionist tendency of Britain since
seventeenth century which continues to the present time. It emphasizes how
Britain, even after decolonization of territories, continues to control several strategic
chokepoints in South Atlantic through various means of geopolitical manoeuvring.
Through the critical geopolitical lens, the book examines political scenario of the
South Atlantic by scrutinizing the physicality and the geostrategic settings, sea
lanes of communication, maritime trade and exclusive economic zones. The conflict
between Argentina and the Britain and the ensuing Falkland/Malvinas War of
1982 and the Antarctic Treaty System and UNCLOS III are the main thrust of this
section. The progression of the Britain’s political interest in the region and the
conflict over the sovereignty claims by the Argentine and British is succinctly
dealt upon. The author also exposes the lopsidedness of the traditional geopolitics
and underlines how certain projections assumed primacy, ‘the dominant geopo-
litical imagination of grand theorizing has been understood to have risen from the
European-American experience but was projected on to the World and into the
future in the theory and practice of world politics’ (p. 22).
The book also delves in the geostrategy of Britain and lays emphasis on how
the present day geopolitical dynamics in the international arena rests upon the
imperialist and colonialist movements and the empire building projects of the
past. It critically examined the question of British geostrategy by placing it at
the core of classical theories of Mackinder, Mahan and Corbett (Mackinder, 1904,
pp. 421–437). John Agnew opines that the geopolitical imagination and the
visualization of world spaces have been governed by the colonial history that till

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