Despite the neutrality of geography as a science, purely geographical concepts can generate a political struggle, which sometimes justifies Thomas Hobbes’ pessimistic maxim that even arithmetic and geometric certainties become problematic if they fall within the sphere of the political: the intense friend-enemy distinction. For example, the fact that the prime meridian of the earth’s cartographic grid is still the one that runs through Greenwich is neither purely objective and neutral nor purely coincidental; it was the result of a rivalry between various prime meridians. The French, who for 200 years were locked in a struggle with the English for domination of the sea and the world, regarded the Paris Observatory as the prime meridian since the 18th century. Only in the twentieth century did they abandon their opposition to the Greenwich meridian. Only in 1916 did the Berlin Yearbook of Astronomy change over to the Greenwich meridian. Thus, it is not an excessive politicization of this apparently purely mathematical-geographical problem, if we consider the universal validity of the Greenwich meridian to be a symbol of the former English domination of the sea and the world.

Carl Schmitt, The Nomos of the Earth, translated by G. L. Ulmen