Interview with dr. Donila PIPA
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?
Donila PIPA: Geopolitics can be defined as the analysis of the effects of geography on international relations and international politics.
Geopolitical examples may include trade agreements, war treaties, border or territorial acknowledgements, climate agreements, and more.
V.S.: Geopolitics has become of impact in all analyses of po-litical, military, social, economic, cultural and diplomatic deve-lopments. Do you think that the classical theories of the geo-political schools are still relevant?
Donila PIPA: The world today hardly resembles the one that Sir Halford Mackinder examined in 1904, when he first wrote about the advan-tages of central positioning on the Eurasian landmass. His theories would have influence throughout the century, informing and shaping US containment policy throughout the Cold War. Today, almost a century after his “Heartland” theory came into being, there is renewed interest in the region that Mackinder considered the key to world dominance. The Heartland of the Eurasian landmass may well play an important role in the next century, and the policy of today’s lone superpower toward that region will have a tremendous influence upon the character of the entire in-ternational system.
Concerning globalization and developments in world politics, geopolitical thinking has experienced a new change of perspective. Globalization and the resulting con-sequences influence international politics and lead the world of states to ever greater cooperation and internal solidarity.
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?
Donila PIPA: Political and geopolitical studies in Albania are today viewed in terms of regional political studies, especially in the master’s degree this is related to the fact that Albania is a candidate country to join the European Union.
New fields such as sustainability, climate change, gender studies and “green knowledge” emerge with inter- and cross-disciplinary subject matter, methods and techniques.
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?
Donila PIPA: YES, because “everything is political”. Going beyond the local and the regional to the global.
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?
Donila PIPA: I collaborate with GeoPolitica Magazine and Mr. Simileanu, but there should be a cooperation between universities and civil society in this field.
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?
Donila PIPA: Geopolitical pressures are related to the changes that the world has undergone today, since covid19, the war in Ukraine, has given more importance to all actors, to have a foreign policy and the importance is given to diplomacy to resolve conflicts.
In my country, business is influenced by state policies and geopolitics, but since we are a country that wants to join the European Union, we are adapting the Alba-nian legislation to the European one, and it is a challenge for all actors.
V.S.: What are the geopolitical and geo-strategic challenges of impact and how are they reflected in the strategies promoted by your state?
Donila PIPA: Albania has been an active actor in most of the events of the region, aiming to switch from a security consumer to a security provider. For several years Albania has been considered a stability factor in the region. After the collapse of the communist regime, the country’s focus shifted towards Euro-Atlantic integration.
The importance of Albania’s influence is enhanced by the geopolitical importance of the Albanian factor in the Balkans. Due to the large number of Albanian inhabitants in the region, the official foreign policy of Tirana is perceived as a crucial component for the overall stability of the Western Balkans.
Regional cooperation is of essential importance in the current programme of the Albanian government: Albania – Regional Leader of Western Balkans.
V.S.: What impact do geopolitical theories have on the decisions of your country’s leaders?
Donila PIPA: Albania’s foreign policy on the background of the new geopolitical landscape of 2022 has found what has been aspiring for, protagonism. Indeed, the conflict in Ukraine has called for all countries to take sides and align, for Albania this was an easy task considering they years-long unwavering support for the Euro-Atlantic inclination. This new geopolitical reality in the European continent is widening even more the paradigm of security over development.
While for Albanian citizens, the main concern is the cost of living crisis, for the political establishment this security and development model is not even on the agenda for simple discussion. In the end, the main duty of any government is to achieve both. There might not be much left to secure if the economy of a nation is in shambles and citizens are leaving the country in the count of thousands.
V.S.: Do you consider it appropriate to collaborate with the Romanian GeoPolitica Magazine on these approaches?
We would be honoured to publish your analyses in the magazine’s pages!
Donila PIPA: YES, I WOULD like to be more active in the periodic publication of articles in your magazine.
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?
Donila PIPA: Geopolitics of Artificial Intelligence is the future and the uncertainty of every person today. Artificial Intelligence diplomacy | Artificial Intelligence go-vernance as a new European Union external policy tool.
V.S.: Please specify the impact of geopolitics on your state’s international relations, military strategy, economy, energy resources and security!
Donila PIPA: Albania is a member state in NATO and a state that will join the Eu-ropean Union, its policy is in accordance with the treaties and international agreements it has signed.
Dr. Donila PIPA, dean of the Faculty of law, Vitrina University, Albania, is a lecturer in the area of EU law and European Integration in Albania and responsible for the department of the Faculty of law near the University College of Business.
As part of editorial international board, Donila PIPA have written different articles on geopolitics. She participated in social media as a legal expert and also as an NGO activist in the field and her interest go beyond purely legal matters and also include judicial politics, socio-legal studies and gender studies problems.