The Coming Anarchy - Robert Kaplan
In 1994, Robert Kaplan published his essay entitled, "The Coming Anarchy." In his essay, Mr. Kaplan theorized that the region of Western Africa is becoming the “symbol of worldwide demographic, environmental, and societal stress”. He identified numerous political, social, economic, and environmental issues affecting Western Africa, which in his opinion, would lead to the demise of that African region within the next 50 years. Mr. Kaplan further theorized that nations worldwide would eventually contract the same problems occurring in Western Africa and collapse into anarchy. Mr. Kaplan’s prediction of worldwide anarchy is inaccurate, since his argument relies on broad generalizations and insufficient credible examples and sources of
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Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast are both located on the southern coast of Western Africa, and endured military coups, economic troubles, and trade conflicts during the 1980’s. Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast have similar economies dominated by trade and exportation of goods, and are not oil-producing nations. Kaplan made a mistake by selecting countries that were too geographically and economically similar, and thus, discredits his statement of Sierra Leone being a “microcosm of what is occurring” in Western Africa.
Kaplan considered Nigeria, with its extensive supply of oil reserves, to be the country with the greatest future growth potential in Western Africa. However, Kaplan’s fixation with his worldwide anarchy theory caused him to still overlook Nigeria’s energy potential, and assume that a Nigeria of the future would be borderless, overpopulated, impoverished, and ripe with famines. Additional, unbiased research on Nigeria’s energy potential by Kaplan would have demonstrated that Nigeria’s future was bright, despite the social, political, and environmental problems existing in 1994.
Given the political, economic, social, and environmental differences that exist in Western Africa, Kaplan further erred by only selecting three countries in formulating his theory of worldwide anarchy. By using only three countries