Robert David Kaplan (born June 23, 1952) is an American author. His books are on politics, primarily foreign affairs, and travel. His work over three decades has appeared in The Atlantic, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The New Republic, The National Interest, Foreign Affairs and The Wall Street Journal, among other newspapers and publications.
One of Kaplan’s most influential articles is “The Coming Anarchy”, published in The Atlantic Monthly in 1994. Critics of the article have compared it to Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations thesis, since Kaplan presents conflicts in the contemporary world as the struggle between primitivism and civilizations. Another frequent theme in Kaplan’s work is the reemergence of cultural and historical tensions temporarily suspended during the Cold War.
From 2008 to 2012, Kaplan was a Senior Fellow at the Center for a New American Security in Washington, DC; he rejoined the organization in 2015. Between 2012 and 2014, he was chief geopolitical analyst at Stratfor, a private global forecasting firm. In 2009, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates appointed Kaplan to the Defense Policy Board, a federal advisory committee to the United States Department of Defense. In 2011, and 2012, Foreign Policy magazine named Kaplan as one of the world’s “top 100 global thinkers.” In 2017, Kaplan joined Eurasia Group, a political risk consultancy, as a Senior Advisor. In 2020, he was named to the Robert Strausz-Hupé Chair in Geopolitics at the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia.
Books in order of publication:
Carta’s guide to Israel and Jordan – 1980
Arabists: the romance of an American elite – 1993
An Empire Wilderness: Travels into America’s Future – 1999
Eastward to Tartary: Travels in the Balkans, the Middle East, and the Caucasus – 2000
The Coming Anarchy: Shattering the Dreams of the Post-Cold War – 2001
The Ends of the Earth: From Togo to Turkmenistan, from Iran to Cambodia–A Journey to the Frontiers of Anarchy – 2001
Soldiers of God: With Islamic Warriors in Afghanistan and Pakistan – 2001
Surrender or Starve: Travels in Ethiopia, Sudan, Somalia, and Eritrea – 2003
Warrior Politics: Why Leadership Demands a Pagan Ethos – 2003
“America and the Tragic Limits of Imperialism” – 2003
Mediterranean Winter: The Pleasures of History and Landscape in Tunisia, Sicily, Dalmatia, and Greece – 2004
Balkan Ghosts: A Journey Through History – 2005
Imperial grunts: on the ground with the American military, from Mongolia to the Philippines to Iraq and beyond – 2005
Hog pilots, blue water grunts: the American military in the air, at sea, and on the ground – 2007
Monsoon: The Indian Ocean and The Future of American Power – 2010
The Revenge of Geography: What the Map Tells Us About Coming Conflicts and the Battle Against Fate – 2012
Asia’s Cauldron: The South China Sea and the End of a Stable Pacific – 2014
In Europe’s Shadow: Two Cold Wars and a Thirty-Year Journey Through Romania and Beyond – 2016
The Return of Marco Polo’s World: War, Strategy and American Interests in the Twenty-First Century – 2018