The Diplomat‘s Justin McDonnell spoke with Robert D. Kaplan, American journalist, Chief Geopolitical Analyst for Stratfor, and correspondent for The Atlantic regarding his upcoming book Asia’s Cauldron: The South China Sea and the End of a Stable Pacific, the influence of geography on international politics, and more.
What sparked your original interest in Asia, and how did that interest evolve into a book about the region’s maritime geography and strategy?
I was at first fascinated with the Indian Ocean as a concept that Americans ignored at their peril, given that America is an Atlantic/Pacific country. After completing my book about the Indian Ocean,Monsoon, a few years ago, I decided that at some point I should do a sequel, or coda, on the South China Sea, which is after all an antechamber of the Indian Ocean. People ask me why I didn’t write about the East China Sea, well, I wasn’t chasing news. Rather, I was committed to completing my work on the Greater Indian Ocean, to which the South China Sea is a part. When you focus on any body of water, geography is paramount, and from geography strategy and geopolitics naturally emerge.
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