Robert D. Kaplan

Time to Act on Ukraine

The Ukraine crisis, though temporarily out of the headlines, is at a critical stage. There is no better opportunity than now through the next several months to forge a deal with Russia advantageous to American interests. The Europeans may very well not extend sanctions after the first half of 2016, even as Russia is now in a near-disastrous economic position. The confluence of the two trends calls for dramatic diplomatic action. This is not a deal for a deal's sake, but a way to get Russia effectively out of eastern Ukraine.

ISIS and the Logic of Anarchy

The terrorist attacks in Paris, beyond their obvious horror, recalled to me the words of the late Bernard Fall, a French-American historian and war correspondent in Vietnam. In 1965, Fall wrote: “When a country is being subverted it is not being outfought; it is being out-administered. Subversion is literally administration with a minus sign in front.” ISIS has subverted western Iraq and eastern Syria because it is out-administering the Baghdad and Damascus regimes there.

The Great Danger of a New Utopianism

What is our worst existential fear, worse than any cyber, biological, environmental, or even nuclear threat? It is the threat of a utopian ideology in the hands of a formidable power. Because utopia is, in and of itself, the perfect political and spiritual arrangement, any measures to bring it about are morally justified, including totalitarianism and mass murder. But what, on the individual level, has always been the attraction of utopian ideology, despite what it wrought in the 20thcentury?

China Still Reclaiming Land in South China Sea: CSIS

China is still reclaiming land in the South China Sea, a defense analyst said, a month after Foreign Minister Wang Yi said his country’s island reclamation program was completed.

Satellite photos taken in early September show dredgers at work on Subi Reef and Mischief Reef, two of China’s eight outposts in the Spratly islands, according to Bonnie Glaser, a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. The images were published by an initiative of CSIS.

Europe Discovers a New Geography

A vast crumbling can be heard across Europe, coupled with an ennui that is the ironic upshot of being stunned by too many disparate crises. The Mediterranean, it turns out, is not the southern border of Europe: Rather, that border lies somewhere in the Sahara Desert from where African migrants coalesce into caravans headed north. And as they have throughout history, the Balkans still form a zone of human migration from the Near East.

CNAS Press Note: The European Migrant Crisis and the Reassertion of Classical Geography

Washington, September 10 – In light of the ongoing migrant crisis in Europe, Center for a New American Security (CNAS) Senior Fellow Robert D. Kaplan has written a new Press Note, “The European Migrant Crisis and the Reassertion of Classical Geography.”

The full press note is below:

From 1987: Robert D. Kaplan on Robert Conquest

At the height of the famine emergency in 1985, a few journalists sat around a restaurant table in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa, considering analogies for the food crisis in the Horn of Africa. Of course Biafra and Cambodia came to mind. But Robin Knight of U.S. News & World Report had the last word when he compared Ethiopia in the 1980s with the Soviet Union in the 1930s—at the start of the campaign against the kulaks.

Russian Motives: An Essay Exploring Russia’s Approach to Crimea and Eastern Ukraine

At the time of writing this report, Benjamin F. Cumbo IV was a Joseph S. Nye, Jr. National Security Intern with the Center for a New American Security (CNAS). He hoped to move from CNAS into the intelligence community. He was finalizing this essay during his last weeks. 

The Greek Crisis Is About More Than Money

Geopolitics can be more important than economics. Just look at Greece. On purely economic grounds, Greece should never have been admitted to the European Union in 1981 and might have been ejected from the eurozone months ago. 


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