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looking beyond borders

foreign policy and global economy

Archive for the tag “Geography”

The Return Of Marco Polo’s World And The U.S. Military Response

As Europe disappears, Eurasia coheres. The supercontinent is becoming one fluid, comprehensible unit of trade and conflict, as the Westphalian system of states weakens and older, imperial legacies – Russian, Chinese, Iranian, Turkish – become paramount. Every crisis from Central Europe to the ethnic-Han Chinese heartland is now interlinked. There is one singular battlespace.

Read Here – cnas.org

Also Read:

An Essay Response to Marco Polo’s World

Connectivity and Strategy: A Response to Robert Kaplan

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Wahhabism, Meet Han-ism: CPEC Betokens China’s Search For Lebensraum In Pakistan And Pakistani Kashmir

China, through its economic corridor with Pakistan, has proposed a dramatic redrawing of demographic and geographic boundaries. It is undertaking an unabashed, confrontational and neo-colonial smash and grab in south Asia.

Read Here – Tines of India

Two Friendly Neighbours And Fish

As Anders Fogh Rasmussen puts it, America is bordered by “two friendly neighbours and fish.” As a result of this geographic position, Rasmussen argues, Americans have the luxury of alternating between what you might call Trumpian and Clintonian views of the wider world.

Read Here – Defense One

Russia And The Curse Of Geography

Vladimir Putin says he is a religious man, a great supporter of the Russian Orthodox Church. If so, he may well go to bed each night, say his prayers, and ask God: “Why didn’t you put mountains in eastern Ukraine?” If God had built mountains in eastern Ukraine, then the great expanse of flatland that is the European Plain would not have been such inviting territory for the invaders who have attacked Russia from there repeatedly through history.

Read Here – The Atlantic

Let Iraq Break

Iraq is really three separate geographical regions, now contested by Kurds and Arabs ethnically, Arabic and Kurdish speakers linguistically, and Sunni and Shiite Muslims religiously. Ethnically Iraqis are approximately 75 percent Arabs, 20 percent Kurds, and 5 percent Turkmen and Assyrians. Religiously they are 65 percent Shiite Muslims, 30 percent Sunni Muslims, and 5 percent Christians and Mandeans.

Read Here – WorldAffairsJournal

Data Tells Peking’s Shift To Beijing; Persia’s To Iran

What’s in a name? Place names often change, and those changes stem from a tangle of politics and language. A fun tool from Google, the Ngram Viewer, lets us watch those changes play out across history. The Ngram Viewer charts how often a particular word appears in some five million books digitized as part of the Google Books project. It lets us see the popularity of terms across a long period, from 1800 to 2008.

Read Here – The National Interest

Mapping Change

Humans have been sketching maps for millennia, but Claudius Ptolemy was the first to use math and geometry to develop a manual for how to map the planet using a rectangle and intersecting lines—one that resurfaced in 13th-century Byzantium and was used until the early 17th century.

Read Here – The Atlantic

Recipe For Disaster

The policy of a nation, Napoleon once quipped, can be read in its geography. For much of human history, the verity of such an assertion would have appeared self-evident. After all, what is geostrategy if not a state’s chosen response to a preexisting spatial reality?

Read Here – The Diplomat

So What’s In Antarctica For Britain?

After the Queen’s visit to the Foreign Office this week, Foreign Secretary William Hague announced that the southern part of the British Antarctic Territory will now be known, at least on British maps, as “Queen Elizabeth Land”. Within hours of this announcement, made in acknowledgement of Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee and her service to the country, the story was top of the tweeting trends in the UK. Why all this interest?

 

Read Here – The Guardian

 

Geography Strikes Back

If you want to know what Russia, China or Iran will do next, don’t read their newspapers or ask what our spies have dug up—consult a map. Geography can reveal as much about a government’s aims as its secret councils. More than ideology or domestic politics, what fundamentally defines a state is its place on the globe. Maps capture the key facts of history, culture and natural resources. With upheaval in the Middle East and a tumultuous political transition in China, look to geography to make sense of it all.

As a way of explaining world politics, geography has supposedly been eclipsed by economics, globalization and electronic communications. It has a decidedly musty aura, like a one-room schoolhouse. Indeed, those who think of foreign policy as an opportunity to transform the world for the better tend to equate any consideration of geography with fatalism, a failure of imagination.

But this is nonsense. Elite molders of public opinion may be able to dash across oceans and continents in hours, allowing them to talk glibly of the “flat” world below. But while cyberspace and financial markets know no boundaries, the Carpathian Mountains still separate Central Europe from the Balkans, helping to create two vastly different patterns of development, and the Himalayas still stand between India and China, a towering reminder of two vastly different civilizations.

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