Parade in the western Libyan city of Zawia to mark the anniversary of last year's uprising.
Simon Dalby

CIGI Chair in the Political Economy of Climate Change
Balsillie School of International Affairs

Special Podcast Series: Reflections on Kaplan’s The Coming Anarchy
Over the next 3 months, ACUNS will be releasing a special series of Current Issues podcasts that feature interviews with the leading scholars and experts from a variety of disciplines and professional backgrounds. These conversations examine the ideas and debates generated by Robert Kaplan’s “The Coming Anarchy” (The Atlantic, February 1994), and discuss how his images and analysis subsequently shaped, affected and perhaps precluded policy choices and behaviors in Western capitals, in international organizations, NGOs and elsewhere – and for several of these experts, directly in their own work. The interviewees all participated in a recent workshop, “20 Years after The Coming Anarchy: Assessing the Legacy of Robert Kaplan’s 1994 Analysis” held at the Balsillie School of International Affairs.

Dr. Simon Dalby joins co-host Andrew Koltun to discuss the methodology and legacy of Robert D. Kaplan’s “The Coming Anarchy.” Why was Kaplan so preoccupied with maps? How have Kaplan’s predictions regarding environmental scarcity played out? How did Samuel Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations influence Kaplan’s work, and how do they compare in today’s geopolitical environment? Is national security a sensible response to environmental change? Through discussing these topics, Dalby provides insight into Kaplan’s both accurate and inaccurate predictions, and how these issues have developed in the last 20 years.

Additional Resources

Robert Kaplan, “The Coming Anarchy“, The Atlantic
Robert Kaplan, “Why So Much Anarchy?“, A 20 year reflection by Kaplan on “The Coming Anarchy”
20 Years after The Coming Anarchy: Assessing the Legacy of Robert Kaplan’s 1994 Analysis
The journal Geopolitics
Security and Environmental Change


About Simon Dalby
Simon Dalby is the CIGI chair in the political economy of climate change at the Balsillie School of International Affairs (BSIA) and professor of geography and environmental studies at Wilfrid Laurier University. His published research deals with climate change, political ecology, geopolitics, global security, environmental change, militarization and the spatial dimensions of governance.

He is co-editor of Rethinking Geopolitics (Routledge, 1998), The Geopolitics Reader (Routledge, 2006), the journal Geopolitics, and author of Creating the Second Cold War (Pinter and Guilford, 1990), Environmental Security (University of Minnesota Press, 2002) and Security and Environmental Change (Polity, 2009).

Simon was educated at Trinity College Dublin and the University of Victoria, and holds a Ph.D. from Simon Fraser University. He was previously professor of geography, environmental studies and political economy at Carleton University in Ottawa.

Recorded June 2014.