Robert Kaplan

Via Robert Farley, Tom Bissell has a fantastic Robert Kaplan takedown piece in the Virginia Quarterly Review.

Let me just say that for all the flaws of analysis and manners that one can find in Kaplan’s earlier, more travel-oriented books, I also rather like them. Hearing a somewhat cranky man recount his adventures in weird places can be pretty entertaining even if mistakes are made. The problems really arise in more recent years, roughly post-9/11, when Kaplan becomes more and more a policy writer. That’s when stuff really runs off the rails. But it’s worth noting that Kaplan is not only employed by The Atlantic, but also by CNAS one of the most influential defense policy organizations in town. Which is perhaps the best illustration of the point that there’s an endless market in policy circles — even in allegedly left-of-center policy circles — for nationalism and militarism, no matter how poorly done.