A graduate school friend introduced me to this map of the Sahara-Sahel region. It repays a few minutes of close study. It helps explain, for instance, the relationship between the fall of Qaddafi and the strengthening of the Mali rebels. It also shows the routes of global drug trafficking and the presence of the US military in so-called godforsaken places. Perhaps most importantly, it illustrates that political maps of countries and capitals are totally silent on important transnational political and economic phenomena.