Interview with prof. dr. Charles PENNAFORTE
Vasile SIMILEANU: Geopolitics, as a science, was challenged after the World War II. After 1989, it became part of the new world order. Please tell us about your activities in the field of geopolitics! How do you define geopolitics?
Charles PENNAFORTE: In 2004, I founded the Center for Studies in Geopolitics and Foreign Affairs (CENEGRI) in Rio de Janeiro. Since then, we have served as a reference in Brazil. I also created the Intellector magazine, which is expected to be 20 years old in 2024. Simultaneously, I wrote several books using geopolitical approaches. At the Federal University of Pelotas, I coordinate in present moment two projects: the Geopolitics & Mercosul Research Group (GeoMercosul) and the Geopolitics, International Relations and Antisystem Movements Laboratory (LabGRIMA), which train young re-searchers in the area. For me, geopolitics is a struggle for international power through short- and long-term strategies.
V.S.: Geopolitics has become of impact in all analyses of political, military, social, economic, cultural and diplomatic developments. Do you think that the classical theories of the geopolitical schools are still relevant?
Charles PENNAFORTE: Classical theories remain crucial. However, it is necessary to adapt them to the international reality and new technological dynamics.
V.S.: At university level, please tell us how geopolitics is reflected in the university curriculum (undergraduate courses, masters, doctorates)!
What research institutes, NGOs and other formats are developed for geopolitical studies?
Charles PENNAFORTE: In Brazil, Geopolitics is not mandatory in many university courses. However, in the military area, it has been widely studied, as in the Superior School of War and the Naval War School. The Armed Forces have regular courses and use geopolitical concepts.
V.S.: Do you think that there is a need for a better visibility of this geographical science in research environments worldwide? Through what forms and means?
Charles PENNAFORTE: I believe that geopolitics are of fundamental importance for understanding contemporary international dynamics. In Brazil, there is great interest in young researchers. The popularization of geopolitics is undoubtedly of great importance.
V.S.: Should geopoliticians and their theories be made more popular in the media and social media? What about in relations with partner structures in other countries?
Who do you work with to promote geopolitics?
Should an international organisation be set up to promote the interests of this science?
Charles PENNAFORTE: The dissemination of geopolitics as a tool to understand world reality is essential. CENEGRI has collaborated for almost two decades in the dissemination of Geopolitics in Brazil. On the other hand, international geopolitical organizations are of great importance.
V.S.: In the new global constructions, determined by geo-strategic actions, how do you perceive geopolitical pressures on your state? How should state actors react to pressures from non-state actors? Is there collaboration between geopoliticians and business?
Charles PENNAFORTE: In my opinion, the reaction of states to non-state pressures is determined by the level of internal cohesion of the elites and the capacity of the state to influence the international system. The success or failure of the pressure depends on this capacity. In Brazil, there is no penetration of geopolitical analysis into business.
V.S.: What are the geopolitical and geo-strategic challenges of impact and how are they reflected in the strategies promoted by your state?
Charles PENNAFORTE: Brazil is among the ten largest economies in the world. We have a series of historical social problems that have been solved through advances and setbacks. The international insertion of Brazil depends on this action. Under the Lula government, Brazil will play the role of greater international protagonism.
V.S.: What impact do geopolitical theories have on the decisions of your country’s leaders?
Charles PENNAFORTE: The military period (1964-1984) is not important. It is not possible to clearly verify the influence of classical theories on civil governments.
V.S.: Do you consider it appropriate to collaborate with the Romanian GeoPolitica Magazine on these approaches?
Charles PENNAFORTE: Without a doubt. The magazine played a key role in disse-minating geopolitical analyses.
V.S.: New technological changes have led to the emergence of new geopolitical theories such as GeoIntelligence: the geopolitics of information, which we promoted in Romania in 2014, Geopolitics of Artificial Intelligence: the fifth dimension of geopolitics (2019) and Exopolitics: the geopolitics of outer space as the sixth geopolitical dimension (2021), theories that have been presented in the pages of GeoPolitica Magazine. How do you assess these theories?
In the environment of an academic in your country are there such concerns?
Charles PENNAFORTE: In Brazil, the main themes are related to the Latin American regional integration process with Mercosur, global warming, and BRICS. This is due to our reality. However, all topics covered by the magazine are of great importance for geopolitical theory.
V.S.: Please specify the impact of geopolitics on your state’s international relations, military strategy, economy, energy resources and security!
Charles PENNAFORTE: Brazil is present in the environmental issue, clean energy, green energy and in the defense of multipolarity.
Dr. Charles PENNAFORTE is professor at the Federal University of Pelotas (UFPel), coordinator of the Research Group CNPq Geopolitics and Mercosur (GeoMercosul) and Laboratory of Geo-politics, International Relations and Antisystemics Movements (LabGRIMA). Dr. Charles PENNAFORTE is also the founder of The Centre for Studies on Geopolitics and Foreign Affairs (CENEGRI).