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This presentation seeks to examine the ‘Middle Tier of States’ proposed by Mackinder in 1919, its failure in the interwar years, its recent revival and geopolitical implications. The Heartland Thesis presented by Mackinder in 1919 comprises two interrelated parts: the geopolitical significance of the Heartland, and the ‘Middle Tier of States’ which he proposed to neutralize the pernicious impact of the Heartland. The ‘Middle Tier of States’ paralleled largely the Versailles settlement in East-Central Europe after the Great War, and its failure could be mainly attributed to unfavorable technological conditions then, rather than to the design itself. The ‘Middle Tier of States’ has been brought to life again by a series of events in East-Central Europe in the early 21st century, especially by the ongoing Russia-Ukraine War. In view of the impact of the Russia-Ukraine War, a middle tier of NATO states in East-Central Europe is crystalizing to remold the geopolitical landscape of Europe. This situation is expected to have significant implications for Europe and contiguous regions.

The Lau China Institute are delighted to host Professor Zhengyu Wu from Renmin University of China for an in-person discussion of his research into the middle tier states.

About the speaker

Zhengyu Wu is a professor of International Politics in School of International Studies, Renmin University of China (Beijing, China), where he has taught since 2002. He was a visiting professor in Department of War Studies at King’s College London and a visiting scholar in Center for East Asian and Pacific Studies at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Department of Politics at Durham University. Professor Wu received his PhD in Department of History at Nanjing University (Nanjing, China) and completed postdoctoral study at London School of Economics and Political Science. His current research fields include Theory of International Politics, Geopolitics and Grand Strategy and East Asian Maritime Security.

Registration is required for all external attendees.

Event details

King's Building
Strand Campus, Strand, London, WC2R 2LS