The Geostrategic Importance of Canals

GMA 400L - Senior Seminar Research Lab

This thesis examines the geopolitical implications of large international shipping canals in the summation to the conclusion that canals are constructed out of a nation's strategic necessity and are then considered by nations as strategic assets due to their altering of maritime dynamics through the physical change to geography. This thesis employs four regional case studies to highlight the geopolitical effects that canal construction brings as well how their implementation and usage is intertwined with the economic and strategic goals of various states. Specifically, this thesis uses historical and contemporary contexts to showcase the Suez Canal in Egypt and the Panama Canal in Panama, as well as the proposed Nicaragua Canal in Nicaragua, the Kra Canal in Thailand, and the Salwa Canal in Saudi Arabia. This thesis will relate its explanations of state behavior to the concepts geography, seapower, and strategy, in order to meet their established economic and martial goals via interaction with canals.