The Next Decade: What the World Will Look Like By George Friedman

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The author makes a bold and unshakable declaration: America is an imperial empire and that's a fact. Also America could lose itself as a Republic.

The author is CEO of Stratfor, which does intelligence analysis for the CIA and the multinationals. So the opinions in this book count for something.

He gives the big picture that faces America abroad. It is simple power and balance of power. He states that this country is always striving to set other countries at each other so they cannot combine against the United States. Not pretty, but the alternative is like believing pink horsies with wings bring babies.

I learned from this book why politicians always lie to us and why they will continue to do so. The reason is: We cannot handle the truth (wasn't that in a movie or something?). Politicians always have to dose the public with something it can accept.

I quickly noticed what I read in this book was being mentioned in the news of the day. How we are concerned about Egypt falling could be dangerous because the Israel/Egypt combination is important to us.

The book predicts that Germany and Russia will try to combine and that we will interfere with that. It predicts the rise of Japan, the fall of China and ultimately the fall of Russia (Russia cannot make it in the end because the rivers run the wrong way).

There are other areas of the world the book mentioned and that make this book a must read for anyone getting baptized into real world politik.

As I say, this book helps me to follow along with the news.

The author does not get into a detailed discussion about how we may lose our Republic...So I knocked a star off the rating, because I am so unfair. Hardcover This book learned me how mega trends, technology, demography, resources, wars, and foreign political actions are being observed and analyzed from American politicians perspective.
Although Friedman admits that America has some moral hypothesis that must maintain, but he confess that it must use all imperial power resources it possess to prevent any potential rival from competing its global role in both short and long terms.

As a Moslem-Arabic, i have to highlight two things about this book to two different segments:
1- to the Moslems and Arabs: America is like any other empire, it cares nothing about your own shit, don't expect any moral movement from it's side to help you to solve your own problems, any single action it takes is to strengthen its global power on your expenses, not else. It did the same to Japan, Germany and Russia in last century, and it does that to Russia-Germany now and will do that to Brazil and Turkey in next decades.
2- to the others: many examples in Middle east and terrorism chapters are misleading; the terrorism examples Friedman cites amplify palestinian resistance actions without citing any of uncountable israeli terror actions, or, at least, explaining the things behind palestinian hostility actions to Israel. Moreover, he concluded that America chose to support Israel as a result to the arab hostility to USA, which is precisely counter contrast. USA took strategic decision to support Israel, and that decision lead Arabs and Moslems to hostile American administrations.

In the final analysis, I liked this book, it taught me a bunch of political things I hadn't known before, and i recommend others, who are interested in foreign policy and geopolitics, to read it. Hardcover STRATFOR is a political think tank that gained prominence after Anonymous hacked its servers and spewed out its exceedingly boring dossiers onto the uncaring public. Its director, George Friedman, also wrote a book called THE NEXT 100 YEARS which contained such fantastic prediction as that in the year 2060, Japanese schoolgirl ninjas and Polish Space Marines would build a giant moon laser and sunburn half of the USA. One tends to wonder a bit how these scenarios get created, although it's probably all clever disinformation. Yeah, actually maybe STRATFOR really does run the world (as the tin foil crowd believes), they're just feigning absurdity.

Apparently Friedman does a little better with ten years of predictions rather than the full hundred. This work comes out of the school of foreign policy that says, hey, we're an empire, let's deal with it (not all FP professionals agree). The result is a outlook that relies extensively on the Westphalian model of states and alliances. Niall Ferguson does a better job of noticing things like the Protestantization of Latin America and growing Christianity of China. Other writers are a bit more subtle in dissecting racial politics and civilizational models. Friedman sees national states as inevitable and then subsequently conflict. On the other hand, other geopolitical thinkers find multiethnic empires the norm. Who knows? (who cares?) I predict fusion power will always be 20 years away and bioengineered superflu will kill off a tenth of humanity. But fine, yeah, it's possible humanity will settle Mars. by that time, VR will be so good Perky Pat will knock all our socks off

If you read this far, I want to say, man, it wasn't that I didn't know enough. It was that I knew too much
Hardcover If anyone is as involuntarily power hungry as the book wants to make the US, it is given that our world will continue to move towards more wars and an eventual doom. The book's main point is exactly opposite - that the best way for world peace is for US to subjugate others, decide everyone's fate and make sure others do not become friends with each other. Of course, the book assumes that despite its open advocation, the US can stealthily implement these policies and the rest of the world will never see through them.

The premise that the US must divide the rest of the world and rule by strengthening itself, making sure others stay behind and keep everyone suspicious of their neighbours etc is wrong. To assume that such strategies will succeed and is the only way not just for the world but the US to lead an ever better life is utter naivety. Great information, as always from the master geo-historian but one simply has to hope that real life power brokers do not think the same way. Hardcover I like the way Friedman said something like the leaders of today can be taught yesterday (not his exact words, these are mine.)

From 8,000 BCE to now, from empires to states, from theocracy to democracy, the world has changed again and again, and will continue to change, for better or for worse.

The way we know how to progress and not retrogress is by looking to the past and seeing how we can better the future.

For example (these are my own examples since I don't want to spoil:)

The majority of the empires were taken over or just became too unstable and collapsed because of nomadic tribes, decentralized governments, or revolts that brought down the power by bringing down the economy. We can and have learned from these mistakes and each new decade or century has proved this.

I like his wording and hope to read more of Friedman's work soon.


See? I can be smart too! :')

His stories are actually quite interesting. Hardcover

La próxima década será escenario de grandes cambios que darán forma al siglo XXI. Las guerras en el mundo islámico perderán fuerza y aprenderemos a convivir con el terrorismo. China entrará en crisis, mientras el mundo pasará de un periodo dominado por las debacles financieras a otro dominado por la escasez del empleo. Turquía será potencia dominante en Oriente Medio y, en el Mediterráneo, Polonia hará frente a una nueva Rusia, al tiempo que dentro de las fronteras de la Unión Europea se vivirán tensiones extraordinarias… Estos son algunos de los documentados pronósticos del autor de Los próximos cien años , George Friedman, para este decenio. The Next Decade: What the World Will Look Like


Intriguing to read almost ten years after it was written. Frightening to think what the next ten will bring based on what Friedman was writing and warning about in 2011. Almost as if we have followed the road map of what not to do. . . Hardcover Definitely worth reading with some reservations

I must confess to not having read George Friedman before taking this volume into hand. He certainly is an engaging and crystal clear writer. His understanding of international relationships is second to none that I have read. I highly recommend this book. However I do have a few reservations that I want to express.

Let’s begin with his analysis of what he calls “the unintended empire.” That would be the United States circa the second millennium of the present era. I like the way he insists on using the term “empire” even though George W. Bush and his neoconservative cohorts had to give it up because of its toxic connotations. Yes, America the Beautiful is an empire, and yes it was largely unintentional. Our empire is supported not by the direct spoils of war as was the Roman Empire, but by our ability to benefit from global resources through trade and technological advantage. Our military might is a mailed fist behind our back of course; but we maintain the empire mainly through the use of what political scientists call “soft power.” Regardless of the value of the spoils of empire, the American Empire is an expensive one to maintain, and in some quarters the perception is that the balance sheet is out of whack.

Now let us move on to Friedman’s justification for the actions of the Bush administration in its effort to deal with the threat to our glorious (well, not so glorious) empire posed by the events of 9/11/2001. Friedman speaking frankly as Machiavelli (indeed Friedman seems delighted to do a modern dress Machiavelli impersonation) sees all actions by nation states as serving their unique national interests. All events on the international stage are rationally arrived at by nation states based on this singular criterion. Thus, Friedman argues (p. 67) that North Korea, fearing that the collapse of the Soviet Union “would lead to its own collapse…launched a nuclear weapons program” and “made statements that appeared quite mad.” “The North Koreans were so successful that they had the great powers negotiating to entice them to negotiate. It was an extraordinary performance.”

However, (1) the leadership of North Korea is quite mad (witness what it does to its people) and (2) its utterances were not the result of some extraordinary psychological ploy that the great powers fell for; in fact the reason that the United States and others have treaded so softly and carefully with North Korea is that its leadership is indeed capable of frighteningly crazy behaviors most specifically the utter destruction of Seoul, South Korea. The fact of the matter is that North Korea holds Seoul in hostage and has for literally generations.

Next let’s move to Friedman’s interpretation of Bush’s reasons for invading Iraq. He writes (p. 62): “The Bush administration tied to craft a strategy that forced the Saudis and Pakistanis to be more aggressive in intelligence gathering and sharing and that placed the United States in a dominate position in the Middle East, from which it could project power.” He immediately adds, “These were the underlying reasons for the invasion of Iraq.”

What? Bush invaded Iraq to get the Saudis and Pakistanis to help with intelligence gathering and sharing? Now that’ what you call EXPENSIVE intelligence, and is about as farfetched a rationale as I’ve heard. No, the reasons that Bush invaded Iraq were several, including a deluded attempt to protect American oil interests in the region; to be a wartime president for the 2004 elections (or a president who had just won a war); to go one up on his dad who George W. believed should have overthrown Saddam Hussein during the Gulf War; to allow the US military to test its abilities and its weapons, etc. Friedman even goes so far as to argue that although at the time of the invasion of Iraq Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda were far from friends, they could become allies in the future and therefore that could serve as a rationale for the invasion.

What Friedman has done here and what he does throughout the book is interpret events in ways that are consistent with his overall message which is one of amoral, rational and Machiavellian nation states acting in accordance with their individual national interests when in fact the actual heads of states and their advisors who do the actual acting often behave in irrational and self-defeating ways, which is what happened to the US during the George W. Bush administration—which is something that Friedman freely acknowledges elsewhere in the book, especially in Chapter 5 appropriately entitled “The Terrorist Trap.” Friedman points out that by waging a misdirected and unwinnable war against “a type of warfare” this became a trap that Bush fell into and one that Friedman is warning Obama not to fall into.

Incidentally, part of what Friedman is about in this book is to give advice from his Machiavellian stage to President Obama and presidents (or princes!) to come and/or to their advisors. In this self-appointed capacity I think George Friedman is eminently qualified as long as one balances his “real politic” view of presidential options and strategies with the realities of each individual situation. Basically what Friedman is saying is that regardless of what a nation state does we must infer that it is acting rationally in its own interests and that presidents must realize that they have to lie to their constituencies and be prepared to do brutal and even horrendous things in the pursuit of the national interest, and in fact any other behavior is dereliction of duty.

As for the rest of the book it is also very interesting, and I wish I had the space to go into it. Bottom line: worth reading and thinking about.

—Dennis Littrell, author of “The World Is Not as We Think It Is”
Hardcover Less interesting, more repetitive compared to his previous books Hardcover I am glad to have found this author who is a very insightful foreign policy thinker. He looks at foreign policy through Machiavellian spectacles and examines the forces that will shape the world going forward and gives interesting directives for the would-be President of the United States in exerting power around the world while maneuvering through national political discussions.

The book starts with a short history primer and notes the current political realities. It then assesses each geographical region and gives a risk/assessment/plan prescription in much the same way that a physician might make a SOAP (subjective and Objective info, Assessment, Plan) write-up on a patient. For example, He recommends strengthening Poland to be the bone-in-the-throat between a Germany and Russian alliance, strengthening ties with Australia to counterbalance in Asia, doing nothing in Africa because Africa is irrelevant in modern geopolitics, doing nothing about immigration, and nothing to help correct the drug war in Mexico while giving the appearance of working to solve both, etc. There is an interesting discussion about the current financial crisis in the EU countries that raise implications for renewed nationalistic conflagrations (e.g., how Greece benefits from the EU, but is paralyzed economically because they have no sovereign currency to be either closely control monetary policy or suffer the gradual consequences from bad economic policies).

There are little nuggets here about China's political and economic balance and the outlook for their continued growth and instability, how the blocking of the Strait of Hormunz might affect Japan, and the importance of the U.S. Navy even in this modern era of sophisticated satellite and aeronautical power. It was interesting to hear that Great Britain--once the world's preeminent power has just recently retired it's only aircraft carrier, and the role that Latin America (esp. Brazil) will play in the future. It's well worth the read for anybody interested in world geography, economics and politics. Hardcover While the work already feels somewhat dated, there are nonetheless lots of useful observations about the near past that can inform us about the near future. Hardcover