The Return of Marco Polo's World: War, Strategy, and American Interests in the Twenty-first Century

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A bracing assessment of U.S. foreign policy and world disorder over the past two decades, anchored by a major new Pentagon-commissioned essay—from the renowned geopolitical analyst and bestselling author of The Revenge of Geography and The Coming Anarchy.

“Elegant and humane . . . [a] prophecy from an observer with a depressingly accurate record of predictions.”—Bret Stephens, The New York Times Book Review

In the late thirteenth century, Marco Polo began a decades-long trek from Venice to China. The strength of that Silk Road—the trade route between Europe and Asia—was a foundation of Kublai Khan’s sprawling empire. Now, in the early twenty-first century, the Chinese regime has proposed a land-and-maritime Silk Road that duplicates exactly the route Marco Polo traveled.

In the major lead essay, recently released by the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment, Robert D. Kaplan lays out a blueprint of the world’s changing power politics that recalls the late thirteenth century. As Europe fractures from changes in culture and migration, Eurasia coheres into a single conflict system. China is constructing a land bridge to Europe. Iran and India are trying to link the oil fields of Central Asia to the Indian Ocean. America’s ability to influence the power balance in Eurasia is declining.

This is Kaplan’s first collection of essays since his classic The Coming Anarchy was published in 2000. Drawing on decades of firsthand experience as a foreign correspondent and military embed for The Atlantic, as well as encounters with preeminent realist thinkers, Kaplan outlines the timeless principles that should shape America’s role in a turbulent world: a respect for the limits of Western-style democracy; a delineation between American interests and American values; an awareness of the psychological toll of warfare; a projection of power via a strong navy; and more.

From Kaplan’s immediate thoughts on President Trump (“On Foreign Policy, Donald Trump Is No Realist,” 2016) to a frank examination of what will happen in the event of war with North Korea (“When North Korea Falls,” 2006), The Return of Marco Polo’s World is a vigorous and honest reckoning with the difficult choices the United States will face in the years ahead.

“These essays constitute a truly pathbreaking, brilliant synthesis and analysis of geographic, political, technological, and economic trends with far-reaching consequences. The Return of Marco Polo’s World is another work by Robert D. Kaplan that will be regarded as a classic.”—General David Petraeus (U.S. Army, Ret.)
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About the author

Robert D. Kaplan is the bestselling author of eighteen books on foreign affairs and travel translated into many languages, including The Return of Marco Polo’s World, Earning the Rockies, In Europe’s Shadow, Asia’s Cauldron, The Revenge of Geography, Monsoon, The Coming Anarchy, and Balkan Ghosts. He is a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security and a senior advisor at Eurasia Group. For three decades he reported on foreign affairs for The Atlantic. He held the national security chair at the United States Naval Academy and was a member of the Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board. He is currently a member of the U.S. Navy’s Executive Panel. Foreign Policy magazine twice named him one of the world’s Top 100 Global Thinkers
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Publisher
Random House
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Published on
Mar 6, 2018
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Pages
304
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ISBN
9780812996807
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
History / United States / General
Political Science / Essays
Political Science / International Relations / General
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This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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From America’s preeminent columnist, named by the Financial Times the most influential commentator in the nation, the long-awaited collection of Charles Krauthammer’s essential, timeless writings.
 
A brilliant stylist known for an uncompromising honesty that challenges conventional wisdom at every turn, Krauthammer has for decades daz­zled readers with his keen insight into politics and government. His weekly column is a must-read in Washington and across the country. Now, finally, the best of Krauthammer’s intelligence, erudition and wit are collected in one volume.
 
Readers will find here not only the country’s leading conservative thinker offering a pas­sionate defense of limited government, but also a highly independent mind whose views—on feminism, evolution and the death penalty, for example—defy ideological convention. Things That Matter also features several of Krautham­mer’s major path-breaking essays—on bioeth­ics, on Jewish destiny and on America’s role as the world’s superpower—that have pro­foundly influenced the nation’s thoughts and policies. And finally, the collection presents a trove of always penetrating, often bemused re­flections on everything from border collies to Halley’s Comet, from Woody Allen to Win­ston Churchill, from the punishing pleasures of speed chess to the elegance of the perfectly thrown outfield assist.
 
With a special, highly autobiographical in­troduction in which Krauthammer reflects on the events that shaped his career and political philosophy, this indispensible chronicle takes the reader on a fascinating journey through the fashions and follies, the tragedies and triumphs, of the last three decades of American life.
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.

Praise for The Revenge of Geography
 
“[An] ambitious and challenging new book . . . [The Revenge of Geography] displays a formidable grasp of contemporary world politics and serves as a powerful reminder that it has been the planet’s geophysical configurations, as much as the flow of competing religions and ideologies, that have shaped human conflicts, past and present.”—Malise Ruthven, The New York Review of Books
 
“Robert D. Kaplan, the world-traveling reporter and intellectual whose fourteen books constitute a bedrock of penetrating exposition and analysis on the post-Cold War world . . . strips away much of the cant that suffuses public discourse these days on global developments and gets to a fundamental reality: that geography remains today, as it has been throughout history, one of the most powerful drivers of world events.”—The National Interest
 
“Kaplan plunges into a planetary review that is often thrilling in its sheer scale . . . encyclopedic.”—The New Yorker
 
“[The Revenge of Geography] serves the facts straight up. . . . Kaplan’s realism and willingness to face hard facts make The Revenge of Geography a valuable antidote to the feel-good manifestoes that often masquerade as strategic thought.”—The Daily Beast


From the Hardcover edition.
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY FINANCIAL TIMES

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.

Praise for Asia’s Cauldron
 
“Asia’s Cauldron is a short book with a powerful thesis, and it stands out for its clarity and good sense. . . . If you are doing business in China, traveling in Southeast Asia or just obsessing about geopolitics, you will want to read it.”—The New York Times Book Review

“Kaplan has established himself as one of our most consequential geopolitical thinkers. . . . [Asia’s Cauldron] is part treatise on geopolitics, part travel narrative. Indeed, he writes in the tradition of the great travel writers.”—The Weekly Standard
 
“Kaplan’s fascinating book is a welcome challenge to the pessimists who see only trouble in China’s rise and the hawks who view it as malign.”—The Economist
 
“Muscular, deeply knowledgeable . . . Kaplan is an ultra-realist [who] takes a non-moralistic stance on questions of power and diplomacy.”—Financial Times


From the Hardcover edition.
地理戰略家羅柏.D.卡普蘭對第三世界的第一手觀察


人口壓力、環境惡化、疾病與種族文化衝突,

深入動亂紛擾的現場,直探第三世界核心問題



「這趟旅行的開始,我很天真。我還不知道答案會在一個人繼續旅行的時候消失,我還不知道隨著旅行繼續只有更加複雜,更多的相互關聯,以及更多的問題。」

——羅柏.卡普蘭


經典雜誌總編輯王志宏:「卡普蘭所描繪的是被忽略的另一個真實世界,這趟黑暗之旅應是我們需要了解,需要去思索的。畢竟我們是世界,世界是我們。」


資深記者羅柏.D.卡普蘭的魅力在於擅長運用旅行文學的手法處理新聞議題,這是他用以理解這個世界的方式及範例。在前作《巴爾幹鬼魂》裡,他闡述了前南斯拉夫聯邦驚悚的解體過程;在《世界的盡頭》一書中,他親身走訪戰火衝突不斷的第三世界,從西非的賴比瑞亞、獅子山國到近東埃及,再轉至伊朗、印度,最後到達東南亞,試圖透過近距離觀察來探討這些國家從過去到今日所面臨的政治、文化、社會及種族等問題的真相……


深入現場的第一手觀察,直探黑暗世界的問題核心!


非洲,是卡普蘭觀察之旅的起點。他認為「二十一世紀的非洲就像二十世紀的歐洲,是我們不得不面對的問題。」這塊大陸聚集最多的人口、有最躁熱的天氣、最多瘧蚊引起的疾病,也是全球最貧窮的地方……而此地的犯罪率更是與人口、貧窮問題緊緊纏結著。 

他以在阿必尚眼見的街頭畫面來詮釋非洲的沉重影像:一個裸體男孩在散停著巴士的終點站角落的垃圾桶裡到處覓食;一個全身只穿粉紅色內衣的女人用一支生鏽的釘子梳頭髮。她雙臂優美的曲線透露出她想在骯髒的臉上保留尊嚴的掙扎。

非洲,一個如同跳脫地圖之外的疏離世界。……


卡普蘭深入世界上最動亂地區、造訪象牙海岸貧民區、柬埔寨死亡集中營等等,他筆下所描述的是個長久以來被忽略卻真實的世界,不論其歷史的原罪為何,人口壓力、環境惡化、疾病、文化與種族衝突,是這黑暗世界共同面臨的問題。……


這是一本融合旅行見聞和國際觀察的作品,作者卡普蘭一直堅持的旅遊寫作是,應該必須面對真實的世界:「對於那些仍不相信我們正處於革命時代的人而言,我希望一份旅行文件能成為一種電擊治療。」 




出版社 馬可孛羅 (城邦)

在走遍世界盡頭之後,卡普蘭將回到出生之地

省思在中國崛起的今天,這座「西進的帝國」將如何面對未來的挑戰


◆美國前國務卿季辛吉、《不平靜的太平洋》作者溫契斯特、「冷戰史泰斗」蓋迪斯等一致盛讚

◆《外交政策》雜誌「全球百大思想家」,《世界的盡頭》、《南中國海》、《地理的復仇》、《歐洲暗影》作者


《西進的帝國》以洗鍊而動人的文筆描繪從東岸到西岸的美國地景,檢驗形塑美國國力的地理特質,為美國外交政策提供貼近草根現實的思考架構。


相較於卡普蘭先前的地緣戰略論述,《西進的帝國》較具個人色彩,結合親情、回憶、鄉土情懷、愛國意識,以及個人知識體系的養成,從略具自傳性質的手法、深具抒情風格的文筆,審思美國的地位與未來。


青年時期經常奔赴美國各地進行採訪報導的卡普蘭,回顧兒時與父親四處遊歷的情景,以及當卡車司機的父親描述年輕時驅車穿梭在美國大地的故事。年幼的他已經領略到《讀者文摘》一篇故事中的父親在攜家西行時所說的「征服洛磯山」這句話的意義,那是由東往西穿越美洲大陸的旅人體會到的心境,也是美國先民開拓精神的一種寫照。


二○一五年春,作者從麻薩諸塞州自家出發,展開為期一個多月的泛美公路之旅,從東部的「垂直地景」(人口稠密區往上空發展的地景,較為閉鎖而缺乏開闊視野)馳向西部天高水長的「水平地景」。這也是作者在踏遍「世界的盡頭」之後,將畢生思索凝聚在美國大地上的一趟終極旅程。但這次他的角色不是單純的旅人,也不是在做新聞報導,而是帶著分析家的眼光,以及悄悄聆聽眾人聲音的耳朵,總結他對美國地理及歷史人文的思考,細緻分析地理因素(緯度、水文、陸地與海洋的配置、土地特性等等)對美國命運及國家投射力所造成的影響。


美國東、西各接鄰世界兩大洋,左摟歐非,右擁亞澳;密西西比河流向加勒比海,為美國開啟通往大西洋與太平洋(經由巴拿馬運河)的門徑,塑造大國命運。而美國之所以在二十世紀享有無人能望其項背的力量,一大部分是發揮先人由東往西開拓,發揮「征服落磯山」那種打天下的精神所獲的成果。


本書的撰述目的是透過一些獨特的視角,如父親年輕時的旅行記憶,歷史學者的「希望地理學」,遼闊無邊的北美荒原,以及朝中國蔓延的大海,描述美國這個世界的巨人。父親的旅行為作者提供無盡靈感;歷史學家建立必要且可操作的論述架構;荒漠代表必須克服的挑戰;西側汪洋則象徵美國的對外關係,一方面承載美國的國際責任,一方面也隱約預示不斷往西行進的巨人身影最終將在那裡逐漸消解。


在這個消解過程中,作者期許美國憑藉地理賦予的優勢,及其所造就出的影響力,在二十一世紀錯綜複雜的國際局勢中持續發揮正面的制衡力量。


【各界讚譽】


《西進的帝國》一書出色地提醒著美國地理對其戰略所帶來的衝擊。羅柏.卡普蘭最新的作品是本必讀之作,對前一本有關地緣戰略著作做了必要的補充。

——美國前國務卿季辛吉(Henry Kissinger)


《西進的帝國》對於美國向西擴張以填滿我們這片大陸提出了周詳完備、引人入勝,且充分的反省,對於美國在世界上的適切角色的當前爭論,涉及其隨後形成的國家性格反省。這是羅柏.卡普蘭又一本精采傑作。

——美國前中情局局長彼得雷烏斯(David Petraeus)


在這本關於海內外的美國具有智慧、吸引力以及令人難忘的書中,羅柏.卡普蘭給我們了一份大禮。傑佛遜相信我們的國家命運與西部地區有著不可擺脫的關聯;卡普蘭展現出這些年來依然保持的真實情況。

——《美國雄獅》作者、普立茲傳記文學獎得主米珊(Jon Meacham)


羅伯.卡普蘭的所有旅途都必定是令人讚嘆不已的,不過,更為重要的是《西進的帝國》是目前唯一針對橫越美國的作品。一如凱魯亞克(Jack Kerouac)與托克維爾(Alexis de Tocqueville),卡普蘭讓我們以全新的方式見識到這個國家。高度推薦這本經典之作。

——《冷戰》、《喬治.凱南傳》作者、普立茲傳記文學獎得主蓋迪斯(John Lewis Gaddis)


這是本極其精緻、令人振奮、激勵人心,以及全然原創之作……所有的外交官與軍人——所有掌權的美國人或是期待著掌權的美國人——確實都該廣泛地閱讀羅伯.卡普蘭的著作,尤其是這本精練之作。

——《不平靜的太平洋》作者溫契斯特(Simon Winchester)


羅伯.卡普蘭運用了美國獨一無二的地理環境與疆界經驗,以提供美國在這世上角色的一種變換鏡頭,以及一種能捕獲你的想像力的視野。此種讓人耳目一新的方式展現出華府以外地區的想法是在處理已然變化的世界,如何去平衡美國的理想主義和務實主義。《西進的帝國》一書中難能可貴之處照亮了前方的道路。

——美國國防部長馬提斯(James Mattis)




出版社  馬可孛羅 (城邦)

“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-Tzu


We 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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