Flashpoints The emerging crisis in Europe

George Friedman

Book - 2015

"Friedman zooms in on the region that has, for five hundred years, been the cultural hotbed of the world--Europe--and examines the most basic and fascinating building block of the region: culture. Analyzing the fault lines that have existed for centuries--and which have led to two world wars and dozens more conflicts--Friedman walks us through the 'flashpoints' that are still smoldering beneath the surface and are on course to erupt again"--

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Subjects
Published
New York : Doubleday [2015]
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Physical Description
xxii, 258 pages : maps ; 25 cm
ISBN
9780385536332
038553633X
Main Author
George Friedman (author)
  • European exceptionalism. A European life ; Europe's assault on the world ; The fragmentation of the European mind
  • Thirty-one years. Slaughter ; Exhaustion ; The American origins of European integration ; Crisis and division
  • Flashpoints. The wars of Maastricht ; The German question once more ; Mainland and peninsula ; Russia and its borderlands ; France, Germany, and their ancient borderlands ; Mediterranean Europe between Islam and Germany ; Turkey on the edge ; Britain.
Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

In this insightful examination of contemporary Europe, political scientist Friedman (Next Decade) challenges the view that the European Union and its neighbors have transcended the threat of violent conflict among nations. As background, Friedman explores the darker implications of the individualism, intellectual inquiry, and innovation that led to Europe's greatness, showing how the culture that produced the Enlightenment descended into barbarity in the 31 years from the beginning of WWI to the end of WWII. He recounts how Europe was shattered during that time, slowly reintegrated during the Cold War, and triumphantly unified by the European Union's formation in 1991, just as the Soviet empire disintegrated. The book depicts the German-dominated EU and Eurozone as a tense, fragile construct, particularly after the 2008 financial crisis—which broke the promise of prosperity that had drawn nations to join in the first place. Friedman identifies sources of instability in the numerous "borderlands" of Europe, most strikingly between Russia and a "barely functional" NATO. By dispassionately anatomizing the fears, aspirations, and interests of the key players, particularly a resurgent and resentful Russia, Friedman vividly describes a region where memories are long, perceived vulnerabilities are everywhere, and major threats have emerged rapidly and unexpectedly many times before. (Jan.) [Page ]. Copyright 2014 PWxyz LLC

Review by Publisher Summary 1

"A major new book by New York Times bestselling author and geopolitical forecaster George Friedman (The Next 100 Years, The Next Decade) with a bold thesis about coming conflict in the world, this provocative work examines the geopolitical flashpoints--particularly in Europe--in which imminent future conflicts are brewing. George Friedman has forecasted the coming trends (politics, technology, population, and culture) of the next century in The Next 100 Years, and focused his predictions on the coming ten years in The Next Decade. Now, in Flashpoints, Friedman zooms in on the region that has, for five hundred years, been the cultural hotbed of the world--Europe--and examines the most basic and fascinating building block of the region: culture. Analyzing the fault lines that have existed for centuries--and which have led to two world wars and dozens more conflicts--Friedman walks us through the 'flashpoints' that are still smoldering beneath the surface and are on course to erupt again. In Flashpoints, George Friedman begins with a fascinating history of the events leading up to the horrific wars that nearly tore apart Western civilization--killing over 100 million people on the 'civilized' European continent. Modern-day Europe, and the formation of the European Union, were designed to minimize the built-in geopolitical tensions that led to catastrophic war, but as Friedman shows with a mix of history and cultural analysis, those plans have failed. 'Flashpoints' are now simmering as dangerously as in the early twentieth century. Zeroing in on half a dozen locations, borderlands, and cultural dynamics, George Friedman does what few historians can--he explains precisely how certain trends are unstoppable, and what the future holds, both in terms of conflictand also opportunity. Flashpoints also explains in riveting detail how events in Europe will affect the rest of the world--from the United States to Russia, from China to Latin America. Continuing in his bestselling tradition, he reveals a geopolitical landscape that is at once a scintillating history lesson and a forecast for the coming years"--

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Examines key geopolitical flashpoints in Europe and their potential for future conflicts, discussing the failure of the European Union to minimize cultural conflict and geopolitical tensions and exploring how events in Europe will affect the rest of the world.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

The best-selling author of The Next 100 Years and The Next Decade offers a bold thesis about coming conflict in the world, examining key geopolitical flashpoints—particularly in Europe—in which imminent future conflicts are brewing. Includes 19 maps and one chart.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

A major new book by New York Times bestselling author and geopolitical forecaster George Friedman (The Next 100 Years), with a bold thesis about coming events in Europe. This provocative work examines “flashpoints,” unique geopolitical hot spots where tensions have erupted throughout history, and where conflict is due to emerge again.“There is a temptation, when you are around George Friedman, to treat him like a Magic 8 Ball.”  —The New York Times MagazineWith remarkable accuracy, George Friedman has forecasted coming trends in global politics, technology, population, and culture. In Flashpoints, Friedman focuses on Europe—the world’s cultural and power nexus for the past five hundred years . . . until now. Analyzing the most unstable, unexpected, and fascinating borderlands of Europe and Russia—and the fault lines that have existed for centuries and have been ground zero for multiple catastrophic wars—Friedman highlights, in an unprecedentedly personal way, the flashpoints that are smoldering once again.     The modern-day European Union was crafted in large part to minimize built-in geopolitical tensions that historically have torn it apart. As Friedman demonstrates, with a mix of rich history and cultural analysis, that design is failing. Flashpoints narrates a living history of Europe and explains, with great clarity, its most volatile regions: the turbulent and ever-shifting land dividing the West from Russia (a vast area that currently includes Ukraine, Belarus, and Lithuania); the ancient borderland between France and Germany; and the Mediterranean, which gave rise to Judaism and Christianity and became a center of Islamic life.     Through Friedman’s seamless narrative of townspeople and rivers and villages, a clear picture of regions and countries and history begins to emerge. Flashpoints is an engrossing analysis of modern-day Europe, its remarkable past, and the simmering fault lines that have awakened and will be pivotal in the near future. This is George Friedman’s most timely and, ultimately, riveting book.