I talk to Europeans, Russians, Pakistanis, North Africans, Latin Americans, and Arabs, and they are vastly more geoliterate about geopolitics than Americans are.
The Global South is actually more intelligent than the America about most of these things, and even in the West, say, Italians are a lot more politically, culturally, historically, and even religiously hip than we are. I had a friend from Trieste and to this day, I am stunned at the breadth of his knowledge. I suppose he was of fairly average intelligence, though I never asked. But he had a way of seeing “the big picture” in everything, in particular as grounded in history. That guy’s wisdom in that sense was off the charts.
I dated a French woman as a young man – same thing. Off the charts in that sense. She even read literature and philosophy. How many Americans do that?
Talk to an ordinary Arab, say Palestinian, Iraqi, Jordanian, Syrian, Algerian, or Yemeni. They will blow your socks off with their knowledge of geopolitics and even history. We have Pakistanis and Punjabis in my town. The Punjabis don’t seem to know much about geopolitics for some reason, but I’m amazed at the Pakistanis. Their geoliteracy is amazing, and even their knowledge of local languages and the history of Pakistan is incredible. I knew an Argentine woman – same thing. She told me, regarding the Argentine Left:
You see, the Left in Latin America had a dream – a dream of a better world. And in Latin America, that is a dangerous thing.
That’s such a beautiful quote!
I used to talk to a Peruvian woman and I was shocked at how much she knew, especially about the history of her country. And take a look at our Venezuelan commenter Manuel. Look at how much he knows!
Your average Russian is very smart that way. You would be shocked at how smart they are in that sense. Even Ukrainians, who I despise, are very literate geopolitically. Their heads are screwed but they are not stupid.