I thought the class might enjoy this article about the evolution of the Silk Road. It touches upon our discussion about the importance and efficiency of maritime trade and how that has reshaped the traditional perception one associates with the traditional "Silk Roads." Truly, the notion of the Silk Road as a means of transporting artifacts on the caravan trade has lost its meaning centuries ago. The modern Silk Road is now characterized by oil pipelines, an interconnecting web of railroads, drug trafficking, and even terrorism.
Most interestingly, the modern Silk Road has important implications in politics and in the redefinition of national borders, which this article briefly touches upon. Some questions for our seminar: Where does Asia end now? As trade within this regions grows faster than trade with the outside world, what becomes of the US's strategic role in the region? What of the Iran-Pakistan pipeline and Russia's and China's energy ambitions? And how are economic and political relationships altered as result? What are the implications of increasing ties between China, India, and Russia and Iran's increasing role in the economies and politics of Central Asian states?