Accessibility navigation

Understanding the geopolitical implications of the Chinese belt and road initiative: what are the consequences for the geographical perspective of the 21st century

Mulholland, J. S. (2022) Understanding the geopolitical implications of the Chinese belt and road initiative: what are the consequences for the geographical perspective of the 21st century. PhD thesis, University of Reading

Text (Redacted) - Thesis
· Please see our End User Agreement before downloading.

[img] Text - Thesis
· Restricted to Repository staff only

[img] Text - Thesis Deposit Form
· Restricted to Repository staff only


It is advisable to refer to the publisher's version if you intend to cite from this work. See Guidance on citing.

To link to this item DOI: 10.48683/1926.00115655


Grygiel states that “geopolitics is an objective reality, independent of state wishes and interests, that is determined by routes and centres of resources,” arguing that “human beings have no choice but to adapt themselves to the geographic characteristics of the environment in which they live” (Grygiel, 2006, pp. 5, 24). This thesis rejects the notion that geography is immutable and that geopolitical change is la longue durée. Instead, this thesis argues that through harnessing human agency, state intentions and technology, it is possible to change the political and strategic meaning of geography. This thesis assesses the geopolitical implications of Chinese policy, and attempts to reveal a willingness of the Chinese government to undertake a scale of sustained investment that suggests a complex and consciously held long-term policy. Specifically, it will examine China as a case study that exemplifies the mutability of geopolitical reality by human agency, the components of which could not be justified by the economic elements taken in isolation. All that can be known from this study is their actions. In addition, their intentions can only be inferred from the facts on the ground, the related capabilities associated with their alliances and the expansion of their military capability. China’s policies are informed by geostrategy and attempts to alter the geopolitical reality. Rapid development has resulted in sufficient surplus to afford China’s attempt to alter the geopolitical reality, with significant investment in mega infrastructure projects funded through newly created economic centres. Its actions enhance access to resources and soft power on a scale that eclipses past projects that have used big infrastructure as a geopolitical tool, including the Trans-Siberian Railway and the Suez and Panama Canals. This study is significant, as it draws from a broad analysis of Beijing’s foreign strategy, that provides a context for understanding its behaviour and intent. It concludes with a grand strategy informed by geopolitics that seeks to enhance access to resources and create new lines of communication to counter potential US containment policies, including sea denial and a challenge to the post-1945 economic order.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Sloan, G.
Thesis/Report Department:Graduate Institute of Politics and International Studies
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Politics, Economics and International Relations > Politics and International Relations
ID Code:115655
Date on Title Page:November 2021


Downloads per month over past year

University Staff: Request a correction | Centaur Editors: Update this record

Page navigation