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Rimland is a concept championed by Nicholas John Spykman to describe the maritime fringe of a country or continent; in particular, the densely populated western, southern, and eastern edges of the Eurasian continent.
Spykman thought Rimland, the strip of coastal land that encircles Eurasia, is more important than the central Asian zone (the so-called Heartland) for the control of the Eurasian continent. Spykman's vision is at the base of the "containment politics" put into effect by the United States in its relation/position to the Soviet Union during the post-war period.
The Rimland, Halford Mackinder's "Inner or Marginal Crescent", was divided into three sections:
While Spykman accepts the first two as defined, he rejects the simple grouping of the Asian countries into one "monsoon land." India, the Indian Ocean littoral, and Indian culture were geographically and civilizationally separate from the Chinese lands.
The Rimland's defining characteristic is that it is an intermediate region, lying between the heartland and the marginal sea powers. As the amphibious buffer zone between the land powers and sea powers, it must defend itself from both sides, and therein lies its fundamental security problems. Spykman's conception of the Rimland bears greater resemblance to Alfred Thayer Mahan's "debated and debatable zone" than to Mackinder's inner or marginal crescent.
The Rimland has great importance coming from its demographic weight, natural resources, and industrial development. Spykman sees this importance as the reason that the Rimland will be crucial to containing the Heartland (whereas Mackinder had believed that the Outer or Insular Crescent would be the most important factor in the Heartland's containment).
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