In many ways political geography is a perfect metaphor for the postmodern era. People have constantly tried to reshape politically the world in which they live in their own image and attempts to try to limit the extent of the process of transformation have always ultimately failed. The process has also been unpredictable, with new patterns and groupings emerging and flourishing, apparently defying conventional logic and expectations. A generation ago, at the height of the Cold War, few would have predicted the current extent of the EU, encompassing most of the former Communist-controlled states in central and eastern Europe and with active plans to include yet more in the near future. Equally, it was certainly never envisaged that over much the same period the continent of Africa would change politically from a series of large European colonial territories supplying cheap raw materials to the developed industrialised world, into a network of independent states, struggling against poverty and disease to survive in the globalised world economy of the twenty-first century.