The premise of Robert D. Kaplan’s book, The Coming of Anarchy offers a multitude of his dire assessment on potential future catastrophic views of the decline of our society leading to eventual anarchy and the destruction of our planet. The views of Kaplan on events leading us to eventual anarchy as “he addressed in the reading of The International Security Environment is crime, overpopulation, tribalism and disease. 1 I offer a different perspective by suggesting that the catastrophic events depicted by Kaplan will most likely only manifest itself, due to the resulting loss or massive food and water shortages or the dramatic loss of our current global geography. In respect to possible population migrations, some people will be forced to relocate due to dramatic changes or the complete loss or degradation of the global geography. An stark example of this potential can be seen in the country of Bangladesh.
A majority of this country is located in a low lying geographic region, making it highly susceptible to flooding from the Bay of Bengal and the two main rivers of the Ganges and the Brahmaputra flowing throughout the country. “ It is estimated that 20 million people of Bangladesh live in these low-lying areas near the coastline. ”2 We have already witnessed the monsoonal effects in 2008, due to Cyclone Sidr, which resulted in mass evacuations of Bangladeshi’s that caused civilian chaos resulting in required International Aid commitments and reconstruction efforts. If global climate change escalates in the future and the sea level continues to rise, there will be millions of Bangladeshi’s residing in the flood plains, who will be forced to migrate from their homes. ”3 As Kaplan asserts, “water will be in dangerously short supply in certain diverse global locations in the 21st century that it could lead to war. ”4 However, I believe the major impetus to war erupting would only occur if the basic human quantities for food or water became so critically low, that a rationing system would need to be initiated. That might be the aspect which could be the catalyst for war.
I assess that with the constant influx of new technology developing worldwide, especially in terms of newly designed desalination facilities, the proposed shortages depicted by Kaplan creating potential global warfare might be vastly overstated. “As exemplified by recent droughts in Texas, there has been increased interest to develop measures to combat water shortages, as well as, develop future procedures to create drinking water from salt water. ”5 Another point of contention leading to potential future anarchy which Kaplan assessed is “the stark instances surrounding the future overpopulation growth of India.
He estimates a dramatic increase in India’s population to approximately 1. 5 billion people within the next 10-15 years. ”6 This dramatic population rise would require massive quantities for additional food, land and water resources. This could greatly deplete basic human necessities for future Indian generations leading to major international relief efforts and a threat to India‘s future. Upon reviewing data of future global population growth, I theorize that even the pessimistic views of Kaplan “that within the next 50 years, the earth’s population will soar from 5. 5 to more than 9 billion people,”7 may even be underestimated.
As “depicted by the speculative Wikipedia websites,”8 there would be enormous implications if this planet attains a human population growth to 10. 5 billion people? During the discussion of “Homer-Dixon’s view, Kaplan stated that the world’s future violence would likely be predicated on the loss of resources dealing with water, croplands, forests and fish. ”9 I assess that with our planet being covered by nearly 70% of water, I doubt that there will be such a dramatic decrease of fish in future generations, that it will greatly affect future worldwide food supplies; thus, creating massive global food scarcities.
However, additional insights in future fishing shortages and concerns “depicting negative impacts to our food supply dealt with over fishing and the consequences of depleting fish, as a staple for potential food supplies in the future. Other concerns focused on the detrimental effects of rising CO2 levels and its impact to the ocean and the rising water temperatures within fisheries. The potential impacts on the oceans becoming acidified from the increase of CO2 and the fisheries becoming jeopardized by warming waters, which would negatively impact spawning, is a possibility. 10 However, I suspect that future technology will be invented to overcome these deficiencies and the world will also revert to the increased use of other fossil fuels to assist in curbing the CO2 levels in the environment. I also anticipate an increase in fisheries to improve and increase our future resources in achieving marketable fish for human consumption.
“Some expert climatologists are hopeful that if we avoid severe future climate change, we can provide food and water for nine billion people. ”12 However, if the world’s population soars to 10. billion, there could ramifications should we not readily improve our food stocks to attempt to sustain everyone on the planet. Kaplan proposes “multiple theories of future events leading to global anarchy through the escalation of crime, overpopulation, tribalism and disease,”13 but I would assess that if we experience significant geographic degradation; thereby, necessitating forced migrations, intolerable overcrowding conditions and severe food and water shortages, we could witness civilization’s return to a primitive basic survival mode.
Anarchy could surface to ensure basic human survival for individuals, their families or tribes. It is imperative that society greatly conserve or improve methods of maintaining global food and water resources, while also implementing measures to curb the detrimental effects of global warming, rising sea levels and the loss or reduction of our global geography.
Kaplan, Robert D. The International Security Environment, (Command and General Staff College, Intermediate Level Education Common Core, C100: Foundations Paper, August 2011), 1. Shukman, David, British Broadcasting Corporation Newspaper, South Asia Online Edition, 7 September 2009 Buerk, Roland, British Broadcasting Corporation Newspaper , Science & Environment Online Edition, 7 Dec 2004 Kaplan, Robert D. The International Security Environment, (Command and General Staff College, Intermediate Level Education Common Core, C100: Foundations Paper, August 2011), 7. Galbraith, Kate, Texas Tribune, Online Edition, 9 June 2012, Kate Galbraith Kaplan, Robert D. “The Coming of Anarchy”(New York, NY: Random House, 2000, 51. Kaplan, 22. Wikipedia, http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/ World_population, 29 Nov 2012 Kaplan, 21. Harrabin, Roger, British Broadcasting Corporation Newspaper , Science & Environment Online Edition, 21 June 2012, Ibid Kaplan, Robert D. The International Security Environment, (Command and General Staff College, Intermediate Level Education Common Core, C100: Foundations Paper, August 2011), 1.