Robert D. Kaplan (portret)

Robert D. Kaplan’s look on democracy is refreshing and different from the general view on the form of governance – democracy is not necessarily leading to more stability. In his essay, Was Democracy Just a Moment? (The Atlantic) Kaplan outlines the pitfalls of democracy, as a system ‘that will not best serve the world – or even the one that will prevail in places that now consider themselves bastions of freedom.’ Even former President of the United States: Clinton, was so impressed with Kaplan’s essay, he ordered an interagency study of these issues, and it agreed with Kaplan’s conclusions.

We are more than rejoiced to welcome Kaplan in De Balie (23rd of May, 20:00) to hear about both his opinions and objective research on geopolitical subjects. In 1973-1974, Kaplan travelled throughout Communist Eastern Europe. In 1975, he started living overseas throughout the Arab and Mediterranean parts of the world – 16 years in total. He served a year in the Israel Defence Forces and lived for nine years in Greece and Portugal.

Robert D. Kaplan is the bestselling author of twenty books on foreign affairs and travel. The Good American, The Coming Anarchy, Balkan Ghosts and many more. His most famous article, The Coming Anarchy, published February 1994 in Atlantic Monthly, about how population rise, ethnic and sectarian strife, disease, urbanization, and resource depletion is undermining the political fabric of the planet, was hotly debated around the world. Considered one of the fundamental theses on the state of world affairs in the post Cold War era. Ranked on the same level of doctrinal importance as Samuel Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations, and Francis Fukuyama´s The End of History and the Last Man. Kaplan is in De Balie to talk about the (not so) post Cold War era. The war in Ukraine displays how important both ideology and power relations during difficult times. Together with Natalia Antelava, Georgian journalist and Maarten van Rossum, strategic adviser of Cambridge Negotiation Institute, Kaplan will discuss two questions. What is exactly the current relationship between NATO, EU, and Russia? How do we deal with Russia?

Kaplan reported on foreign affairs (The Atlantic) for three decades, and now he holds the Robert Strausz-hupé Chair in Geoplotics at the Foreign Policy Research Institute. Foreign Policy magazine named him one of the world’s Top 100 Global Thinkers, not once, but twice. His work varies to many Geopolitical subjects, but he is broadly recognized by his definition of the post Cold War era, which is not so post any more.

In 1980, Kaplan warned about the war in the Balkans – his book Balkan Ghosts was chosen by The New York Times Book Review as one of the best books of 1993. He received a great deal of acclaim worldwide but it was less warmly received by some professional historians. Noel Malcolm for instance wrote a devastatingly harsh review, because the book did not meet Malcolm’s standards of objectivity and research.

The tensions in Eastern Europe have risen, a war is happening, or did the Cold War never stop? Kaplan’s work is praised and criticized.

What are his opinions on current foreign affairs?