Tools of Geopolitics

Tools of Geopolitics

Geopolitical tools refer to methods used by geopolitical actors to strengthen their interests to others. These tools ultimately result in geopolitical risk.

Tools of geopolitics may be separated into:

i. National Security Tools

Tools for national security are those that are used to exercise direct or indirect control over a state actor’s access to resources, citizens, or borders. National security tools can either be active or threatened. Armed combat is one example. This has two primary effects:

  • The destruction of physical infrastructure; and
  • The migration from areas of armed conflict.

ii. Economic Tools

These are the steps used to support cooperative or non-cooperative positions through economic means. Common markets, global tariff rule harmonization, and multilateral trade agreements are examples of economic tools.

Economic instruments may also be inherently non-cooperative. A non-cooperative strategy for establishing economic power is nationalization.

iii. Financial Tools

These are the measures taken to support cooperative or non-cooperative positions. They include enabling international investment and free currency exchange across borders, as well as restraining foreign investment and limiting access to local currency markets.

Financial instruments may lower geopolitical risk if they promote collaboration. These same instruments may also lead to weaknesses in the global system by rendering other nations susceptible to changes in other nations’ policies. An example would be countries that trade internationally in the USD, they are vulnerable to US monetary policy changes.

Multi-Tool Approaches

It is possible to combine cooperative political, economic, and financial systems. For instance, cabotage is a foreign company’s legal permission to convey goods inside a country. Numerous nations, even those with multilateral trade agreements, place limitations on cabotage in all areas of transportation.

International organizations may utilize a variety of geopolitical tools to achieve their goals. Many geopolitical actors are less likely to start a fight or employ a hostile tool against other actors as they utilize more collaborative tools.


Which of the following would least likely be classified as a geopolitical tool?

  1. Natural tools.
  2. Financial tools.
  3. Economic tools.

The correct answer is A.

Natural tools are not geopolitical tools. Geopolitical tools are devices used by geopolitical actors to reinforce their interest with respect to others. There are three types of geopolitical tools that geopolitical actors use: national security, economic, and financial.

B is incorrect. Financial tools are geopolitical tools used by geopolitical actors. They are used to reinforce cooperative and non-cooperative stances via financial mechanisms such as free exchange of currencies across borders or limiting access to local markets.

C is incorrect. Economic tools are geopolitical tools used by geopolitical actors. They include multilateral trade agreements or common markets.

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