July 16, 2013

Robert Kaplan's The Revenge of Geography

Video Title: Robert Kaplan's The Revenge of Geography. Source: ipinst. Date Published: January 25, 2013. Description:
On Thursday, January 24th, Robert Kaplan discussed his book, The Revenge of Geography, which illustrates how timeless truths and natural facts can help prevent this century's looming cataclysms.

The event was moderated by IPI Senior Adviser for External Relations, Warren Hoge.
"America's only geographical challenge is with Mexico to the south, where it's an artificial border, where it's one of the places where there's the greatest disparity in income levels between south of the border and north of the border. North and South Korea is much greater but there's only a few places in that zone. The population of northern Mexico has doubled since NAFTA in 1995. The average age of Mexicans is 25, the average age of Americans is 35. It's a younger population, it's gone from a fifth of the U.S. population to a third, it's coming closer. And it's also an economic power, the 12th largest economy in the world. In a decade Mexico could crack the top ten, whereas countries like Spain and Italy fall down. At the same time, a significant part of Mexico is controlled by drug gangs. And when I say control I mean the original Hobbesian definition of government, which is he who monopolizes the use of force in any given geographic area is the government of the area. And these drug gangs are placed geographically on the extreme east coast of Mexico where silver and gold used to go up north, now drugs do. Again, it's geographically determined in that sense. Most of the cities of the American South West have majority Hispanic populations. Geography dictates that Mexico is as crucial to the future of the United States as anything that will happen in China or the greater Middle East. And that is becoming more and more important. Latin history is demographically and culturally moving North at a reasonable rate. As much as 40% of Americans will have some working knowledge of Spanish by the middle of the 21st century. I grew up with North America geography as the East to West, sea to shining sea of patriotic myth. That's changing now. North American geography is North-South, from the old British territory of the Pacific North West which is today Vancouver and Canada all the way south to Mexico city. That's the notional future of North America." - Robert Kaplan.