Five years. Time enough for China to publish a new economic plan, as it does every half decade. Enough for a novel virus to tell a global story about our economic and human fragility, and for the US to turn another page in the tale of its presidents.

It’s five years since the first edition of my book, Prisoners of Geography, which I was grateful to see become a success. I’m often asked if, due to the passage of time, it needs rewriting. The answer is that the actors change, but the stage remains much the same. Sure, Omar al-Bashir, then the leader of Sudan, ended up in a prison cell, but Sudan still relies on the River Nile to survive. Yes, the relationship between China and India has further deteriorated, but the Himalayas still stand and prevent an all-out land war between them.