Magazine April 2, 2018, Issue

A New, Old Geopolitics

The Return of Marco Polo’s World: War, Strategy, and American Interests in the Twenty-First Century, by Robert D. Kaplan (Random House, 304 pp., $28)

As a frequent writer on geography and strategy for such publications as The Atlantic, The American Interest, and The National Interest, Robert D. Kaplan has established himself as a uniquely insightful observer of foreign policy, combining the observational talents of a Gertrude Bell with the strategic insights of a Halford Mackinder or Nicholas Spykman. His approach to understanding the world is captured by a diplomat’s comment that Kaplan noted in his 1993 book, The Arabists: The Romance of an American Elite: “Read, travel, read, travel, that’s the way to go.”

The Return of Marco Polo’s World, Kaplan’s 18th book, is a

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Mackubin Thomas Owens is senior national-security fellow of the Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI) in Philadelphia, editing its journal Orbis from 2008 to 2020. A Marine Corps infantry veteran of the Vietnam War, he was a professor of national-security affairs at the U.S. Naval War College from 1987 to 2015. He is the author of US Civil–Military Relations after 9/11: Renegotiating the Civil-Military Bargain.

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