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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Geography Will Never Be Obsolete, September 21, 2012
This review is from: The Revenge of Geography: What the Map Tells Us About Coming Conflicts and the Battle Against Fate (Hardcover)
In recent times, advances in transportation have eroded physical distance and the Internet has abolished informational distance altogether. As a result, many around the world think that the role geography will play in the future will be greatly diminished. But in "The Revenge of Geography," author Robert Kaplan argues that geography is very much a factor in relations between nations in the second decade of the twenty-first century and will continue to be a factor in the future.

Kaplan shows that geography sets down limits on nations and discusses how mountains, rivers, and harbors shape national development--he even goes so far as to assert that "a state's position on the map is the first thing that defines it, more than its governing philosophy even." The author examines realism and idealism in foreign policy, and how they related to geography in recent events such as the 1990s Balkan conflicts and the Iraq War. Navies and control of sea lanes are of course an integral part of geopolitics and Kaplan cites many instances in which sea power came into play in the past and may do so in the future.

There are sections in the book on Europe, Russia, China, India, the Middle East, and North America--Kaplan looks at the influence of geography on relations between nations past and present in these areas. Border disputes are at the heart of geopolitical brinksmanship and some of the most interesting passages in the book concern possible future border tensions between China and Russia and between Mexico and the United States.

Regardless of whether you consider yourself a realist or idealist in foreign policy or whether you agree with all of Kaplan's conclusions, anyone with a serious interest in world geography would find "The Revenge of Geography" a worthy read.
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Location: Houston, Texas

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