Saturday, August 08, 2009

Robert Kaplin's "Revenge of Geography" Revisited

9/11/2012:  Be sure to read the blog's short interview with Kaplan.

The Geopolitical analyst over at Coming Anarchy have a great post revisiting Robert Kaplan's Revenge of Geography.

I liked Kaplin's piece because it emphasized that geography is indeed important and it got many readers to reevaluate world events through a geographic lenses. However, there was a huge problem with it. Kaplin mistakes spatial patterns for geographic determinism (meaning a place is doomed to be like its neighbors). But in reality, Kaplin even recognizes this, there are places that buck the destiny of their neighbors. Islands of political stability like Costa Rica, cultural uniqueness like Israel, and backwardness like Transnistria exist in geographic seas going in other directions. Geography impacts a place deeply but the culture of the place can adapt and steer a unique course.

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