Friday, December 24, 2010

Geography books redux

Various FrumForum contributors and readers, myself included, discuss "Our Favorite Books of 2010." My section, with links added:

For the reader interested in how the world geopolitical map is changing, I recommend two recent books.
Monsoon: The Indian Ocean and the Future of American Power, by Robert D. Kaplan (Random House) argues for the growing economic, military and political centrality of the Indian Ocean and surrounding lands, as China and India assert their interests in what for centuries was a Western-dominated region.
The World in 2050: Four Forces Shaping Civilization's Northern Future, by Laurence C. Smith (Dutton) argues that the Arctic and its environs will be of growing importance, because of climate change, demographics, globalization and a scramble for resources.

There is less tension between these two theses than it might appear. I saw Kaplan on Fareed Zakaria’s show say that China will be a greater power than Russia because the latter is stuck up there in the Arctic (or words to that effect). But Smith’s thinking is similar, in that he suggests that an ascendant China someday might buy – or even forcibly take – thinly populated sections of Russia’s East and North.

Together, the books make a solid case that the 21st-century strategist shouldn’t be too much of a Europhile or Pacific Rim aficionado, since big things are happening elsewhere in the world.
Whole thing here.

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