Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

How do 100,000,000 loaded guns sound?

Written by: on February 25, 2023

In Prisoners of Geography, Tim Marshall shares several ideas, and as I read the book question remains whether there will ever be peace on this side of heaven. I found this book interesting and will look at a few key ideas. My main takeaway is that, as suggested in his title, we might all be prisoners somehow.

1.     Russia is an aggressive presence of fear of invasion from the West.

 “Did you know that the land you stand on has shaped the society you’re living in? If this sounds a tad abstract, think of it this way: the geographic features and resources around you have strongly influenced your country’s economy, as well as how it has fared in the many wars that have been fought throughout history.”[1]

2.     Blame the Russian war on the land?

  “So, Vladimir Putin had no choice but to claim Crimea”[2]

President Vladimir Putin of Russia has not been simply fighting as a means of showing off his power and might, but he is a prisoner of geography. Marshall reveals what causes Vladimir Putin spend sleepless nights, as described by Blinkist, is the area of land called the North European Plain, “which stretches from France across Belgium, the Netherlands, Northern Germany, and Poland and ends at the Russian Urals. As the name suggests, this flat area makes the European gateway to Russia vulnerable and difficult to defend.” [3]

The author calls this land a pizza slice very hard to defend, and adds that Putin is not simply afraid, but this is precisely what has happened to Russia.

Any country within the North European Plain could send an army across the flatlands and directly into Moscow. As Putin knows all too well, this is precisely what has happened to Russia throughout its history During both world wars, and this is the path the Germans took in their military campaigns. But that’s not all; since 1812, invaders from the         Northern European Plain have attacked Russia an average of once every 33 years![4]

While I was looking at the book, Putin showed up in my news feed on the computer with a justification for his attack on Ukraine in his Annual State of the Nation Speech. “The responsibility for starting the war for the growing number of victims lies totally with the west.”[5]

3.     China’s fear of India is the reason for victimizing Tibet!

The freedoms and democracy the West has enjoyed for years can be a death sentence in some countries worldwide. If you’re familiar with the history of Tibet, you know it’s been the site of an ongoing struggle for freedom from Chinese rule. It also involved regular, though always shocking, acts of Tibetan monks setting themselves on fire to protest Chinese oppression. In 2008, 21 Tibetans died after protests turned especially violent.[6]

4.     The blessed gun-rich land of the free

The author mentions, “Guns and geographical good fortune make the United States invulnerable.” In terms of freedom from invasions, I must agree with the author that the United States has is the safest place in the world. “As for the state-of-the-art security system – how do 100,000,000 loaded guns sound? The United States’ lenient gun laws have resulted in every small town having the potential to take up arms and immediately defend itself from invasion without any help from the federal government. This country has the right to bear arms written into its social fabric, so guns are within easy reach for millions of Americans.

5.     We are all Prisoners of our environment.

Marshall writes like one who has seen lots of guns. He must look at the world through the journalist’s lens, primarily covering areas devastated by conflicts.

He was a diplomatic editor at Sky News and worked for the BBC and LBC/IRN radio before that. He has reported from forty countries and covered conflicts in Croatia, Bosnia,     Macedonia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, and Israel.[7]

It is clear the influence his diplomatic reporting has had on the writing of this book. The places Marshall has covered as a journalist have seen the worst of our global wars and conflicts; no wonder he shares another angle to help his readers understand or at least look deeper into the root cause of these wars and atrocities worldwide.

[1] Blinkist, “Prisoners of Geography” (Blinkist, n.d.), accessed February 24, 2023, https://www.blinkist.com/en/nc/reader/prisoners-of-geography-en.

[2] Daniel Dombey, “Prisoners of Geography’, by Tim Marshall” (August 9, 2015), accessed February 25, 2023, https://www.ft.com/content/a3203b9e-3b54-11e5-8613-07d16aad2152.

[3] Blinkist, “Prisoners of Georgraphy.”

[4] Ibid.

[5] “Ukraine War,” YouTube (Sky News, February 21, 2023), accessed February 25, 2023, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F4WWUnjfXJ0.

[6] Blinkist, “Prisoners of Georgraphy.”

[7] Tim Marshall’s career as a journalist and author – Google Search

About the Author


Jean de Dieu Ndahiriwe

Jean de Dieu Ndahiriwe is a Clinical Correctional Chaplain and former Child Refugee from War-torn Rwanda. A member of the Maxwell Leadership Certified Team, Jean is passionate about Servant Leadership and looks forward to seeing more leaders that inspire Lasting Peace and Justice for all, especially "the least of these".

14 responses to “How do 100,000,000 loaded guns sound?”

  1. mm David Beavis says:

    Hey Jean,

    Your post was clear and to the point. I am incredibly appreciative of that. I do have a pushback on the 100,000,000 guns and America being the safest place to be. I know this is in regards to America being safe from invasion, but I do not think we can honestly say this considering that the US far exceeds other developed countries with 10 million or more. The right to bear arms may have been implemented to prevent the government from having too much power to be overthrown, and it does give an advantage from foreign invaders (though, as Marshall points out, that is geographically nearly impossible), but there is a great cost to our lust for our right to possess weapons.

    • Thanks David,
      The cost of owning guns in this country is definitely evident. Praying the Prince of Peace will help us live peacefully with one another. The question remains what Christians should be doing besides relying on these guns. To some it might seem like instead of trusting in the Lord we’ve move to trusting in the guns.

  2. Caleb Lu says:

    Jean, thanks for your post. Russia seems to be in the forefront of a lot of our minds, or at least part of our news feed scrolling. I too think it’s a little silly to blame all of the decisions that leaders make on being prisoners to geography. I wonder even why Marshall seems to tend toward the need for war and dominance in the Balkans for Russia instead of creating solid alliances with a foundation of peace. I think our geography influences what kinds of things we might think about, worry, grieve, and take advantage of, but I wonder if there are steps we can take to break out of the prisons that hold us.

    • Good point, Caleb,
      I believe steps to take toward peace are more crucial today than ever before. It is unsafe as we see the world turning towards war, especially these superpowers. I have been tempted to think we might need to encourage more Christians into politics, but the older I get, the more I change my perspective! I think our world is getting older as well. Thanks, brother.

  3. mm Chad McSwain says:

    Jean de Dieu – great summary of the book and background of the author. I was also struck with the idea of all the guns in the United States ready to be aimed at a foreign invader. In the rural community in which I pastor, the amount of guns might be underestimated by the author. They would be ready to be an ad hoc militia if needed. It would be quite an undertaking to invade. Interesting ideas to think about in terms of geostrategy. Thank you for the summary.

    • Chad – Thanks for the comment,
      I agree; to some, a gun means security—no peace with the ability for self-protection. A neighbor called me to show off what he had in his house here in my neighborhood; four guns with all kinds of accessories! I couldn’t imagine the use of all these guns! To him, it is a hobby; he wants me to come over and head to the mountains shooting on the weekend. I personally don’t like this hobby, and he must be disappointed.

  4. Audrey Robinson says:


    What a thorough review of Prisoners. I agree with you that as a journalist Marshall has many in-depth insights to offer based on his travels. What one leadership or humanitarian insight would you have wanted to read more about or explore further?

  5. Jean,
    This is an excellent post. It seems to have unlocked a passion in side of you? Is this a cause that you care deeply about? Has this been the most impactful book you read thus far in the program?

    Thank you again for your post.

  6. Hello Greg, thanks for the comment. I have loved most of the books that our lead mentor introduces.
    Something must be triggered whenever the content brings back conflicts and civil unrest in our world. I can’t wait to see the Prince of Peace calm down all these wars and speak lasting peace; I look forward to the Kingdom to come.

  7. Jean – I appreciated how you acknowledged the reporter lens that Marshall utilized as he wrote this book. It was an important reminder that we should consider the author’s lived experience as we evaluate and review a book.

  8. Thanks for the comment, Laura.

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