Eric Maroney, author of Religious Syncretism, The Other Zions, & published fiction
Friday, May 30, 2014
The Revenge of Geography: What the Map Tells Us About Coming Conflicts and the Battle Against Fate
Robert Kaplan’s intriguing and thought provoking
book, The Revenge of Geography: What the
Map Tells Us About Coming Conflicts and the Battle Against Fate, is a
densely packed book filled with ideas about how geography shapes and molds
human behavior on a meta-level, even while human beings shape geography through
their own agency.
This thesis may seem paradoxical, but really
it is just advanced common sense.
Nations are subject to both the limitations and benefits of a particular
location. The United States benefited
from excellent harbors on its eastern seaboard, which provided the jumping off
point for westward expansion. The real lack of any other national group to
stop American expansion led to a relatively stable, democratic form of
government over a large swatch of territory.
Russia, on the other hand, has a large swatch
of territory with no natural boundaries and is surrounded by nations and
peoples who have, at various times, invaded them. Russian forms of government and expansion has been more autocratic as
a result, and we see the results of this as of this writing (in Ukraine).
Kaplan’s book is dense but well written. If you want to change how you look at the
world and how it shapes and its shaped by people, there is no better book.