Robert D. Kaplan on the Muslim Middle Class and Sinbad the Sailor

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Bounded by nearly 40 countries and a third of the world's population, crisscrossed by sea lanes and trade routes, and contested by powers great and small, the Indian Ocean is likely to be a critical arena for American power in the 21st century. In Monsoon: The Indian Ocean and the Future of American Power, Robert D. Kaplan, one of America's most seasoned reporters and an Atlantic national correspondent, explains the factors behind the region's rise to prominence and why it matters. 

Recently, I spoke with Kaplan about Barack Obama's recent trip, the rise of the Muslim middle class, and why he'd love to live in Zanzibar.

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James Gibney is a features editor at The Atlantic. He was a political officer in the U.S. Foreign Service, where he wrote speeches for Warren Christopher, Anthony Lake, and Bill Clinton.

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