Monday, November 16, 2009

Parag Khanna's Crystal Ball is a Globe

Fantastic. Just came across this at the atlas(t) blog. It's the mappiest TED talk ever:



It's Parag Khanna, who has the very important-sounding title of Director of the Global Governance Initiative and Senior Research Fellow in the American Strategy Program at the New America Foundation, talking about political geography. He uses lots of maps to illustrate the most salient changes that are going on in the global order today. One focus is on the expanding profile of China, which is touched with perhaps just a tinge of Sinophobia - Khanna suggests that Siberia may be a remote region of China, rather than Russia, before too long, and raises the specter of a sort of fifth column of ethnic Chinese working their way up the ladders of economic power in various foreign countries throughout East Asia.

Khanna also discusses Iraq - he's keen to let Kurdistan go indie, claiming that Iraq would still be the second largest oil producer in the world (though I think he might be forgetting about Russia, and the US as well, for that matter). He also suggests the Palestinians' problems could be solved by infrastructure development. I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt on that one, and assume that he would make a more nuanced argument if time permitted.

Looking eastward, he sees the development of the energy resources in Central Asia and the Caucasus as leading towards a new, decidedly more carbon-oriented, Silk Road for the 21st Century. Most intriguing is his discussion of the future of Europe. He sees it as growing (which the EU has been, of course, for decades); in particular, he sees further regions of Eastern Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East moving increasingly into the orbit of what he variously calls the European "zone of peace" or the "Euro-Turkish superpower."

Khanna also raises the prospect of several new countries coming into the world in the next few years. All very interesting stuff.

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