The next 100 years A forecast for the 21st century

George Friedman

Book - 2009

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New York : Doubleday 2009.
Main Author
George Friedman (-)
1st ed
Physical Description
xii, 253 p. : maps
  • List of illustrations
  • Author's Note
  • Preface to the Anchor Books Edition
  • Overture: An Introduction to the American Age
  • Chapter 1. The Dawn of the American Age
  • Chapter 2. Earthquake: The U.S.-Jihadist War
  • Chapter 3. Population, Computers, and Culture Wars
  • Chapter 4. The New Fault Lines
  • Chapter 5. China 2020: Paper Tiger
  • Chapter 6. Russia 2020: Rematch
  • Chapter 7. American Power and the Crisis of 2030
  • Chapter 8. A New World Emerges
  • Chapter 9. The 2040s: Prelude to War
  • Chapter 10. Preparing for War
  • Chapter 11. World War: A Scenario
  • Chapter 12. The 2060s: A Golden Decade
  • Chapter 13. 2080: The United States, Mexico, and the Struggle for the Global Heartland
  • Epilogue
  • Acknowledgments
Review by Booklist Review

Friedman, author and founder of a forecasting company, sets out to provide a sense of the twenty-first century. He is confident that rather than being on the verge of decline, the U.S. has actually just begun its ascent and will be the center of power. This is a book about unintended consequences and how the constraints of time and place impact the behavior of individuals and nations and offer a view of future events. With many unknowns and acknowledging potential for error, Friedman carefully explains his position on the ultimate collapse of Russia, our next opponent after the Islamic conflicts, and he evaluates China and concludes it will not become a major threat. He provides thoughtful rationale for Japan, Turkey, and Poland to emerge as great powers, and his theories are fascinating on a confrontation between the U.S. and Mexico, a major economic force at the end of the century. This is an excellent book and will intrigue many library patrons.--Whaley, Mary Copyright 2009 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

With a unique combination of cold-eyed realism and boldly confident fortune-telling, Friedman (America's Secret War) offers a global tour of war and peace in the upcoming century. The author asserts that "the United States' power is so extraordinarily overwhelming" that it will dominate the coming century, brushing aside Islamic terrorist threats now, overcoming a resurgent Russia in the 2010s and '20s and eventually gaining influence over space-based missile systems that Friedman names "battle stars." Friedman is the founder of Stratfor, an independent geopolitical forecasting company, and his authoritative-sounding predictions are based on such factors as natural resources and population cycles. While these concrete measures lend his short-term forecasts credence, the later years of Friedman's 100-year cycle will provoke some serious eyebrow raising. The armed border clashes between Mexico and the United States in the 2080s seem relatively plausible, but the space war pitting Japan and Turkey against the United States and allies, prognosticated to begin precisely on Thanksgiving Day 2050, reads as fantastic (and terrifying) science fiction. Whether all of the visions in Friedman's crystal ball actually materialize, they certainly make for engrossing entertainment. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Kirkus Book Review

Futurologist Friedman (America's Secret War, 2004, etc.) entertainingly explains how America will bestride the world during this century. Prophecy, whether by astrologers, science-fiction writers or geopoliticians, has a dismal track record, but readers will enjoy this steady stream of clever historical analogies, economic analyses and startling demographic data. He dismisses America's obsession with the war on terrorism. Al-Qaeda, he explains, aims to recreate a united, Ottoman-like Islamic empire. To thwart this, the United States has merely to sustain the present disunity of Muslim nations. Win or lose, when we withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan over the next decade, the region will remain satisfyingly chaotic, and America can turn its attention elsewhere. There will be plenty to occupy us. Our leading economic rival, China, will implode, its dazzling growth ending in a crash just as Japan's did in the 1990s. But while Japan's stable society has endured during nearly 20 years of economic depression, China's rigid leadership and fractious regionalism cannot tolerate such stress, and the nation will fragment. A reviving Russia will try to reestablish defensible borders in Eastern Europe and the Caucasus, but shrinking population and reliance on natural resources for wealth doom it to failure and collapse. Japan, Turkey and Poland will fill the vacuum. For these predictions, Friedman relies heavily on a trend that will jolt most readers. The population explosion is ending, he writes; after 2050 advanced nations will need massive immigration to fill jobs and support their aging citizenry. This will provide another boost for America, which has always been friendlier to immigrants than Europe or Japan. Also, Mexico will become a great power. Few readers will buy all the prognostications, but most will agree that the author makes a reasonable case, backed with vast knowledge of geopolitics delivered in accessible prose. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

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. I Excerpted from The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century by George Friedman All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.