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A tight-knit group closely linked by intermarriage as well as class and old school ties, the "Arabists" were men and women who spent much of their lives living and working in the Arab world as diplomats, military attaches, intelligence agents, scholar-adventurers, and teachers. As such, the Arabists exerted considerable influence both as career diplomats and as bureaucrats within the State Department from the early 19th century to the present. But over time, as this work shows, the group increasingly lost touch with a rapidly changing American society, growing both more insular and headstrong and showing a marked tendency to assert the Arab point of view. Drawing on interviews, memoirs, and other official and private sources, Kaplan reconstructs the 100-year history of the Arabist elite, demonstrating their profound influence on American attitudes toward the Middle East, and tracing their decline as an influx of ethnic and regional specialists has transformed the State Department and challenged the power of the old elite.
From Robert D. Kaplan, named one of the world's Top 100 Global Thinkers by Foreign Policy magazine, comes a penetrating look at the volatile region that will dominate the future of geopolitical conflict. Over the last decade, the center of world power has been quietly shifting from Europe to Asia. With oil reserves of several billion barrels, an estimated nine hundred trillion cubic feet of natural gas, and several centuries' worth of competing territorial claims, the South China Sea in particular is a simmering pot of potential conflict. The underreported military buildup in the area where the Western Pacific meets the Indian Ocean means that it will likely be a hinge point for global war and peace for the foreseeable future. In Asia's Cauldron, Robert D. Kaplan offers up a vivid snapshot of the nations surrounding the South China Sea, the conflicts brewing in the region at the dawn of the twenty-first century, and their implications for global peace and stability. One of the world's most perceptive foreign policy experts, Kaplan interprets America's interests in Asia in the context of an increasingly assertive China. He explains how the region's unique geography fosters the growth of navies but also impedes aggression. And he draws a striking parallel between China's quest for hegemony in the South China Sea and the United States' imperial adventure in the Caribbean more than a century ago. To understand the future of conflict in East Asia, Kaplan argues, one must understand the goals and motivations of its leaders and its people. Part travelogue, part geopolitical primer, Asia's Cauldron takes us on a journey through the region's boom cities and ramshackle slums: from Vietnam, where the superfueled capitalism of the erstwhile colonial capital, Saigon, inspires the geostrategic pretensions of the official seat of government in Hanoi, to Malaysia, where a unique mix of authoritarian Islam and Western-style consumerism creates quite possibly the ultimate postmodern society; and from Singapore, whose "benevolent autocracy" helped foster an economic miracle, to the Philippines, where a different brand of authoritarianism under Ferdinand Marcos led not to economic growth but to decades of corruption and crime. At a time when every day's news seems to contain some new story--large or small--that directly relates to conflicts over the South China Sea, Asia's Cauldron is an indispensable guide to a corner of the globe that will affect all of our lives for years to come.Advance praise for Asia's Cauldron "Asia's Cauldron is a perfect summation of the present turbulent moment in history, when the World War II security structure is beginning a rapid transformation. Kaplan engages the striking possibilities of where the current confrontation between China and Japan could lead, and underscores the point that this is a lot more significant than a simple border dispute."--Paul Bracken, Yale University, author of The Second Nuclear Age "Master global strategist Robert D. Kaplan turns his gaze to the bubbling heat of the South China Sea in his latest tour de force. Asia's Cauldron deconstructs the extreme volatility of this enormous, dangerous, and vital maritime space."--Admiral James Stavridis, United States Navy (Ret.), dean of the Fletcher School at Tufts University and Supreme Allied Commander of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, 2009-2013From the Hardcover edition.
From the bestselling author of Balkan Ghosts and The Ends of the Earth comes a fascinating new book on the imminent global chaos that is as brilliant as it is necessary, as original as it is controversial.The end of the Cold War has not ushered in the global peace and prosperity that many had anticipated. Environmental degradation is causing the rampant spread of famine and disease, and a rising number of nations are being torn by violent wars of fierce tribalism and trenchant regionalism. Our newest democracies, such as Russia and Venezuela, are bloody maelstroms of violence and crime, while America is beset with an alarmingly high number of apathetic citizens content to concern themselves with matters of entertainment and convenience. Bold, erudite, and profoundly important, The Coming Anarchy is a compelling must-read by one of today's most penetrating writers and provocative minds."Analytically daring.... Informed by a rock-solid, unwavering realism and an utter absence of sentimentality.... Kaplan is a knowledgeable and forceful polemicist who mixes the attributes of journalist and visionary." --The New York Times"Ambitiously eclectic.... [Kaplan] is one of America's most engaging writers on contemporary international affairs." --The New York Times Book ReviewFrom the Trade Paperback edition.
Author of Balkan Ghosts, Robert D. Kaplan now travels from West Africa to Southeast Asia to report on a world of disintegrating nation-states, warring nationalities, metastasizing populations, and dwindling resources. He emerges with a gritty tour de force of travel writing and political journalism. Whether he is walking through a shantytown in the Ivory Coast or a death camp in Cambodia, talking with refugees, border guards, or Iranian revolutionaries, Kaplan travels under the most arduous conditions and purveys the most startling truths. Intimate and intrepid, erudite and visceral, The Ends of the Earth is an unflinching look at the places and peoples that will make tomorrow's headlines--and the history of the next millennium. "Kaplan is an American master of...travel writing from hell...Pertinent and compelling."--New York Times Book Review "An impressive work. Most travel books seem trivial beside it."--Washington Post Book World
Kaplan lets readers experience up close the American military worldwide in the air, at sea, and on the ground: flying in a B-2 bomber, living on a nuclear submarine, and traveling with a Stryker brigade on missions around the world. Provided unprecedented access, Kaplan moves from destroyers off the coast of Indonesia to submarines in the central Pacific, from simulated Iraqi training grounds in Alaska to technology bases in Las Vegas, from army and marine land forces in the heart of the Sahara Desert, to air bases in Guam and Thailand and beyond. Hog Pilots, Blue Water Grunts provides not only a riveting ground-level portrait of the Global War on Terrorism on several continents, but also a gritty firsthand account of how U. S. soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen are protecting sea-lanes, providing disaster relief, contending with the military rise of China, fighting the war in Iraq, and crafting contingency plans for war with North Korea and Iran. Expanding on Kaplan's acclaimed Imperial Grunts, the first volume of his exploration of the American military, which "offers the reader an enlightened way to understand what is happening in the world" (San Francisco Chronicle), Hog Pilots, Blue Water Grunts shifts focus to the Pacific, where emerging Asian powers present vexing diplomatic and strategic challenges to U. S. influence. In this volume, Kaplan completes his analysis of army Special Forces and the marines, while also taking readers into the heart of the myriad tribal cultures of the air force, surface and subsurface navies, and the regular army's Stryker brigades. Kaplan goes deep into their highly technical and exotic worlds, and he tells this story through the words and perspectives of the enlisted personnel and junior officers themselves-men and women who, as he writes, have "had their national identities as Americans engraved in sharp bas-relief." This provocative and illuminating book, like Imperial Grunts before it, not only conveys the vast scope of America's military commitments, which rarely make it into the news, but also shows us astonishing and vital operations right as they unfold-from the point of view of the troops themselves.
In this landmark book, Robert D. Kaplan, veteran correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly and author of Balkan Ghosts, shows how American imperialism and the Global War on Terrorism are implemented on the ground, mission by mission, in the most exotic landscapes around the world. Given unprecedented access, Kaplan takes us from the jungles of the southern Philippines to the glacial dust bowls of Mongolia, from the forts of Afghanistan to the forests of South America-not to mention Iraq-to show us Army Special Forces, Marines, and other uniformed Americans carrying out the many facets of U. S. foreign policy: negotiating with tribal factions, storming terrorist redoubts, performing humanitarian missions and training foreign soldiers. In Imperial Grunts, Kaplan provides an unforgettable insider's account not only of our current involvement in world affairs, but also of where America, including the culture of its officers and enlisted men, is headed. This is the rare book that has the potential to change the way readers view the men and women of the military, war, and the global reach of American imperialism today. As Kaplan writes, the only way to understand America's military is "on foot, or in a Humvee, with the troops themselves, for even as elites in New York and Washington debated imperialism in grand, historical terms, individual marines, soldiers, airmen, and sailors-all the cultural repositories of America's unique experience with freedom-were interpreting policy on their own, on the ground, in dozens upon dozens of countries every week, oblivious to such faraway discussions. ... It was their stories I wanted to tell: from the ground up, at the point of contact." Never before has America's overarching military strategy been parsed so incisively and evocatively. Kaplan introduces us to lone American servicemen whose presence in obscure countries is largely unknown, and concludes with a heart-stopping portrait of marines in the first battle in Fallujah. Extraordinary in its scope, beautifully written,Imperial Grunts, the first of two volumes, combines first-rate reporting with the sensitivity and insights of an acclaimed writer steeped in history, literature, and philosophy, to deliver a masterly account of America's global role in the twenty-first century. * Imperial Grunts paints a vivid picture of how defense policy is implemented at the grassroots level. * Kaplan travels throughout the world where U. S. forces are located. This is not just a book about Iraq or Afghanistan. * Rather than debate imperialism, Kaplan relies on a keen understanding of history, philosophy, and in-the-field reporting to show how it actually works on the ground. * Imperial Grunts escapes Washington and shows us what it's like to live with the grunts day to day. Praise for Imperial Grunts: "One of the most important books of the last several years. Robert Kaplan uses his prodigious energy and matchless reporting skills to takes us on to the front lines with the new warrior-diplomats who use weapons, imagination, and personal passion to protect and advance the interests of the United States. This is a generation every American should come to know." -Tom Brokaw. "Robert Kaplan has brilliantly captured the story of today's U. S. military operating in far-flung places on strange missions. Imperial Grunts is the most insightful and superbly written account of soldiering in the New World Disorder to date. It is a must read for all Americans." -General Anthony C. Zinni, United States Marine Corps (Ret.).
In Mediterranean Winter, Robert D. Kaplan, the bestselling author of Balkan Ghosts and Eastward to Tartary, relives an austere, haunting journey he took as a youth through the off-season Mediterranean. The awnings are rolled up and the other tourists are gone, so the damp, cold weather takes him back to the 1950s and earlier--a golden, intensely personal age of tourism. Decades ago, Kaplan voyaged from North Africa to Italy, Yugoslavia, and Greece, luxuriating in the radical freedom of youth, unaccountable to time because there was always time to make up for a mistake. He recalls that journey in this Persian miniature of a book, less to look inward into his own past than to look outward in order to dissect the process of learning through travel, in which a succession of new landscapes can lead to books and artwork never before encountered.Kaplan first imagines Tunis as the glow of gypsum lamps shimmering against lime-washed mosques; the city he actually discovers is even more intoxicating. He takes the reader to the ramparts of a Turkish kasbah where Carthaginian, Roman, and Byzantine forts once stood: "I could see deep into Algeria over a rib-work of hills so gaunt it seemed the wind had torn the flesh off them." In these austere and aromatic surroundings he discovers Saint Augustine; the courtyards of Tunis lead him to the historical writings of Ibn Khaldun.Kaplan takes us to the fifth-century Greek temple at Segesta, where he reflects on the ill-fated Athenian invasion of Sicily. At Hadrian's villa, "Shattered domes revealed clouds moving overhead in countless visions of eternity. It was a place made for silence and for contemplation, where you wanted a book handy. Every corner was a cloister. No view was panoramic: each seemed deliberately composed." Kaplan's bus and train travels, his nighttime boat voyages, and his long walks in one archaeological site after another lead him to subjects as varied as the Berber threat to Carthage; the Roman army's hunt for the warlord Jugurtha; the legacy of Byzantine art; the medieval Greek philosopher Georgios Gemistos Plethon, who helped kindle the Italian Renaissance; twentieth-century British literary writing about Greece; and the links between Rodin and the Croa-tian sculptor Ivan Mestrovic. Within these pages are smells, tastes, and the profundity of chance encounters. Mediterranean Winter begins in Rodin's sculpture garden in Paris, passes through the gritty streets of Marseilles, and ends with a moving epiphany about Greece as the world prepares for the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens.Mediterranean Winter is the story of an education. It is filled with memories and history, not the author's alone, but humanity's as well.From the Hardcover edition.
On the world maps common in America, the Western Hemisphere lies front and center, while the Indian Ocean region all but disappears. This convention reveals the geopolitical focus of the now-departed twentieth century, but in the twenty-first century that focus will fundamentally change. In this pivotal examination of the countries known as "Monsoon Asia"--which include India, Pakistan, China, Indonesia, Burma, Oman, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Tanzania--bestselling author Robert D. Kaplan shows how crucial this dynamic area has become to American power. It is here that the fight for democracy, energy independence, and religious freedom will be lost or won, and it is here that American foreign policy must concentrate if the United States is to remain relevant in an ever-changing world. From the Horn of Africa to the Indonesian archipelago and beyond, Kaplan exposes the effects of population growth, climate change, and extremist politics on this unstable region, demonstrating why Americans can no longer afford to ignore this important area of the world. is here that the political future of Islam will most likely be determined. Here is where the five-hundred-year reign of Western power is slowly being replaced by the influence of indigenous nations, especially India and China, and where a tense dialogue is taking place between Islam and the United States. With Kaplan's incisive mix of policy analysis, travel reportage, sharp historical perspective, and fluid writing, Monsoon offers a thought-provoking exploration of the Indian Ocean as a strategic and demographic hub and an in-depth look at the issues that are most pressing for American interests both at home and abroad. Exposing the effects of explosive population growth, climate change, and extremist politics on this unstable region--and how they will affect our own interests--Monsoon is a brilliant, important work about an area of the world Americans can no longer afford to ignore.From the Hardcover edition.
In this provocative, startling book, Robert D. Kaplan, the bestselling author of Monsoon and Balkan Ghosts, offers a revelatory new prism through which to view global upheavals and to understand what lies ahead for continents and countries around the world. In The Revenge of Geography, Kaplan builds on the insights, discoveries, and theories of great geographers and geopolitical thinkers of the near and distant past to look back at critical pivots in history and then to look forward at the evolving global scene. Kaplan traces the history of the world's hot spots by examining their climates, topographies, and proximities to other embattled lands. The Russian steppe's pitiless climate and limited vegetation bred hard and cruel men bent on destruction, for example, while Nazi geopoliticians distorted geopolitics entirely, calculating that space on the globe used by the British Empire and the Soviet Union could be swallowed by a greater German homeland. Kaplan then applies the lessons learned to the present crises in Europe, Russia, China, the Indian subcontinent, Turkey, Iran, and the Arab Middle East. The result is a holistic interpretation of the next cycle of conflict throughout Eurasia. Remarkably, the future can be understood in the context of temperature, land allotment, and other physical certainties: China, able to feed only 23 percent of its people from land that is only 7 percent arable, has sought energy, minerals, and metals from such brutal regimes as Burma, Iran, and Zimbabwe, putting it in moral conflict with the United States. Afghanistan's porous borders will keep it the principal invasion route into India, and a vital rear base for Pakistan, India's main enemy. Iran will exploit the advantage of being the only country that straddles both energy-producing areas of the Persian Gulf and the Caspian Sea. Finally, Kaplan posits that the United States might rue engaging in far-flung conflicts with Iraq and Afghanistan rather than tending to its direct neighbor Mexico, which is on the verge of becoming a semifailed state due to drug cartel carnage. A brilliant rebuttal to thinkers who suggest that globalism will trump geography, this indispensable work shows how timeless truths and natural facts can help prevent this century's looming cataclysms.Advance praise for The Revenge of Geography "Robert D. Kaplan wields geography like a scalpel, using it to examine international relations and conflicts that globalization fails to explain. The Revenge of Geography is a sagacious account of how geography has shaped the world we know--and what this means for the future. Kaplan's wedding of historical and present-day analysis on a region-by-region basis makes for a well-researched, entertaining, and informative read that cannot be ignored."--Ian Bremmer, president of Eurasia Group and author of Every Nation for Itself "The importance of geography in shaping history is the great issue that Robert Kaplan tackles in this extraordinary book. Thirty years of scholarship and travel lie behind his recounting of human triumphs and conflicts through the ages. At the heart of his wide-ranging analysis is his belief in the abiding influence of geography on human behavior, now and in the future."--James Hoge, counselor, Council on Foreign RelationsFrom the Hardcover edition.
First time in paperback, with a new Introduction and final chapter. World affairs expert and intrepid travel journalist Robert D. Kaplan braved the dangers of war-ravaged Afghanistan in the 1980s, living among the mujahidin--the "soldiers of god"--whose unwavering devotion to Islam fueled their mission to oust the formidable Soviet invaders. In Soldiers of God we follow Kaplan's extraordinary journey and learn how the thwarted Soviet invasion gave rise to the ruthless Taliban and the defining international conflagration of the twenty-first century. Kaplan returns a decade later and brings to life a lawless frontier. What he reveals is astonishing: teeming refugee camps on the deeply contentious Pakistan-Afghanistan border; a war front that combines primitive fighters with the most technologically advanced weapons known to man; rigorous Islamic indoctrination academies; a land of minefields plagued by drought, fierce tribalism, insurmountable ethnic and religious divisions, an abysmal literacy rate, and legions of war orphans who seek stability in military brotherhood. Traveling alongside Islamic guerrilla fighters, sharing their food, observing their piety in the face of deprivation, and witnessing their determination, Kaplan offers a unique opportunity to increase our understanding of a people and a country that are at the center of world events.
Robert D. Kaplan is one of our leading international journalists, someone who can explain the most complicated and volatile regions and show why they're relevant to our world. In Surrender or Starve, Kaplan illuminates the fault lines in the Horn of Africa, which is emerging as a crucial region for America's ongoing war on terrorism. Reporting from Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, and Eritrea, Kaplan examines the factors behind the famine that ravaged the region in the 1980s, exploring the ethnic, religious, and class conflicts that are crucial for understanding the region today. He offers a new foreword and afterword that show how the nations have developed since the famine, and why this region will only grow more important to the United States. Wielding his trademark ability to blend on-the-ground reporting and cogent analysis, Robert D. Kaplan introduces us to a fascinating part of the world, one that it would behoove all of us to know more about.
The First New Translation in Forty YearsSet sometime between the mid-sixteenth and early-seventeenth century, Gogol's epic tale recounts both a bloody Cossack revolt against the Poles (led by the bold Taras Bulba of Ukrainian folk mythology) and the trials of Taras Bulba's two sons.As Robert Kaplan writes in his Introduction, "[Taras Bulba] has a Kiplingesque gusto . . . that makes it a pleasure to read, but central to its theme is an unredemptive, darkly evil violence that is far beyond anything that Kipling ever touched on. We need more works like Taras Bulba to better understand the emotional wellsprings of the threat we face today in places like the Middle East and Central Asia." And the critic John Cournos has noted, "A clue to all Russian realism may be found in a Russian critic's observation about Gogol: 'Seldom has nature created a man so romantic in bent, yet so masterly in portraying all that is unromantic in life.' But this statement does not cover the whole ground, for it is easy to see in almost all of Gogol's work his 'free Cossack soul' trying to break through the shell of sordid today like some ancient demon, essentially Dionysian. So that his works, true though they are to our life, are at once a reproach, a protest, and a challenge, ever calling for joy, ancient joy, that is no more with us. And they have all the joy and sadness of the Ukrainian songs he loved so much."From the Hardcover edition.
U.S.A. $22.95Canada $34.95"The side that knows when to fight and when not will take the victory. There are roadways not to be traveled, armies not to be attacked, walled cities not to be assaulted." --Sun-TzuWe live in dangerous times, when a new kind of leadership is required. Visionary and ruthlessly strategic, Warrior Politics extracts the best of the wisdom of the ages for modern leaders who are faced with the complex life-and-death challenges of today's world--and determined to win.Sun-Tzu urges leaders to "plan and calculate like a hungry man." Machiavelli defines a policy not by its excellence but by its outcome. Churchill derives his greatness from his imagination of history. Livy shows that the vigor to face down adversaries must ultimately come from pride in our own past achievements. "Never mind if they call your caution timidity, your wisdom sloth, your generosity weakness," he writes. "It is better that a wise enemy should fear you than that foolish friends should praise." "Men often oppose a thing merely because they have no agency in planning it," Alexander Hamilton says, "or because it may have been planned by those whom they dislike."Replete with maxims, warnings, examples from history, and shrewd recommendations, Warrior Politics wrests from the past the lessons we need to arm ourselves for the present. It offers an invaluable template for any decision-maker--in foreign policy or in business--faced with high stakes and inadequate knowledge of a mine-filled terrain. As we gear ourselves up for a new kind of war, no book is more prescient, more shrewd, or more essential. From the Hardcover edition.
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