Parag Khanna's talk at TED on geopolitics

Friday, February 19, 2010

Here's the most recent video I've watched on

The talk is one of the longer ones at over 20 minutes in length, and some of the points mentioned there are similar to those written here, interestingly just one month before this video went online. This post of mine for example about Russian population being concentrated in the west (similar to the Canadian population being concentrated in the south, making it a country more along the lines of Chile with a big backyard), and this post about what you can learn from looking at the geography alone of countries, and specifically at the shapes of their borders. I would have liked to have seen the talk focus more on that, because it seems to be a bit too ambitious even for the long length, and barely has time to touch on each of the regions he talks about. Because of the attempt to touch upon just about every region in the world there are a lot of people griping in the comments below that he didn't mention Region X or Y (most are saying India and South America).

On top of that, there are some factual errors in the talk that certainly shouldn't have made their way in there. The statement that 15 countries joined the EU in one day in 2004 (it was actually ten), or that the population of Greenland is 600,000 (it's 60,000), or saying in the beginning that Russia's population is declining towards 120 million people (that's correct), but then saying later on that a region in Asia with 100 million people has "more than the entire population of Russia".

On top of that, checking the comments shows that Sudan is also not the second largest country in Africa; it's the largest. I thought it was Algeria but no, Sudan is a bit larger. Well, for the moment at least (Southern Sudan is having a referendum on independence next year).

In spite of that, those interested in geopolitics should watch the video since it goes over most of the regions of the world of strategic importance, and I do agree about the beneficial effect of infrastructure. Just be sure to check the comments below afterward and do some checking of your own to make sure that what has been claimed is actually true.


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