Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century

Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century

by George Friedman

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Overview

China fragments, a new Cold War with Russia, Mexcio challenges U.S., the new great powers Turkey, Poland and JapanThe Next 100 Years is a fascinating, eye-opening and often shocking look at what lies ahead for the U.S. and the world from one of our most incisive futurists.


In his provocative book, George Friedman turns his eye on the future—offering a lucid, highly readable forecast of the changes we can expect around the world during the twenty-first century. He explains where and why future wars will erupt (and how they will be fought), which nations will gain and lose economic and political power, and how new technologies and cultural trends will alter the way we live in the new century.
The Next 100 Years draws on a fascinating exploration of history and geopolitical patterns dating back hundreds of years. Friedman shows that we are now, for the first time in half a millennium, at the dawn of a new era—with changes in store, including:

• The U.S.-Jihadist war will conclude—replaced by a second full-blown cold war with Russia.
• China will undergo a major extended internal crisis, and Mexico will emerge as an important world power.
• A new global war will unfold toward the middle of the century between the United States and an unexpected coalition from Eastern Europe, Eurasia, and the Far East; but armies will be much smaller and wars will be less deadly.
• Technology will focus on space—both for major military uses and for a dramatic new energy resource that will have radical environmental implications.
• The United States will experience a Golden Age in the second half of the century.

Written with the keen insight and thoughtful analysis that has made George Friedman a renowned expert in geopolitics and forecasting, The Next 100 Years presents a fascinating picture of what lies ahead.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780385522946
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/27/2009
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 159,126
File size: 4 MB

About the Author

GEORGE FRIEDMAN is the founder and CEO of STRATFOR, the world’s leading private intelligence and forecasting company. He is frequently called upon as a media expert and is the author of four books, including most recently America’s Secret War, and numerous articles on national security, information warfare, computer security, and the intelligence business. He lives in Austin, Texas.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1


The Dawn of the American Age


There is a deep-seated belief in America that the United States is approaching the eve of its destruction. Read letters to the editor, peruse the Web, and listen to public discourse. Disastrous wars, uncontrolled deficits, high gasoline prices, shootings at universities, corruption in business and government, and an endless litany of other shortcomings--all of them quite real--create a sense that the American dream has been shattered and that America is past its prime. If that doesn't convince you, listen to Europeans. They will assure you that America's best day is behind it.
The odd thing is that all of this foreboding was present during the presidency of Richard Nixon, together with many of the same issues. There is a continual fear that American power and prosperity are illusory, and that disaster is just around the corner. The sense transcends ideology. Environmentalists and Christian conservatives are both delivering the same message. Unless we repent of our ways, we will pay the price--and it may be too late already.
It's interesting to note that the nation that believes in its manifest destiny has not only a sense of impending disaster but a nagging feeling that the country simply isn't what it used to be. We have a deep sense of nostalgia for the 1950s as a "simpler" time. This is quite a strange belief. With the Korean War and McCarthy at one end, Little Rock in the middle, and Sputnik and Berlin at the other end, and the very real threat of nuclear war throughout, the 1950s was actually a time of intense anxiety and foreboding. A widely read book published in the 1950s was entitled The Age of Anxiety. In the 1950s, they looked back nostalgically at an earlier America, just as we look back nostalgically at the 1950s.
American culture is the manic combination of exultant hubris and profound gloom. The net result is a sense of confidence constantly undermined by the fear that we may be drowned by melting ice caps caused by global warming or smitten dead by a wrathful God for gay marriage, both outcomes being our personal responsibility. American mood swings make it hard to develop a real sense of the United States at the beginning of the twenty-first century. But the fact is that the United States is stunningly powerful. It may be that it is heading for a catastrophe, but it is hard to see one when you look at the basic facts.
Let's consider some illuminating figures. Americans constitute about 4 percent of the world's population but produce about 26 percent of all goods and services. In 2007 U.S. gross domestic product was about $14 trillion, compared to the world's GDP of $54 trillion--about 26 percent of the world's economic activity takes place in the United States. The next largest economy in the world is Japan's, with a GDP of about $4.4 trillion--about a third the size of ours. The American economy is so huge that it is larger than the economies of the next four countries combined: Japan, Germany, China, and the United Kingdom.
Many people point at the declining auto and steel industries, which a generation ago were the mainstays of the American economy, as examples of a current deindustrialization of the United States. Certainly, a lot of industry has moved overseas. That has left the United States with industrial production of only $2.8 trillion (in 2006): the largest in the world, more than twice the size of the next largest industrial power, Japan, and larger than Japan's and China's industries combined.
There is talk of oil shortages, which certainly seem to exist and will undoubtedly increase. However, it is important to realize that the United States produced 8.3 million barrels of oil every day in 2006. Compare that with 9.7 million for Russia and 10.7 million for Saudi Arabia. U.S. oil production is 85 percent that of Saudi Arabia. The United States produces more oil than Iran, Kuwait, or the United Arab Emirates. Imports of oil into the country are vast, but given its industrial production, that's understandable. Comparing natural gas production in 2006, Russia was in first place with 22.4 trillion cubic feet and the United States was second with 18.7 trillion cubic feet. U.S. natural gas production is greater than that of the next five producers combined. In other words, although there is great concern that the United States is wholly dependent on foreign energy, it is actually one of the world's largest energy producers.
Given the vast size of the American economy, it is interesting to note that the United States is still underpopulated by global standards. Measured in inhabitants per square kilometer, the world's average population density is 49. Japan's is 338, Germany's is 230, and America's is only 31. If we exclude Alaska, which is largely uninhabitable, U.S. population density rises to 34. Compared to Japan or Germany, or the rest of Europe, the United States is hugely underpopulated. Even when we simply compare population in proportion to arable land--land that is suitable for agriculture--America has five times as much land per person as Asia, almost twice as much as Europe, and three times as much as the global average. An economy consists of land, labor, and capital. In the case of the United States, these numbers show that the nation can still grow--it has plenty of room to increase all three.
There are many answers to the question of why the U.S. economy is so powerful, but the simplest answer is military power. The United States completely dominates a continent that is invulnerable to invasion and occupation and in which its military overwhelms those of its neighbors. Virtually every other industrial power in the world has experienced devastating warfare in the twentieth century. The United States waged war, but America itself never experienced it. Military power and geographical reality created an economic reality. Other countries have lost time recovering from wars. The United States has not. It has actually grown because of them.
Consider this simple fact that I'll be returning to many times. The United States Navy controls all of the oceans of the world. Whether it's a junk in the South China Sea, a dhow off the African coast, a tanker in the Persian Gulf, or a cabin cruiser in the Caribbean, every ship in the world moves under the eyes of American satellites in space and its movement is guaranteed--or denied--at will by the U.S. Navy. The combined naval force of the rest of the world doesn't come close to equaling that of the U.S. Navy.
This has never happened before in human history, even with Britain. There have been regionally dominant navies, but never one that was globally and overwhelmingly dominant. This has meant that the United States could invade other countries--but never be invaded. It has meant that in the final analysis the United States controls international trade. It has become the foundation of American security and American wealth. Control of the seas emerged after World War II, solidified during the final phase of the European Age, and is now the flip side of American economic power, the basis of its military power.
Whatever passing problems exist for the United States, the most important factor in world affairs is the tremendous imbalance of economic, military, and political power. Any attempt to forecast the twenty-first century that does not begin with the recognition of the extraordinary nature of American power is out of touch with reality. But I am making a broader, more unexpected claim, too: the United States is only at the beginning of its power. The twenty-first century will be the American century.
That assertion rests on a deeper point. For the past five hundred years, the global system has rested on the power of Atlantic Europe, the European countries that bordered on the Atlantic Ocean: Portugal, Spain, France, England, and to a lesser extent the Netherlands. These countries transformed the world, creating the first global political and economic system in human history. As we know, European power collapsed during the twentieth century, along with the European empires. This created a vacuum that was filled by the United States, the dominant power in North America, and the only great power bordering both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. North America has assumed the place that Europe occupied for five hundred years, between Columbus's voyage in 1492 and the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. It has become the center of gravity of the international system.
Why? In order to understand the twenty-first century, it is important to understand the fundamental structural shifts that took place late in the twentieth century, setting the stage for a new century that will be radically different in form and substance, just as the United States is so different from Europe. My argument is not only that something extraordinary has happened but that the United States has had very little choice in it. This isn't about policy. It is about the way in which impersonal geopolitical forces work.


Europe


Until the fifteenth century, humans lived in self-enclosed, sequestered worlds. Humanity did not know itself as consisting of a single fabric. The Chinese didn't know of the Aztecs, and the Mayas didn't know of the Zulus. The Europeans may have heard of the Japanese, but they didn't really know them--and they certainly didn't interact with them. The Tower of Babel had done more than make it impossible for people to speak to each other. It made civilizations oblivious to each other.
Europeans living on the eastern rim of the Atlantic Ocean shattered the barriers between these sequestered regions and turned the world into a single entity in which all of the parts interacted with each other. What happened to Australian aborigines was intimately connected to the British relationship with Ireland and the need to find penal colonies for British prisoners overseas. What happened to Inca kings was tied to the relationship between Spain and Portugal. The imperialism of Atlantic Europe created a single world.
Atlantic Europe became the center of gravity of the global system (see map, page 20). What happened in Europe defined much of what happened elsewhere in the world. Other nations and regions did everything with one eye on Europe. From the sixteenth to the twentieth century hardly any part of the world escaped European influence and power. Everything, for good or evil, revolved around it. And the pivot of Europe was the North Atlantic. Whoever controlled that stretch of water controlled the highway to the world.
Europe was neither the most civilized nor the most advanced region in the world. So what made it the center? Europe really was a technical and intellectual backwater in the fifteenth century as opposed to China or the Islamic world. Why these small, out-of-the-way countries? And why did they begin their domination then and not five hundred years before or five hundred years later?
European power was about two things: money and geography. Europe depended on imports from Asia, particularly India. Pepper, for example, was not simply a cooking spice but also a meat preservative; its importation was a critical part of the European economy. Asia was filled with luxury goods that Europe needed, and would pay for, and historically Asian imports would come overland along the famous Silk Road and other routes until reaching the Mediterranean. The rise of Turkey--about which much more will be heard in the twenty-first century--closed these routes and increased the cost of imports.
European traders were desperate to find a way around the Turks. Spaniards and Portuguese--the Iberians--chose the nonmilitary alternative: they sought another route to India. The Iberians knew of only one route to India that avoided Turkey, down the length of the African coast and up into the Indian Ocean. They theorized about another route, assuming that the world was round, a route that would take them to India by going west.
This was a unique moment. At other points in history Atlantic Europe would have only fallen even deeper into backwardness and poverty. But the economic pain was real and the Turks were very dangerous, so there was pressure to do something. It was also a crucial psychological moment. The Spaniards, having just expelled the Muslims from Spain, were at the height of their barbaric hubris. Finally, the means for carrying out such exploration was at hand as well. Technology existed that, if properly used, might provide a solution to the Turkey problem.
The Iberians had a ship, the caravel, that could handle deep-sea voyages. They had an array of navigational devices, from the compass to the astrolabe. Finally they had guns, particularly cannons. All of these might have been borrowed from other cultures, but the Iberians integrated them into an effective economic and military system. They could now sail to distant places. When they arrived they were able to fight--and win. People who heard a cannon fire and saw a building explode tended to be more flexible in negotiations. When the Iberians reached their destinations, they could kick in the door and take over. Over the next several centuries, European ships, guns, and money dominated the world and created the first global system, the European Age.
Here is the irony: Europe dominated the world, but it failed to dominate itself. For five hundred years Europe tore itself apart in civil wars, and as a result there was never a European empire--there was instead a British empire, a Spanish empire, a French empire, a Portuguese empire, and so on. The European nations exhausted themselves in endless wars with each other while they invaded, subjugated, and eventually ruled much of the world.
There were many reasons for the inability of the Europeans to unite, but in the end it came down to a simple feature of geography: the English Channel. First the Spanish, then the French, and finally the Germans managed to dominate the European continent, but none of them could cross the Channel. Because no one could defeat Britain, conqueror after conqueror failed to hold Europe as a whole. Periods of peace were simply temporary truces. Europe was exhausted by the advent of World War I, in which over ten million men died--a good part of a generation. The European economy was shattered, and European confidence broken. Europe emerged as a demographic, economic, and cultural shadow of its former self. And then things got even worse.

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Next 100 Years 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 93 reviews.
doctordaxx2004 More than 1 year ago
I'm a futurist at heart. But I'm also a realist- and one thing I like best about this book is that it provides a good introduction to geopolitics for the layman. But, for those of us who like geopolitics, Friedman has given good rationales for the future direction of empires and hegemonies without going "Star Wars" or "Star Trek" crazy (I'm a fan of both!) In this book, America doesn't always win; other countries don't always lose; the concept of physical, cultural, economical and spiritual borders are addressed in addition to national borders; and, most importantly, it teaches lessons of the past and the patterns that modern-day empires (both new and successor states) follow because of what has been done by their predecessors centuries and decades before. If you like to have intellectual arguments about relevant things, including resource scarcity and relevant, realistic advances in technology to address those issues of scarcity, this is a nice book for you, too!
christophius1 More than 1 year ago
This is an excellent read for anyone interested in history, politics, geography, or international relations. George Friedman uses his position at the head of a think-tank directly involved in these matters to extrapolate past history into the future. Some of his ideas seem extraordinary, but as he points out so well, so many events of past history couldn't have been easily predicted or considered likely either...
jbWI More than 1 year ago
For many years, as a subscriber to the Stratfor Reports, I have been familiar with, and an admirer of, the work of George Friedman. In his book, The Next 100 years, Friedman applies years of experience and expertise in the field of strategic forecasting to a compelling and provocative series of predictions of the economic and political landscape developing during this century. Friedman reaches finite conclusions. However, he does so after building a substantial and believable case for each of them. Undoubtedly, many governments and powerful players read the Stratfor Reports and I am sure they will likewise read Friedman's book - -to the likely dismay, disbelief and anger to some - - to the delight and acceptance of others. I'm sorry that I won't be around to appreciate the longer term accuracy of Friedman's predictions. I'll be quite interested in as much of it as I am able to experience. And, I predict that it will be plenty accurate, notwithstanding Friedmans lack of any need to hedge or hide behind ambiguity.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book The Next 100 Years by George Friedman is a very interesting and possibly accurate take on what will happen during the 21st century. Most of the predictions are based either politically or militarily. For example, Friedman predicts there will be another United States and Russian cold war during the 2030's, and that Mexico will confront the U.S. in a ground based war by 2100, the end of the century. But, apart from war there are predictions of population and technology, including most energy sources coming from space based systems. Personally, I felt like this book was a very interesting read, even when it wasn't too exciting. I believe that whether or not Friedman's predictions become true or not, his analysis of the past and the way he explains his thought process in coming to his conclusions was very well done, and can definitely make anyone see his predictions as at least somewhat possible. I enjoyed the way that each chapter was kind of broken down into a decade, or a very major event during the 21st century, and that each chapter's predictions led to the next chapter's predictions. The only dislike I had for this book was that it could be somewhat dull at times, although it is probably much more in depth and analytical than similar books, which is needed to provide a base for hypotheses made in this book. I think anyone who is optimistic about and interested in the future, and enjoys learning about the past should read this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The use of oil, the next world war, the next economy crisis, the research of weapons.All of these are analyzed and explained in the book The next 100 years: A forecast to the 21st century. George Friedman has done excellent predictions full with reasoning and made assumptions step by step from the present world 10 years by 10 years to the future. From The economical surge of China, to Japan and Turkey challenging the United States for global power, then to the technological use of outer space weapons, these predictions from the book were all based from the present day, and then gradually expanding towards the future. In the book, common sense is being thoroughly explained through facts, and estimations analyzed through events. George Friedman has presented each nation with its own interests for the next 100 years and has brought the movements of countries to a whole new level. I was most impressed by the analyzing of the technology what each nation will be focusing on, the most significant ones being "battle star" and the use of energy. In the last 10 years of the book, the author has already pictured a totally different looking earth, so technology advanced that Science Fiction books for once came to truth. The only suggestion I have about the book is that George Friedman could have focused more on the happenings in Africa, which has barely appeared in the book. I believe that the concept of this book is so powerful and logical, that it will be continued to pass on as a guidebook for all of humanity for the next 100 years. Or until the next book comes out.
EdwinV1230 More than 1 year ago
George Friedman has stated his case very well. Given all the advantages and privileges that the United States has earned for herself as the only superpower on earth at the dawn of this new century - be it geographical, economical, technological or political - I cannot help but agree: the 21st century will indeed be marked in history as the American Age. This, however, appears to be a matter of common sense that Friedman does not want us to rely on. The only difference is that of his use of common sense - he combines it with his amazing familiarity with how nations behave at the macro level, which for me is very impressive. So much so that I was compelled to make a major adjustment on how I personally look at the subject at hand. My only complaint is his apparent unwillingness to come face to face with another issue - an issue that may not be as gigantic as geopolitics but would nonetheless result in a massive socio-cultural distintegration, albeit gradual, if consistently ignored. I speak here of the spiritual, moral and intellectual foundation that made Western civilization probably the most enduring civilization in human history, which, little by little, is being abandoned by America. I just can't imagine the implications it may bring should it continue in the next 100 years. Regardless of my disagreement, I still find in Friedman a genius who, I believe, will be be remembered 100 years from now, as we remember Nietzche who predicted that the 20th century would be the bloodiest century in history 100 years before it came to pass.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Most books I pick up in this genre are 500+ pages and you have to know your world history to have any chance of getting through it. This was more my style - smooth read, good transitions, enough detail to understand without getting too dense. Enjoy.
RolfDobelli More than 1 year ago
In this bold, lively and entertaining book, political strategy researcher and analyst George Friedman makes highly specific predications about the 21st century. His discussion of the globe's changing face educates readers about the forces shaping international politics. Friedman is committed to a wide geopolitical perspective, and his predictions rest on broad, detailed historical knowledge. Even if you think some predictions are farfetched (or too specific for such long time frames), the parallels he draws between what happened historically and what he believes will happen in the future are quite educational. getAbstract recommends Friedman's book to professionals involved in international business or long-term strategic planning, and to any reader interested in pragmatic, interesting and, of course, theoretical, assertions about the future.
dgmlrhodes on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book was an interesting, if speculative journey into the possibilities of the future over the next hundred years. The author takes analysis of past trends and makes some interesting theories around the future. Who knows if there will be any truth to these predictions but it was an interesting read on the environmental and political environment.
mpontius on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
How do you forecast the future of the world? Expect the unexpected. What shape will warfare take? Where will power arise as the century unfolds? What will be the role of China, the Muslim countries, Russia? Friedman takes a stab at predictions that are worth considering.
KR2 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I read quite a bit of material from George Friedman¿s articles from his intelligence report and without having done so, I probably would not have read this book in the first place. A geopolitical forecast for the next 100 years seems a futile attempt even for a person with too much time on their hands. He was very forthright in saying that the details were not the focus of this book and that the scope was to provide ideas about how the world might shape itself over the coming century.What impressed me the most about this book was not anything to do with what was written in it; rather that anyone who saw me reading this book would press me for the very details that were not important to what Friedman had in mind. Mostly people were looking to validate their own premonitions about what they think will happen in the future. So this book to them was the magic eight ball. To me this book was an open ended argument that relied on history and current affairs to give an idea of what could happen over the next century. Friedman did a good job of combining economic, social, and political circumstances to show what could evolve along with technology in different parts of the world.I should say that I agree with him 100% about the Russians. This is how I came across his intelligence report through his company Stratfor, and subsequently to this book. Time will tell how much of the details he gets right, and if the story unfolds in the way he tells it. I suspect that even if the details of this book are right on, future generations will not fall back on it as prophecy or use it to change course. In fact, there are no answers in this book, just premonitions, which makes it difficult to give this book any strong value. It was an interesting read though.
BeMo0703 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Interesting read. Wondering how accurate he is. Time will tell.
olgalijo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Even though I found this book well founded in history analysis and with solid deduction processes I can't help but to feel dissapointed. The American centrism of the author's logic reminds me of those U.S. people who have never been out of the country, and can't conceive that anything important is going on out there.Friedman asumes that he can compare in the same terms cultures with six thousand years of history to cultures a couple of hundred years old.Also, the absolute belief of the author in the U.S. technological superiotity astounds me. Compared with other developed countries, the U.S. has definitely been lacking in technology development in different areas (take clean energy production, for instance). And Friedman believes that this is going to change because of the U.S. war capabilities? He might find out that other countries were busy getting ahead during peace time....
Eagleduck86 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
While Friedman has a birds-eye view of present-day circumstances, the fact remains that the farther into the future Friedman travels with his crystal ball, the more speculative and questionable his outlook becomes. I am surprised that Friedman has not collaborated with one or more novelists, as the genre of futuristic science fiction would probably be a more effective vehicle for conveying his more long-range speculations.
MarioSantamaria on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It is a great effort to predict what would be the course of the next 100 years, as the author says, it is possible to see the tendencies from actual era, and how things will evolve, shaping possible future events, it is not possible to forecast the details, just the process to understand what is happening today is worth to read this book.
Shrike58 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Back in the day I liked to read Friedman's Stratfor site to get a contrarian response to the apogee of globalist/"end of history" thinking, though I never forgot that he was the gentleman who blessed us with that hundred-percent wrong futurist polemic "The Coming War With Japan." Flash forward a generation and what do you have; a book where Friedman forecasts the coming war with...wait for it...Japan! In alliance with Turkey!To be fair, Friedman has learned some lessons since the early 90s, and this book is mostly about demographics, technology, and the unchanging factors of geopolitics. This is not to mention that the author hedges his bets just a little bit. What really takes me aback is that Friedman has come up with this bizarre typology as a cultural tool of analysis, where he has a spectrum running from "barbarism" through "civilization" and ending up at "decadence." The first category essentially meaning being unthinkingly willing to fight, the second meaning showing conscious restraint, the last being unwilling to fight for one's values and interests. This throwback to organicist thinking about society seems mostly to exist to reassure American readers we still have some time in the sun left to us (as our culture is only adolescent according to Friedman), while giving Friedman an easy out to justify throwing Western Europe on the trash heap of history. Right.This is not to mention that if we are really going to have confrontations with Russia and China by 2020, I somehow doubt that the leaders of those two states are going to liquidate themselves as supinely as Friedman imagines. Call this a think piece bloated to short book size, and lacking a bibliography and an index!I mostly read this book for amusement and so should you.
slothman on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An interesting look at the geopolitics of the 21st century. It¿s of more interest as a starting point for thinking about geopolitical issues rather than as a prediction for which you can expect any accuracy. Friedman barely mentions India, for instance, which with a population of a billion is going to be significant on the world stage even without factoring in issues of climate change. (Friedman states in the epilogue that he isn¿t dealing with climate change in his analysis, though he thinks it¿s real; given that rising sea levels will threaten Bangladesh just when India¿s glacier-fed rivers are drying up, I think he¿s missing a big geopolitical faultline.)He also makes no allowance for disruptive technological change; his idea of a space-based military infrastructure overseen by manned space stations in geosynchronous orbit might have made sense back when Arthur Clarke was envisioning manned communications satellites, but it looks quaint and outdated in 2009. My power company just signed a contract for space solar power, which Friedman is anticipating will take another 40 years to take off; it¿s as if he didn¿t notice the Ansari X Prize has already been awarded and that upcoming investment in space will be through private industry, not massive government projects.The book is worthwhile for the thoughts it can provoke, but don¿t go rearranging your 401k investments based on its predictions.
lukespapa on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In what might initially be considered an act of hubris the author in this book actually makes some sense in describing scenarios for the near future. Using forecasting models based on history and human tendencies within the context of current research and a pending worldwide population reduction, geopolitics for the 21st century is explored and predictions are made for challenges to U.S. hegemony. Running counter to the prevailing thought of some, the author believes America is still in its ascendency as the dominant world power. However, challenges will come through a mid-century war (Turkey/Japan) and an end of the century borderland struggle with Mexico. In between, technological advances in space and energy will change the way war is waged and spark the global economy. Normally not the type of book I read, nonetheless I found this intriguing. Before I succumbed to cynicism, I considered all the changes (technology to black swans) that occurred from 1900-1999. From this perspective, many of the things the author discusses seem at least plausible.
brianjungwi on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
George Friedman's company, STRATFOR, consistently releases excellent analysis of world events and global trends, and I thought his previous work, "America's Secret War," continued his trend of thought provoking inquiry. A book based on predicting the next 100 years of history is ambitious and Friedman' analysis is interesting. He challenges the reader to ignore common sense and instead view countries through their constraints and potential responses. From these tools he extrapolates a vivid imagining of the future's potential history. His scenario plays upon the continued dominance of the United States and its contention with regional powers such as Japan, Poland, and Turkey. Although it is speculation, Friedman bases his prediction on the geopolitical priorities of countries. I especially liked his breakdown of U.S. priorities, and his recounting of U.S. history into 50 year cycles of economic and political development. His excursion on the future of war and its technology is fantastical at times, but it serves as a reminder of how military planners think, which was new to me. Friedman grounds many of his speculations in realistic assumptions about how nation states may act, and presents a very 'big-picture' view of the world.Friedman's analysis and focus on the 'big picture' however leaves out many potential variables. I enjoyed his discussions on geography and demographics, but India only warranted a short paragraph in the middle of the book. Africa is not mentioned to which I must assume he believes it may be inconsequential, which reflects current foreign policy biases. Furthermore, given the rise of non-state actors and transnational issues such as organised crime, disease, multi-lateralism, etc. as policy priorities, it would have been nice to see them addressed. Friedman believes they may not be in the scope of his predictions which look at long term motivations, but these, including leadership, have the potential to change the course of history in a country. Climate change was address as an afterthought in the final two pages of the book, and Friedman states that technology will be the deciding factor in solving the issue. Friedman focuses on the nation-state and realism is his under-lying philosophy.This of course discounts other constructivist and neo-liberal view points of the world which may have informed the reader on the variety of possibilities in the international arena. The book is interesting, but Friedman's narrow take on how history is being made left me feeling that he left out important ingredients that could have influenced his predictions.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Why do you waste you limited lifespan just trying to comprehend something that will never be able to be comprehended by the human mind? Reality is a lie. Time is only in our imagination. Nothing is anything and we all no nothing. Now accept this and go do somethig fun with you life. Doing anything productive is just the influence from our thousands of years of evolution of which is a need to assist the human rase in reproducing to garente the future of us all. Or something like that.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
That was the question I was asking myself when the Ukraine crisis kicked up, and Characters like Trump started popping onto the scene. This book has become a godless bible for me in recent years affirming some fears but giving me comfort on other fronts too. Very informative and interesting read. Highly recommended.
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