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It imagines passing clouds to be permanent and is blind to powerful, long-term shifts taking place in full view of the world. George Friedman In his long-awaited and provocative new book, George Friedman turns his eye on the futureoffering a lucid, highly readable forecast of the changes we can expect around the world during the twenty-first century. Friedman shows that we are now, for the first time in half a millennium, at the dawn of a new erawith changes in store, including: The U. 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 Years presents a fascinating picture of what lies ahead. For continual, updated analysis and supplemental material, go to www. They arent even guaranteed to be competent and, in countries dominated by special interests -like the US- history provides more than a few examples of governments working against the general welfare.

He asserts that this causes a disconnect between the interior and the coastal, industrial areas a historical problem in China and may lead to fragmentation in the next couple of decades due to divergent interests in the country coupled with a weakening central ideology. As this happens and Turkey comes closer to reclaiming the historical economic and military power of the old Ottoman Empire, it will shift away from the US sphere of influence while most countries in the Middle East will set aside their antipathy for the Turks and will begin to align with them.

From here, he explains the context of the Osettian war with Russia, as well as Russian security concerns the plain running through northern Europe to St. Petersburg, the historical avenue of attack for European invaders and their interests in Eastern Europe. I recommend this book for the historical background and for its current appraisal of whats making the major players around the world tick. Most of the time he picks and chooses what specific world events to highlight to 'prove' his geopolitical forecast.

I kept thinking of other events he ignored. What it comes down to is, it's all his opinion, and since he picks and chooses what history we should look at to prove his points, his forecasts are built on sticks and cards. I think the country has discovered what prosperity can be had by choosing not to have to build a military-industrial complex.

He talks some convincing shit about history and what we can extrapolate from history in order to better understand what the future might hold. Friedman's "geopolitics" - as a kind of Greek or Shakespearean tragedy where the actors are not in control of themselves and even smart characters cannot help succumbing to the logic of their situation-is kind of an affront to the work of peace researchers, political scientists, and policy wonks of different varieties who try to prescribe solutions like doctors.

As Friedman points out again and again: "One interesting facet of geopolitics is this: there are no permanent solutions to geopolitical problems. Imagine if it was on the wall of the State Department. I actually think the theory behind the book and the journey he takes us through is the most important part of the book - not the specific details of the forecast which are sure to be wrong in more than a number of ways. Key points from that book: most forecasters are charlatans; predication is a liberal art; the things one doesn't know are as important as the things one knows.

So, does Friedman understand that he is a charlatan, involved in a kind of quackery? I think he does. It's hard to be quack if you know you're a quack. I think he lays out a vision of geopolitics that is straightforward, but that is well-qualified. I think he is also pretty clear that he expects to be wrong in a number of ways. He also acknowledges that practical leaders tend to focus on the short-term problems - as they should.

Does Friedman know that predication is a liberal art?

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The answer is a resounding yes! Does Friedman understand the value of the things he doesn't know? Yes again!


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So here we have a harmless piece of engaging quackery. But to gain five stars, the book should be more than that, shouldn't it? I think the book does go beyond merely the engaging and entertaining for one reason - it teaches us through practice not to take the future for granted and to expect the unexpected.

The Next Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century

As far as quackery goes - one based in history, geography, the liberal arts, and the things one doesn't know - this quackery seems to me highly advanced. I'm not sure! I'll have to give it another read. It also throws out a challenge to other International Relations scholars - don't forget the enduring realities of geopolitics.

A book based on predicting the next 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.


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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. 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.

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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. 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. Here at Walmart. Your email address will never be sold or distributed to a third party for any reason. This book is a New York Times Bestseller. It imagines passing clouds to be permanent and is blind to powerful, long-terms shifts taking place in full view of the world' - George Friedman.

In his long-awaited and provocative new 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.