Today, there is less talk about empires and more about a country’s sphere of influence. With its armed forces, especially it’s blue water navy and air force, the U.S. is today the country with the greatest sphere of influence. Others which challenge the US to some extent are Russia and China, each of which has a sphere of influence rather than an empire. Another region, the EU is a group of countries which has global influence but does not challenge the US economically or militarily. Other countries with nuclear weapons have a degree of global power but would not be described as having a general sphere of influence.
The Middle East and North African countries are a region with religious based conflicts. In the past these might be isolated from the rest of the world, but today through a combination of cheap communication and transportation costs and the use of social media, are integrated into the rest of the world. In a sense there are fewer regional issues and more global ones. Countries distant from a regional hotspot are now more likely to be involved.
An appreciation of how countries are linked with each other geographically, historically, economically and politically is increasingly important for people growing up in today’s world. Those in school today will benefit from studying technological developments, not just those related to information and communications. Fortunately in many ways they already do so. The future will be based on how technology is grafted onto an understanding of the past, and a willingness to stay up todate. Lifelong learning and the realization that each will have a number of jobs in the future is the mindset which the next generation should have.