December 01, 2011

The FP Top 100 Global Thinkers 2011

Just as Robert D. Kaplan's book Balkan Ghosts and seminal 1994 article "The Coming Anarchy" were required reading in Bill Clinton's White House, the prolific journalist's current writing may become defining texts for the conflicts of the 21st century -- which, he says, will be centered in Asia.

Kaplan's latest book, Monsoon: The Indian Ocean and the Future of American Power, predicts a world where ethnic disputes and the battle for resources make the Indian Ocean the new center of global instability -- with a strong role left to play for the United States. According to Kaplan, the Indian Ocean region "may comprise a map as iconic to the new century as Europe was to the last one." And Barack Obama's administration seems to agree, making much of what Hillary Clinton has called a "strategic turn" east.

Whatever the region, Kaplan remains committed to his long-standing faith in pragmatic realism. He writes in FP, "It is realism in the service of the national interest … that has saved lives over the span of history far more than humanitarian interventionism."


Yearning for dignity and justice in the developing world.

Stimulus or austerity?


America or China?


Arab Spring or Arab Winter?

Arab Winter.

Reading list

Nothing to Envy, by Barbara Demick; China: A History, by John Keay; Doctor Faustus, by Thomas Mann.

Best idea

The U. S. presidential system with its separation of powers may not be as well suited to the rigors of the 21st century postmodern age as the parliamentary system used by most other democracies.

Worst idea

Realism is dead because of the Arab Spring.