Bruno Mars

it is known that there are six major continents on earth; with the two American continents, coming together to form the Americas. Each of these continents presents itsself with a relatively unique feature among its populace and system of operations such that it makes it possible to identify a person by his or her continent even without having much background information about the person. Indeed, continental identity is a very unique and special feature that gives a lot of and meaning to different continents. Without some of these characteristics that distinguish one continent from the other, as well as the representatives of different continents, the need for the creation of continents would not have been important all together. In fact, the factors that create the sort of distinctions talked about are varied and different. However, geopolitical differences stand out as one of the most exceptional factors to consider when comparing various continents. This is because various continents have held themselves up with different and highly distinctive geopolitics over the years. It can be seen for instance that when describing a Black American and a typical African, there may be very little biological distinctions to make but the geopolitics of the various continents these two people live on would make a lot of difference in distinguishing one from the other. In this essay, therefore, the difference that exists between Europeans and Americans from a geopolitics point of view is critically analyzed.

Background to Geopolitics

From a broader perspective, geopolitics is a relational terminology that correlates politics with territory. This is to say that it deals with how group of people in a particular or given place go about their politicking based on factors that has to do with their geographic location. In this regard, the Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies (2012) notes that “the term geopolitics reflects the connection between power and interests, strategic decision-making, and geographic space.” Geopolitics, therefore, has to do with systems that consolidate “interplay of natural resources, strategic dominance and geographic space on one hand, and the various state and non-state actors pursuing individual as well as collective interests on the other” (Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies, 2012). In making their geopolitics stand out, therefore, it is expected that a particular continent or identity of people would take strategic decisions that encompass a reflection of their beliefs and interests in relation to where they find themselves geographically. There is no denying the fact that when mention is made of powerful countries; a lot of attention is given to the political influence of that country in relation to other nations in question. It is for this reason that countries and in some cases a collection of nations (continents) take decisions that give them consolidated and robust political standing in the midst of other nations. Taking such decisions, however, ought to be based on geographic variables that includes geographic location, topography, size, population, climate, technological developments, as well as availability of resources – both natural and artificial (Evans and Newnham, 1998).

Major geopolitical differences

The major geopolitical differences that exist among different people of the world, particularly between Americans and Europeans, have taken a lot of intellectual and contextual twist over the years. The differences in geopolitics have become common agenda for debate at various platforms of academic practice, as well as global institutional seminars, conferences and meetings. The reason for this turn of event is very simple and has been explained by the SPIA Research (2011) that since political theory is constantly in flux and geographical theory is also in flux, there will always be intellectual and contextual challenges that Geopolitics must address. As far as the geopolitical differences between Americans and Europeans are concerned, there are historical as well as modern perspectives that can be given and discussed. Three of these are briefly discussed below.

  • Industrial Revolution and the Strategic Calculus

The heading industrial revolution may seem very economical as a topic under geopolitics but it has a lot to do with the historic and political point of view of the geopolitics of both America and Europe. As far as the European industrial revolution is concerned, it would be observed that the massive industrial revolution that is experienced and seen scattered all over Europe today has its root to pre-colonial days. Historically, Europe as a collective territory focused much of her attention to colonizing nations in other continents and particularly Africa, Asia and Australia. Famous among nations that took to colonization most are England, Spain, Germany and France. These are by no means small heads when it comes to superiority in Europe. Through colonial activities, such as political imposition on colonies to do business with their colonial masters and also to uphold the heritage of the colonial masters on high, most European nations gained global recognition, fame and integrity. Indeed, some of these nations have held on to these pass glories to their advantage up to today. The industrialization that was started kept the economic fortunes of Europe soaring higher and higher. For example, “projects such as the Canal du Languedoc in France, the canalization of the Guadalquivir River in Spain, and the Neva-Volga complex in Russia, Bridgewater Canal” are still visibility available today and to the advantage of Europe as an economic community (Hay, 2002).

The industrial revolution may be viewed from the American perspective from a different angel. This is because the American people do not have the kind of history that the Europeans have as far as colonization is concerned. Nonetheless, America had her own approach of making the industrial revolution that took place in that continent to benefit her not just economically but politically also. It would be recalled that America as a nation was once a colony under England. This means that ‘England saw the light’ of industrial revolution far before America. This is because England used America in a great deal to develop its (England’s) industries. However, late that industrial revolution in America started, America has managed to match up with Europe boot for boot and has undoubtedly used her industrial influence to gain more political fame, popularity and authority than most individual nations in Europe, if not all individual nations in Europe. Even though Europe depended on technology a great deal from the very beginning, America took a firmer advantage of technology than Europe in developing her industry. Today, the technology industry has succeeded in ruling all other industries and actually making all other industries depends on it. This has made America record some of the world’s best economic rates. Due to her economic standing, most other nations would politically kowtow to America because once America withdraws economically, that country may be found wanting.

  • States and Empire

States and empire system in America and Europe has a very historical connotation with the regions’ geopolitics. From the European perspective, there is a tall order of history that can be traced to the days of monarchy rule. Several countries in Europe, including England, Spain and Italy, have the record of adapting to monarchy along their history. This history of monarchy led to the establishment of several empires across the European territory. Europe adapted itself more to the empire system of ruling than the State system of ruling. Through its zeal to uphold to the monarchy system, Europe produced some of the world’s most popular and powerful kings and queens. These rulers became the major source of authority and development in the various European nations and empires. The empire system would, however, not last forever in Europe as Hay (2002) notes that “the preservation of a balance of power among all the members of the system” prevented any monarch from gaining hegemony. The transition from the empire system did not come easily. There was a the Thirty Years War of 1618–48, which started as religious way when effort was made by the Italians through the Holy Roman Empire to impose its authority over the others. Eventually, most of the individual nations came to practice different forms of governance other than monarchy. Regardless of all these, there still remain some European countries that practice monarchy. England can be mentioned as a typical example.

From an American perspective, a contrasting history is recorded with the monarchy system. America hardly has or has ever had anything like the empire system. There are virtually no kings or queens who can be mentioned with traces and history to America. The implication of this is that the present form of governance in America was actually started at the very beginning of America’s formation. America should, therefore, be more consistent with her system of governance and, thus, more experienced with today’s form of governance. It is not surprising, therefore, that America seems to have a more formidable electoral system that has been trusted and rigid for years. Another point is that unlike Europe where not all the nations gave up on the monarchy system that was started, all nations that come under the American umbrella have focused on one single line of political and governance system. America is, therefore, to the States system whereas Europe is to the empire system. Today, America practices the federal system of governance while Europe practices the typical European parliament system. There are commentators who argue that it is because of the way the American system can leave so much power in the hands of individual States and yet envision those individual States as being under a central power and authority that America can comfortably stamp her authority on other sovereign countries; regardless of the fact that those countries may be having their own systems of governance.

  • Implementing defense policies

Defense policy is one area that brings out a lot of difference between European and American geopolitics. According to some commentators, defense policies present the biggest line of difference between America and Europe. Historians try to take the discussion of the kind of defense policy that exists between America and Europe from the Kant’s “perpetual peace” perspective. It would be noted that Immanuel Kant centuries ago “suggested that a stable universal order could gradually be achieved through a league of enlightened republics that banded together as modern history worked itself out” (Kegan, 2003). After going through a couple of regional and world wars, the people of Europe have largely come to believe in the need and possibility of achieving world peace. This believe have been championed by a great doctrine of permitting and allowing for the practice of sovereignty of individual nations such that individual nations should be responsible for ensuring that there is orderliness and fairness in those nations. Because of this, Kegan (2003) observes that “Europe is turning away from power, or to put it a little differently, it is moving beyond power into a self-contained world of laws and rules and transnational negotiation and co-operation.” Europe would, therefore, hardly make the internal issues of other nations her concern.

Contrary to the situation described above, America continues to be highly involving in the individual affairs of other countries. As the proverbial ‘brothers’ keeper’, America seems to have a strong believe and conviction that it should have an oversight watch over all other nations of the world. America, therefore, would want all other nations to play according to its rules. Every nation that falls out of the American rule to the game seem to become the enemy of America and unlike the Kant’s perpetual peace, America would come after such fall outs. Kegan (2003), therefore, opines that America is “exercising power in an anarchic Hobbesian world where international laws and rules are unreliable.” He continues to state that America upholds the belief that “true security and the defence and promotion of a liberal order still depend on the possession and use of military might.” It is not surprising, therefore, that America has championed most modern day wars and continues to invest in what seems like trying to shape other nations to conform to the American rule of the game.


In the words of Kegan (2003), Americans are from Mars and Europeans are from Venus: they agree on little and understand one another less and less. This diversity should, however, continue to only be a principle of identifying the uniqueness of these two regions rather than trying to use the differences to be judgmental in trying to make one of the regions appear better in ideas and philosophy than the other. This advocacy is made because as soon as discussions begin to centre on who is right and who is right, there is likely to be anarchy and chaos in an attempt to shaping the other group to be like the other one when all could live and work together harmoniously.