Conflict, at least close to home, often feels like a thing of the past – like a lesson well learned. However, the global geopolitical landscape according to former Sky News foreign affairs editor Tim Marshall is one of huge uncertainty, where the fragile alliances of NATO and the EU provide no guarantee of lasting security.
This book is divided into 10 key global regions, with each chapter providing a clear, accessible outline of the primary geopolitical concerns of that area. The explanation, however, is more uniquely provided through the prism of geography, which Marshall explains in his introduction to be ‘the most overlooked’ factor in world affairs analysis. Russia's stealth invasion of Crimea is as much to do with Russia's critical lack of a warm water port as it is lingering Soviet pride and the personality of President Putin, the Democratic Republic of the Congo's troubles are not just down to a brutal colonial past; they're the result of the presence of the African rift valley – which provides a rich seam of resources its nine neighbours are constantly looking to profit from.
This is not a book about environmental determinism – the geography of a region is never presented as fatalistic; but it does send a timely reminder that despite technological advances, geography is always there, often forcing the hand of world leaders.
PRISONERS OF GEOGRAPHY: Ten Maps That Tell You Everything You Need to Know About Global Politics by Tim Marshall, Elliott & Thompson