The Internet is full of helpful people willing to say shitty things to other people they’ll never meet. One of these sort once described an article here as “geopolitical fanwankery.” That made me think a bit; just what was the point of the work here?
By profession, I’m a teacher. I’m not a researcher or a foreign policy analyst or a mole deep inside the bowels of the Earth planning world domination; none of those things sound particularly appealing when it all comes down to it. My job is rarely to come up with stuff that’s original but rather to relay information in a way that sticks.
Thus the “Geopolitics Made Super.” It’s “super” because it’s supposed to be more fun than the dry, “How-you-like-me-now-bitch” academic nightmare lexis that makes most people tune out. That lexis is the reason why so many say ignorant things like, “They’ve always been killing each other in Syria,” which they haven’t, or “It’s been going on since the Bible,” when nothing of the sort is true. People tune important stuff out because discussion of such important topics gets lost in language. That language exists for a reason, of course, because it’s super specific and it can pass really complicated ideas faster than breaking down and explaining such ideas step by step. But it creates a barrier to discussion and leaves out large swathes of humanity.
It’s to these left-outs that this blog is directed, the sort who don’t want to read Foreign Affairs, who skip over sentences with phrases like “state management of rentier resources” because that’s just pure nonsense, the sort who should know why certain parts of the world behave the way they do but aren’t being spoken to in a way that’s understandable.
My job is to distill complicated stuff into something most people can swallow and retain without throwing up. Geopolitics Made Super is supposed to help readers get a general feel of really, super complicated stuff without feeling ill, bored, or dumb.
I used to work in the government schools of the emirate of Abu Dhabi in the Persian Gulf. I learned a lot about how important communication is while there. If you were misunderstood, your lesson became a nightmare shitstorm that would haunt you for days at best. At its worst, miscommunication could mean a jail sentence when someone accused you of being un-Islamic. You had to learn how to talk to the people there in the way they expected or you got burned. Geopolitics Made Super does not pretend to be some high-and-mighty policy journal for wonks hidden within the U.S. State Department. It’s for the average Internet user who’s got a mild interest and who just doesn’t see the point of people making foreign affairs so fucking boring.
I can claim some expertise in certain areas – I know what tribalism can do to a government, I get some nuances of why the Persian Gulf is so weird, and I can say, with reasonable certainty, that geopolitical aspects of state management out in that region applies elsewhere. (Shit, sorry – there we go with the nonsense language). But mostly, I link. I link and link and link to people whose job it actually is to perform original research and to be in the room when the government of China declares they’d like another aircraft carrier, please.
Hopefully, Geopolitics Made Super does make foreign affairs a bit more sexy for you. Hopefully, it sheds some light on complicated news events that seem to happen for no reason. And maybe it entertains a bit along the way. At the very least, I hope it helps you stop thinking “They’ve always been doing” next time you see a headline.