Robert Kaplan Essay

Kaplan’s expectations for the future of humanity are decidedly bleak. However, his assertion that the destabilizing forces currently at work in West Africa will play out in the West, and by extension, the United States ignore the abundant natural resources, strong political institutions, and individualism inherent in the country.
Kaplan’s reasons for global destabilization hinges on scarcity of resources. This, however, just is not the case in the United States. One area where this misconception is clear is natural gas. The forecast for natural gas in the United States has shifted dramatically in the last few years. A few years ago, most forecasts showed the United States growing increasingly dependent on imports of liquefied natural gas. Now, it seems likely that North America will become increasingly independent in natural gas (Brown 2010). There are many factors accounting for this increase. Among them are technological advances in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing and a twofold increase in the estimate of U.S. shale gas resources from 2007 to 2009 (Brown 2010). The other area where Kaplan’s prediction about resource scarcity falls apart is regarding renewable water supplies. According to a 2006 study, the United States holds more than twice the amount of renewable fresh water than all West African countries combined (Pacific Institute 2011). The abundant natural resources ensure the strength and stability of the United States.
Americans effect change to the country through leveraging the political process. Federal elections occur every two years. State and local elections occur every year. This provides ample opportunity for citizens who are not satisfied with their elected leaders to replace those leaders. Further, when an incumbent loses an election, there is a peaceful transition of power. This is in stark contrast to what usually happens in West Africa. Indeed, following the 2010 Presidential Election in Ivory Coast, the country had with two...