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    • CommentAuthormike0liver
    • CommentTimeAug 11th 2019
    I thought my fellow forum members might be interested in a book I have just read. It is called "The Accidental Superpower" and is by Peter Zeihan. It explains how a country or continent's development is largely controlled by its geography and how that affects its ability to resist invasion, trade with other nations and manage its economy. The effects of this tend to determine where centres of population are sited and points out the importance of a river system that allows deep water vessels to access as much as possible of the nation. The Missouri-Mississippi complex is a perfect case and, according to the author, is one of the main reasons that the USA became a superpower - and is likely to remain one.

    Whether or not it affects your mapping and campaigning, it's a fascinating read.
    • CommentAuthorLoopysue
    • CommentTimeAug 11th 2019
    Thanks for this :)

    I haven't the time to read it right now, but I might at some point in the future.

    I am fully expecting this theory to explain why the UK... stuck right in the way of natural expansion from the continent... was invaded so very many times in the last 2000 years! LOL!
    • CommentAuthormike0liver
    • CommentTimeAug 11th 2019
    I can tell you that. The Thames is the best river we have - it's navigable for some distance. Once we'd dealt with the Vikings and then the Romans, the Normans - with superior military capabilities - managed to dispose of the Saxons and that pretty well saw Britain safe. At some point, someone (Henry VIII?) cottoned on to the fact that the best way of keeping those nasty Europeans at bay was a blue water navy. This would not only allow us to defend our coastline but our merchant shipping too. Our climate provided us with thousands of oak trees and, once it was realised that we should treat them as a valuable and renewable resource, our navy gradually established itself as at least the equal of and largely superior to all the world's navies.

    Zeihan proposes that the main contributors to a secure nation are 1) its geography 2) its river system and 3) its deep-water harbours. We had 2 out of 3 and our capital was sited on about the best navigable river on the island, even though we were a little sparse in that respect, and we built and maintained a very good deep water navy - as an Island race, our sailors were extremely effective and Elizabeth I's naval commanders set the foundations for Britannia rules the waves. By the time we clashed with the Americans in 1812, they had pretty well caught up and they had the three things I mention above in Spades! Our European colleagues did not enjoy our oak tree bonanza or Americas access to riverine transport and deep water ports and couldn't muster the wherewithal to challenge us navally - hence no serious invasions. Check out Napoleon's plans for the invasion of Britain in 1803 which never bore fruit.

    The book is an eye-opening treatise on how things are likely to progress for the world (it was written in 2014, so Mr Zeihan didn't know about Brexit, by the way) and, if he is correct, we need to make some pretty serious plans as to who we choose for long-term friends in the next 20 - 50 years. Do try to read it at some point - you'll certainly learn some things you didn't know.
    • CommentAuthorCeeJay
    • CommentTimeAug 12th 2019
    I remember reading something a while back, in which the author predicted that fresh water was likely to be a major cause of conflict in the 21st century -- there are several large-population nations which derive the majority of their fresh water from sources in another country.
    • CommentAuthormike0liver
    • CommentTimeAug 17th 2019
    That's absolutely correct. When a country builds a dam to protect its own supply, it can cut off the supply to another country - this is already happening in several African countries. It is likely to become a casus belli before much longer.

    There are also signs that nation states are beginning to develop their navies substantially because of the restrictions their geography places on them. China is pursuing this policy quite aggressively and even the UK is adding two big aircraft carriers to their navy - it is likely we shall need them. The other major contributing factor to a nation's ongoing development is their age demographics. Many countries are not producing enough young people to create the wealth to provide for their older generations and this opens up a conflict between the two. The book brings this out very clearly.