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GEOGRAPHY EDUCATION

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geopolitics

China will soon have air power rivaling the West’s – No longer just catch-up

“China’s president, Xi Jinping, wants to be able to challenge America’s military might in the western Pacific. He is making big progress. China’s once bloated armed forces are becoming leaner and a lot more capable. They are also benefiting from a defense budget that is growing at a steady 6-7% a year, in line with GDP. The IISS declares that China has become an innovator in military technology and is not merely ‘catching up’ with the West. For some of the most advanced science, Mr. Xi is tapping the private sector. The Pentagon has to woo skeptical Silicon Valley companies; firms in China do what the government tells them to do. In two years’ time, if not before, America is likely to lose its monopoly of radar-beating stealth combat aircraft with the introduction into service of China’s Chengdu J-20.”

 

Tags: political, military, China, geopolitics, East Asia.

Source: www.economist.com

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The Two Koreas

“While the Korean War of the early 1950s never formally ended, its aftermath has created starkly divergent worlds for those living on either side of the north-south divide. What follows is a look at life in the two Koreas; how such a night-and-day difference came to be; and where the crisis could go from here. Both governments claimed to be the legitimate rulers of the peninsula. Tensions between north and south gradually mounted, until finally, in June 1950, hundreds of thousands of North Korean troops stormed across the 38th parallel. The unsuspecting South Korean defenders were outgunned and outnumbered, and beat a hasty retreat southward.”

Source: storymaps.esri.com

This excellent interactive was created by Esri’s Story Maps team using the Story Map Cascade app–making it an great resources of the geography of the Korean Peninsula as well as a stellar example of how maps, infographics, videos, images and text can be combined using ArcGIS online.

 

Tags: mappingESRIStoryMapinfographic, visualizationNorth KoreaSouth Korea, East Asiaborders, political, geopolitics, historical.

Capital Jerusalem

“Because Israel refused to recognize the U.N. plan for an internationalized Jerusalem and because of its annexation of occupied East Jerusalem in 1967, no country in the world has offered legal and diplomatic recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Most states, however, have unofficially acknowledged Israel’s sovereignty and actual possession, without recognition of lawful title.”

Source: beitemmett.blogspot.com

That is, until now.  The United States is planning to move it’s embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, in a move that will have far more reaching implications than the relocation of just about any other embassy on Earth could have, given the geopolitical significance of Jerusalem to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the broader international ties.  Below are some resources to contextualize this shift: 

 

Questions to Ponder: How does this change the status quo at the local, national and international scales?  What might be some of the consequences of this move?  What would you recommend and why?  

 

Tags: Israel, Palestine, borders, political, Middle East, geopolitics, historical.

Syria’s war: Who is fighting and why [Updated]

“After four-plus years of fighting, Syria’s war has killed at least hundreds of thousands of people and displaced millions. And, though it started as a civil war, it’s become much more than that. It’s a proxy war that has divided much of the Middle East, and has drawn in both Russia and the United States. To understand how Syria got to this place, it helps to start at the beginning and watch it unfold.”

Source: www.youtube.com

Over a year ago I posted a previous version of this video highlighting the complexities behind the Syrian war.  Much has happened since then and this updated version adds more detail and includes a very helpful timeline to show how more internal and external forces became involved in the fighting.  This is an incredibly complicated geopolitical situation because of all the regional and international players involved.  

 

TagsSyria, war, conflict, political, geopolitics.

The Geography and Area Studies Interface from WWII to the Cold War

“The [importance of this study is that it] examines the dynamic between geography and area studies through their distinct understandings of space. As I argue, the dominance of the regional concept in geography, which took the multiple ways of bounding space as its central problematic, was reduced in area studies rendering of global space. This study assesses the transformation of geography during the two decades before and after the Second World War. This era was one of contrasts. On the one hand, geography was central to the war effort and in the creation of post-war programs, most notably area studies. On the other, this era also marked the relative marginalization of geography as a discipline in higher education.”

 

Tagseducation, geography, geography education, geopolitics, historical.

Source: americangeo.org

Why are the Baltic states so rattled?

This week, soldiers from Germany and Belgium are settling into a new posting in Lithuania as part of the latest NATO troop deployment. Will their hosts—and the region—feel more secure as a result of their presence?

Source: www.youtube.com

This video from the Economist shows how shifting political situations in one country can create some powerful ripples elsewhere.  It also shows how fluid geopolitical alliances can either embolden a waxing power, or create anxiety among states that might be waning in regional influence.  Supranational allegiances can weigh heavily on smaller states. 

 

Tags: Russia, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, supranationalism, political.    

CIA’s Cartography Division Shares Declassified Maps

“As much as James Bond is defined by his outlandish gadgets, one of the most important tools for real-life spies is actually much less flashy: maps. Whether used to gather information or plan an attack, good maps are an integral part of the tradecraft of espionage. Now, to celebrate 75 years of serious cartography, the Central Intelligence Agency has declassified and put decades of once-secret maps online.  These days, the C.I.A. and other intelligence agencies rely more on digital mapping technologies and satellite images to make its maps, but for decades it relied on geographers and cartographers for planning and executing operations around the world. Because these maps could literally mean the difference between life and death for spies and soldiers alike, making them as accurate as possible was paramount, Greg Miller reports for National Geographic.”

 

Tags: mapping, geopolitics, maphistorical, map archives

Source: www.smithsonianmag.com

The unbearable sadness of being Taiwan, a liberal island other democracies refuse to talk to

“An island, a territory, a self-governing entity, a renegade province, a breakaway part of China, the place formerly known as Formosa—call Taiwan any of those things, but never a country, a state, or a nation. The simple fact that it took a phone call between US president-elect Donald Trump and Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen to draw attention to one of Asia’s most vibrant democracies highlights the humiliating plight of Taiwan in the international arena. The irony that the US and other democratic countries cannot openly recognize Taiwan’s achievements for fear of incurring Beijing’s wrath has not been lost on many observers, who nevertheless fear that a cavalier move by Trump to upend diplomatic protocol in such a way could ultimately end badly for little Taiwan.”

 

Tags: Taiwan, political, states, borders, geopoliticsEast Asia.

Source: qz.com

ISIS and the U.S. Presidential Election

The United States is already taking some steps to roll back the Islamic State (ISIS) and restrict its resources and recruits, including airstrikes, armin

Source: www.youtube.com

This is a non-partisan post and a video that is fairly balanced; this video nicely lays out some of the cultural and political factors that the next president of the United States should consider when crafting foreign policy in the especially problematic Middle East.  

 

Tags: Syria, war, conflict, political, geopolitics, Iraq, devolution, terrorism, ISISMiddle East.

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