The Return of Marco Polo’s World and the U.S. Military Response « CNAS Stories


The supercontinent is becoming one fluid, comprehensible unit of trade and conflict, as the Westphalian system of states weakens and older, imperial legacies – Russian, Chinese, Iranian, Turkish – become paramount. Every crisis from Central Europe to the ethnic-Han Chinese heartland is now interlinked. There is one singular battlespace.

What follows is an historical and geographical guide to it.

Europe, at least in the way that we have known it, has begun to vanish. And with it, the West itself – at least as a sharply defined geopolitical force – also loses substantial definition. Of course, the West as a civilizational concept has been in crisis for quite some time. The very obvious fact that courses in Western civilization are increasingly rare and controversial on most college campuses in the United States indicates the effect of multiculturalism in a world of intensified cosmopolitan interactions. Noting how Rome only partially inherited the ideals of Greece, and how the Middle Ages virtually lost the ideals of Rome, the 19th-century liberal Russian intellectual Alexander Herzen observed that “Modern Western thought will pass into history and be incorporated in it, will have its influence and its place, just as our body will pass into the composition of grass, of sheep, of cutlets, and of men. We do not like that kind of immortality, but what is to be done about it?”3

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Indeed, Western civilization is not being destroyed; rather, it is being diluted and dispersed. …

… But given just how many scenarios exist for an outbreak of hostilities in these increasingly fraught conflict zones, the question nobody asks, and that is utterly absent from the policy debate, is: Once violent hostilities begin, how do you end a war with Russia or China?

The Return of Marco Polo’s World and the U.S. Military Response « CNAS Stories

I suggest skimming the article. Unfortunately, it drones on and on but there are interesting nuggets of information contained within.

This is a long paper with golden nuggets of information buried in deep prose. This style of writing pretty much drives me up the wall and is why I usually don’t read Stratfor articles anymore. The author used to work for Stratfor. The article is not structured in a way to grasp important information easily.