PRESIDENT TRUMP’S SPEECH IN SAUDI ARABIA AND IRAN’S GEOPOLITICAL SIGNIFICANCE IN THE RIMLAND

Iran is a grave threat not only to Western civilization but also to world peace. The country is a great power in the Middle East and the Rimland of Asia.

A significant part of the speech of President Trump in Saudi Arabia on May 21, 2017, was devoted to Iran and its responsibility for much of the instability in the Middle East:

”From Lebanon to Iraq to Yemen, Iran funds, arms, and trains terrorists, militias, and other extremist groups that spread destruction and chaos across the region. For decades, Iran has fueled the fires of sectarian conflict and terror.

It is a government that speaks openly of mass murder, vowing the destruction of Israel, death to America, and ruin for many leaders and nations [present here today].

Among Iran’s most tragic and destabilizing interventions have been in Syria. Bolstered by Iran, Assad has committed unspeakable crimes, and the United States has taken firm action in response to the use of banned chemical weapons by the Assad Regime—launching 59 tomahawk missiles at the Syrian air base from where that murderous attack originated.

Responsible nations must work together to end the humanitarian crisis in Syria, eradicate ISIS, and restore stability to the region. The Iranian regime’s longest-suffering victims are its own people. Iran has a rich history and culture, but the people of Iran have endured hardship and despair under their leaders’ reckless pursuit of conflict and terror.

Until the Iranian regime is willing to be a partner for peace, all nations of conscience must work together to isolate Iran, deny it funding for terrorism, and pray for the day when the Iranian people have the just and righteous government they deserve.”

To contain Iran is of geostrategic importance as it is a main power in the Asian Rimland threatening peace and regional stability in the Middle East. It is situated in the zone between the heartland of Eurasia and Western seapowers.

Dutch American Professor Nicholas Spykman was a leading classical geopolitician in the 1930s and the 1940s, perhaps even more important than Sir Halford Mackinder. They both regarded the world as a whole. All land and sea was included. Today geopolitical theorists still refer to unity of air and unity of inner space (astropolitics). America should, according to classical geopoliticians, be regarded as an island outside Mackinder’s World Island : Eurasia and Africa. This afforded the United States a strategic advantage.

It was Spykman’s view that Russia (then the Soviet Union) was too weak to exert in depth influence in Central Asia. One reason was demographics in Siberia.

Post-communist Russia has the same demographic problem. Thus Spykman regarded the Rimland of Asia as more crucial for the United States than the Heartland of Mackinder.

The Rimland’s defining characteristic is that it is an intermediate region, lying between the heartland and the marginal sea powers. It is a zone between the land powers and sea powers. Iran is an influental power in this zone and in the Middle East. In this region it is competing with Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. Iran was also as Persia an ancient challenger to the West.

Iran has major resources and a strategic location between spheres of influence. It has since 1979 been involved in global geopolitical events. It is geographically close to Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, all important to the West. Iran is also close to the Strait of Hormuz, which is vital to Middle East oil exports. Iranian aggression in this part of the Arabian Gulf would be catastrophic.

As long as the present administration in Iran exists, with or without the existing nuclear agreement, it remains the central threat to Israel, the most important among American allies and partners in the Middle East.

It may be necessary for the United States, in order to be effective in the fight against international terrorism, to create treaties and identify mutual interests with partners. More cooperation between the West and Arab allies and partners could be useful.

Containment of Iran is a guarantee for a more effective fight against international terrorism. It seems unlikely that the Iranian regime will be a partner for peace any time soon. Until Iran stops funding, arming and training terrorists, militias and other extremist groups it has to be isolated until it eventually seeks peace and stops aggression.

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