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Monday, March 24, 2014

The Empire Lover

I read Robert Kaplan regularly in Stratfor and other places.  He's the John Gunther of his generation.   He's correct in emphasizing geography's preeminence in determining state behavior.  But his writing is hit-or-miss.  Last year I plowed through his book "The Revenge of Geography," and thought it was aimless and hastily written.   I have never bought his "Coming Anarchy" thesis, which seems to define anarchy as any bad stuff happening in faraway places.  Geopolitically, this is a more stable age than the Cold War was, with less lethal wars.  Still, there might be something to the idea of empire's benefits for minorities and its cosmopolitan outlook.  (A final quibble:  Why some writers interpret Kipling's "White Man Burden" poem as an exhortation to empire puzzles me; it clearly is ironically written and was intended as a warning to the AEF in the Philippines.  See also the title of Max Boot's "Savage Wars for Peace.")

See Kaplan's full piece on the defense of Empire in Atlantic here:  http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2014/04/in-defense-of-empire/358645/
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