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GEOGRAPHY EDUCATION

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geopolitics

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.

Who Likes Whom in The Middle East? Key players & Notable relationships

An interactive network visualisation of key players & notable relationships in the Middle East region. Continually updated. Awesome looking.

Source: www.informationisbeautiful.net

News flash:the Middle East is complicated.  In a region where the enemy of an enemy can be your friend, keeping track of local, regional, and global interests can be a staggering proposition.  This flow chart is both incredibly complex, but also aids the user in making sense of the relationships that help to define the region.  

 

Tags: MiddleEast, conflict, political, geopoliticsregions.

Turkey’s New Maps Are Reclaiming the Ottoman Empire

Erdogan’s aggressive nationalism is now spilling over Turkey’s borders, grabbing land in Greece and Iraq.

 

In the past few weeks, a conflict between Ankara and Baghdad over Turkey’s role in the liberation of Mosul has precipitated an alarming burst of Turkish irredentism. President Erdogan criticized the Treaty of Lausanne, which created the borders of modern Turkey, for leaving the country too small. Turkey won’t be annexing part of Iraq anytime soon, but this combination of irredentist cartography and rhetoric nonetheless offers some insight into Turkey’s current foreign and domestic policies and Ankara’s self-image.  The military interventions and confrontational rhetoric this nationalism inspires may worsen Turkey’s security and regional standing.

 

Tags: political, irredentism, culture, Turkeyhistorical, bordersempire, geopolitics.

Source: www.yahoo.com

Four maps that explain the chaos of the Middle East

“Without trying to defend or absolve U.S. policy, then, it is worth stepping back to ask what shared historical experiences might have left these four countries — Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen — particularly at risk of violent collapse. The following maps help highlight how, at various points over the past century, historical circumstances conspired, in an often self-reinforcing way, to bolster the stability of some states in the region while undermining that of others.”

Source: www.washingtonpost.com

These maps are not cartographically inspiring, but the it’s the historical and political insight that makes them valuable. The goal of this set of maps is to find some underlying causal reasons for political stability(or more importantly instability) in the Middle East. These four maps focus on these key issues:

1. Century-old states are more stable today

2. Colonial rule led to fragile states

3. Instability and regime change

4. The shadow of the Cold War

 

Tags: MiddleEast, war, conflict, political, geopoliticshistorical.

Introducing ISIS

“The invasion of Iraq was supposed to turn the country into a democracy that posed no threat to the United States, or the rest of the world. Thirteen years later, Iraq has collapsed into three warring states. A third of the country is controlled by ISIS, who have also taken huge amounts of territory in Syria. VICE correspondent Ben Anderson gains exclusive access to the three front lines in Iraq, where Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish forces are fighting for their lives. Anderson visits with the Russian military forces in Syria, meets captured ISIS fighters in Kurdistan, and interviews US policymakers about how the situation in Iraq spun out of control.”

Source: www.youtube.com

Many young students are especially baffled at how a terrorist organization can seize control of large chunks of territory.  If you are looking for a good video introduction that explains how and why ISIS was able to gain power and than gain and maintain territory, this is it (it’s classroom safe despite the source). 

 

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

Why the Ukraine Crisis Is the West’s Fault

Conventional wisdom in the West blames the Ukraine crisis on Russian aggression. But this account is wrong: Washington and its European allies actually share most of the responsibility, having spent decades pushing east into Russia’s natural sphere of interest.

Source: www.foreignaffairs.com

Ukraine is culturally, economically, and geographically connected with Russia. It is a territory that Russia cannot afford to lose as a part of their sphere of influence.  John Mearsheimer, in his article Why Ukraine Crisis is the West’s Fault, gives a detailed account of NATO expansion and how it effected the Russian demand for hegemony in East Europe. Ultimately it is his conclusion that it was this expansion that provoked the Russians, and the current crisis is on the hands of the West. The will of a majority of Ukrainians is be begin economically aligning more with EU/NATO countries.  Ukraine decided against Russia, and Russia responded with force.   Here is an article where scholars weigh in and mostly disagree with the author’s provocative assessment

 

Tags: op-ed, Ukrainesupranationalism, Russia, geopoliticspolitical.

 

How Syria Ruined the Arab Spring

How Syria Ruined the Arab Spring « | Foreign Policy | the Global Magazine of News and Ideas

Source: foreignpolicy.com

Unraveling the situation on the ground in Syria is much like opening a Russian nesting doll, it’s a battle, inside of a battle, inside of a battle. A complex series of local, regional, and global rivalries all playing out on the battle grounds of Syria, turning the country in a wasteland. It’s created a nightmare for the millions of non-combatants forced to flee, and those stuck within the borders. What started as Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad cracking down on Arab spring protesters in early 2011, quickly escalated into a civil war. Regional rivals Iran, and Saudi Arabia then got involved sending aid to differing sides. Soon, as a result of the rise of ISIS, the west and Russia chose to intervene. Lost in the greater game of Geo-politics is the sad, slow death of the optimism that accompanied the Arab Spring. As Marc Lynch laments in ‘How Syria ruined the Arab Spring’, all of the momentum was lost and forgotten when Al-Assad resorted to force and Syria became a pawn in regional and global geopolitics.

 

Tagsop-ed, Syria, war, conflict, political, geopolitics, Middle East.

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