Book Review: The Revenge of Geography by Robert D. Kaplan

Image Credit: (Penguin Random House)

I am thrilled to complete this book on 22/05/2021. I have been reading this book since the 30th of March 2021, and it took almost 23 days to complete. The Revenge of Geography is written by Mr Robert D. Kaplan, he is the author of sixteen books on foreign affairs. Robert is a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security. He has also been awarded as one of the world’s top 100 Global Thinkers by Foreign Magazines.

In this book, the writer argues upon the location of a country. Location does matter in this world, due to it, many countries today are far behind that prosperous countries.

The writer says the fate of the landlocked countries is solemnly tied with the neighbouring countries that have ports. For example, the dependence of Afghanistan on Pakistan and Iran for exports, or Central Asian countries which are depending on the countries that are surrounded by the sea. Simultaneously, in the past, different empires have ruled upon vast pieces of lands due to the resources. As, during the cold war, Soviet Union had fifteen states inside, as an alliance, but in the end, it did not work and finally all the states got independence. Another best example is the American War on Terror, that cost around 2trillion USD, which the country lost after 20 years. So, the argument is that geography has played a major role in shaping the economy and nature of a country.

In the 16th century, Britain began to establish colonies in the different regions, it covered almost 25% of the total land of the world, the British empire is considered the largest empire ever in history. Britain had all the resources, be it ports, be it investments, or proper policy frameworks, so it succeeded in ruling over the world.

Looking into the region of Asia, it is one of the most important trade routes for all the ships carrying goods and commodities to Europe, or from there to Asia. The Indian sub-continent, situated in the eastern region, has a history of shipping spices and condiments during the early 15th century. However, the land is rich in natural reserves.

Simultaneously, the European region is one of the most successful regions in the world, because it played well in the game of trade. Today, half of Europe is depending on the Russian Federation for natural gas supplies. Though, the writer cites that the U.S has also one of the largest shale reserves and can supply to Europe, and in the future, it might be possible.

The U.S has been a major player in shaping the world’s economy and resources. While the writer says, by 2050, 1/3 of the total population of the U.S would be Spanish speaking. In 1846, the Mexican-American War, which ended in 1848, added some states into the geography of the U.S, those states were most of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah, once they were a part of Mexico before the war. The U.S, today, is a super-power and it has more resources than any other country in the world, but in the future, the emergence of China is the real threat to it. “University of New Mexico professor Charles Truxillo predicted that by 2080, the southwestern states of the U.S and the northern states of Mexico will come together to form a new country named La Republica del Norte.”

The gist of this book is that geography is the only thing that does matter in this world, it is the geography that has provided inequality among the countries, and the greed of power and exclusive institutions as well.

The writer is a student of Agricultural economics, and having interest in geo-economic and politcal issues, current affairs, agriculture, and environment.