Why I Disagree With Robert Kaplan - Essay Sample

Published: 2023-03-29
Why I Disagree With Robert Kaplan - Essay Sample
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Foreign policy American history
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 917 words
8 min read

Anthropologists reacted to Kaplan's myopic obsession with violent attacks and criminal behavior in Africa and humanity as a whole. The portrait of Kaplan is misleading and goes on to promote ideas that pose threats and paint a dull picture of Africa, the international relations, and the American Foreign Policy. Kaplan was ignoring clear journalism principles. He put forward the terrific aftermath of the results from the cold war.

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Kaplan's portrait is seen to issue some warnings to the western readers and to equip them and prepare them for what to expect when they visit the African states. A threat, health concerns, discomfort are among the challenges they should expect. Well, this is how Kaplan puts it. Africans are described as violent, hungry, suffering from diseases, criminal, corrupt, and an uneducated lot. The limo is a symbolic representation of the rest of the world, and its occupants are the people from the developed countries. The people outside the limo are destroyers and a threat to the rest of the world.

This imagery is to prepare the readers of the coming anarchy. He continues to say that the animalistic instincts cause the violence in the urban cities, the practice of witchcraft activities as well as polygamy practiced by Africans. Pessimistic generalization of a few countries such as Rwanda, Somalia, Sierra Leone is a representation of the rest of Africa. The 1994 genocide in Rwanda, the political unrest in Somalia, paints the bigger picture of the crisis that has befallen the African continent. A person must be present physically, have the technical know-how to elaborate on the features of a particular region broadly. This is after detailed fieldwork and viewing of the place, an individual is in a better position to give a definite description to the readers, but Kaplan did not put this characteristic into practice. He blindly used the situation of the West African states' to represent the rest of Africa. Any lousy practice does not necessarily infer that it is what everyone in that country goes through.

Kaplan misuses the word culture in his portrait. It has been overused, for instance, in-culture wars, multiculturalism as well as American culture. According to Kaplan, he regards this as the driving force that pushes people to revolt and start to kill each other. Kaplan identifies specific African countries that are either politically unstable and face an uncertain economic future. Young people were made to work in mining fields or got recruited as militia in terrorist groups, as in the case of Somalia. Somalia is said to have collapsed due to the ancient clan rivalries. Rwanda presents Kaplan's theories as it is characterized by linguistic, religious, and cultural unity, but initially, it suffered from population pressure, resource scarcity, and cultural clashes. Kaplan suggests that the slaughter in Rwanda was as a result of racial differences as in the 1994 genocide in the context of overpopulation and cultural deterioration.

Kaplan's model brushes aside the outcomes of international politics involved in transforming the upcountry and cities in Africa. Many African countries have continued to exhibit ruthless ruling as well as selfish operations due to international backing. Kaplan suggested that much African media was tailored and coached with the aim to bring out the over sensitivity of African-Americans to Africa's image and how they are viewed in the United States. But the United States government is regarded as a propeller of the continued conflicts of the wars and economic crisis, as well as the direct beneficiary from the rule of dictators in Africa and the collapse of some states.

Kaplan intentionally leaves out the points where political and economic system regarding who gets and who is left out on the receiving of the resources of a country. He gives an example of Somalia where the government took away agricultural land from the people, thus mounting pressure on the agricultural sector. He completely ignores political and economic dynamics and ignored the emergence of ethnicity from a political point of view. History and geopolitics are significant in understanding the cause of changes that are destructive to a nation. Ethnicity and tribal differences are not the sole causes of conflict in Africa.

Finally, the author tries to reason his way out of Kaplan's arguments in a manner suggesting that Kaplan was always relying on inadequate information from his sources. He generalized everything and took West Africa as a sample of the African continent. The author dismisses these claims by pointing out that the political thought that Kaplan was covering the US being behind the crisis was the truth of the matter. The author criticizes the imagery depicted by Kaplan and offers better solutions to create a perfect description when describing events. One had to be there physically from numerous field trips to gather first-hand information and original content to write.

I would comment on the arguments of Kaplan, where he attributes himself as a realist in the world of writing. He attempts to describe how the world should be, rather than how politicians or international relations experts think of it. Thus note that Kaplan insists on his imagination to be the exact representation of the world, not realizing that it is in his mind. his shows the level of ignorance that Kaplan displayed when working on his portrait. The negative image created in the spirit of the western reader establishes some level of fear of coming to Africa to the extent of viewing the locals as having animalistic behavior whenever they meet them. It can fuel cases of racism.

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