The Revenge of Geography: What the Map Tells Us About Coming Conflicts and the Battle Against Fate by Robert D. Kaplan is a thought-provoking look at how geography influenced world events in the past, and how it continues to play a role even in this age of missiles, cell phones and microchips.
I’ve enjoyed every one of Mr. Kaplan’s books, although I’m pleased that he’s once again viewing the world from the 10,000-foot level, as one of my former commanding officers would say. His up-close profiles of America’s military, “Imperial Grunts” and “Hog Pilots and Blue Water Grunts” were enjoyable, but I like it best when he’s pulling history, first-hand observation, geography and politics together to examine the world’s hot spots and areas of future conflict.
This book, which builds nicely on much of Kaplan’s earlier works, looks at the theories of geographers and political scientists, and how those ideas have stood up to the test of time.
Kaplan examines broad sections of the globe and provides some telling insights into how the future could play out based on the geography involved. At no point does Kaplan ignore the impact man has had, and can have, on determining that future, but there is no denying geography’s influence.
I found the final section, on America and Mexico, to be especially interesting, shedding new light on the importance of helping our southern neighbor reach stability. Another “light bulb” moment for me came in the section on Iran and the Greater Middle East, which should be marked on maps by a large X as it is where Europe, Asia, Russia and Africa intersect.
Fascinating stuff that has me still thinking days later. Highly recommended for those interested in taking a different look at the world and where it may be going. Of course, the same could be said for the rest of Kaplan’s books, too.