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I don't agree entirely with all of Kaplan's conclusions, but this is a thoughtful and worthwhile essay.
1 posted on 09/08/2012 11:52:09 AM PDT by mojito
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To: mojito
Can't find the quote, but somebody (wisely) said "History is is the record of everything geography allowed to happen."

Actally I think it was better said.

2 posted on 09/08/2012 12:09:36 PM PDT by Mrs. Don-o ("You can observe a lot just by watchin'." - Yogi Berra)
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To: Toddsterpatriot; Mase; expat_panama

Globalist ping. Any column this well-written is destined to get seven replies.


3 posted on 09/08/2012 12:09:55 PM PDT by 1rudeboy
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To: mojito

All Kaplan’s books are great but the most interesting one regarding global matter is:

Monsoon: The Indian Ocean and the Future of American Power (2010)

http://www.amazon.com/Monsoon-Indian-Ocean-Future-American/dp/1400067464

Book Description
Publication Date: October 19, 2010

On the world maps common in America, the Indian Ocean all but disappears. The Western Hemisphere lies front and center, while the Indian Ocean region is relegated to the edges, split up along the maps’ outer reaches. This convention reveals the geopolitical focus of the now-departed twentieth century, for it was in the Atlantic and Pacific theaters that the great wars of that era were lost and won. Thus, many Americans are barely aware of the Indian Ocean at all.

But in the twenty-first century this will fundamentally change. In Monsoon, a pivotal examination of the Indian Ocean region and the countries known as “Monsoon Asia,” bestselling author Robert D. Kaplan deftly shows how crucial this dynamic area has become to American power in the twenty-first century. Like the monsoon itself, a cyclical weather system that is both destructive and essential for growth and prosperity, the rise of these countries (including India, Pakistan, China, Indonesia, Burma, Oman, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Tanzania) represents a shift in the global balance that cannot be ignored. The Indian Ocean area will be the true nexus of world power and conflict in the coming years. It is here that the fight for democracy, energy independence, and religious freedom will be lost or won, and it is here that American foreign policy must concentrate if America is to remain dominant in an ever-changing world.

From the Horn of Africa to the Indonesian archipelago and beyond, Monsoon explores the multilayered world behind the headlines. Kaplan offers riveting insights into the economic and naval strategies of China and India and how they will affect U.S. interests. He provides an on-the-ground perspective on the more volatile countries in the region, plagued by weak infrastructures and young populations tempted by extremism. This, in one of the most nuclearized areas of the world, is a dangerous mix.

The map of this fascinating region contains multitudes: Here lies the entire arc of Islam, from the Sahara Desert to the Indonesian archipelago, and it is here that the political future of Islam will most likely be determined. Here is where the five-hundred-year reign of Western power is slowly being replaced by the influence of indigenous nations, especially India and China, and where a tense dialogue is taking place between Islam and the United States.

With Kaplan’s incisive mix of policy analysis, travel reportage, sharp historical perspective, and fluid writing, Monsoon offers a thought-provoking exploration of the Indian Ocean as a strategic and demographic hub and an in-depth look at the issues that are most pressing for American interests both at home and abroad. Exposing the effects of explosive population growth, climate change, and extremist politics on this unstable region—and how they will affect our own interests—Monsoon is a brilliant, important work about an area of the world Americans can no longer afford to ignore.


4 posted on 09/08/2012 12:27:14 PM PDT by Lorianne (fedgov, taxporkmoney)
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To: mojito
Geography, logistics, and weather. Ignore at your peril.

/johnny

5 posted on 09/08/2012 12:38:26 PM PDT by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
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To: mojito
Nice find. From Wiki:
Political geography is the field of human geography that is concerned with the study of both the spatially uneven outcomes of political processes and the ways in which political processes are themselves affected by spatial structures. Conventionally political geography adopts a three-scale structure for the purposes of analysis with the study of the state at the centre, above this is the study of international relations (or geopolitics), and below it is the study of localities. The primary concerns of the sub-discipline can be summarised as the inter-relationships between people, state, and territory.
I think the Kaplan essay could be used as an introduction to a course in political geography, though I don't pretend to have any knowledge of the subject myself. But as a math guy, I do think this field may someday become ripe for quantifying; i.e., turning it into a real science, and getting it out of the realm of the social sciences. Thanks for posting.
8 posted on 09/08/2012 12:51:50 PM PDT by LibWhacker
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To: mojito

ANYTHING by Kaplan I read with intense interest! I posted that remark out of sheer joy, before reading the first new word he wrote. The man is brilliant.


10 posted on 09/08/2012 1:24:29 PM PDT by Travis McGee (www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com)
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To: mojito
A nicely laid out theme, and thanks for posting. I might quibble a little over one example: the ability of western cultures to learn the advantages of moveable type over the Chinese, who first had it, is not a function of geography or even the politics and culture related to it, but of language. Try a Chinese keyboard. Try a Western one. That's the difference.

Nevertheless, the overall theme is sound and often neglected. On a smaller-scale level, if one is to have a war one must fight it somewhere, and it is a first lesson in every military primer that the terrain is the key. On a larger scale, commerce is still and always has been dictated by trade routes, themselves a function of geography. Larger still, the migration of entire peoples with the enormous cultural and political consequences is demonstrably related to the ground over which they walk and the water over which they sail.

There are, of course, other models. The spread of culture that is related to language, for one - Arabic and Latin by way of religion, English by way of technology - does not appear easily mappable to geography, nor is there any reason it should be. Economic power that is a function of the possession of raw materials - gold, oil - is directly bound to geography; economic power that is a function of manufactured goods - silk, steel - somewhat less so, economic power as a function of trade - the 17th-century Dutch, the 15th-century Italian bankers - still less so.

Lots of models, lots of room for thought. Thanks again for posting and a BTT.

12 posted on 09/08/2012 1:33:11 PM PDT by Billthedrill
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To: mojito

Iran has 276 hydro electric plants.

Think about it.


13 posted on 09/08/2012 2:54:45 PM PDT by buffaloguy
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To: mojito

“Because ethnic minorities in China live in specific regions, the prospect of China breaking apart is not out of the question. That is why Beijing pours Han immigrants into the big cities of Tibet and western Xinjiang province, even as it hands out small doses of autonomy to the periphery and continues to artificially stimulate the economies there.”

Sounds kinda familiar. Just substitute Philadelphia, Chicago, Detroit, goons, and unions, etc. being artificially stimulated, and you got the same China/Mao model here.


14 posted on 09/08/2012 2:56:54 PM PDT by A'elian' nation (Political correctness does not legislate tolerance; it only organizes hatred. Jacques Barzun)
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To: mojito

“War is God’s way of teaching Americans geography”

— Ambrose Bierce


15 posted on 09/08/2012 3:14:46 PM PDT by Mike Darancette (CREDO QUIA ABSURDUM)
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