The Next 100 Years (Book Review)

Tue Feb 2, 2010 9:25:23 am by Dustin
Filed under Book Review, Defending the Flag, General

Full Title: The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century by George Friedman
ISBN: 978-0-385-51705-8
Get it cheap.

Summary: This book projects the economical and geopolitical future of the next 100 years. Friedman’s goal is demonstrate who will dominate this realm and where the USA will fit into the picture.

Domination in this area comes down to who will control world trade. Achieving trade supremacy can happen in two ways: 1) being so impeccably awesome everybody needs to trade with you (unlikely to be sustainable in the short or long terms) or 2) control the world oceans militarily and thus pressuring other countries (very possible).

A world power needs control over the Pacific and the Atlantic. The other oceans will fall into place thereafter. Both oceans must be controlled, otherwise the said state only has regional power. Think Japan in the Pacific or Britain in the Atlantic before World War II.

Additionally, no state or combination of states will be able to dominate these oceans without physical borders on both oceans. Not just ports here. The nation need to border these waters. This is not only to launch new ships but to deploy armies, participate in trade, and transfer goods by land from one ocean to the other.

The US is currently in this position. The US Navy is larger than all other navies combined. It controls world trade. Its navy can be used to pressure foreign policy.

If a country were to challenge the US’s dominance, it would need to obviously challenge the US Navy. The key to navy dominance starts will land dominance. Friedman spends most of the book explaining how events in Eurasia will play out as countries either unite or invade to have shores on both oceans or increase their resources. Couple the need to expand their boundaries with the US’s history of keeping unstable regions remain unstable and no true leader will emerge. If these regions are continually unstable, they cannot further stabilize themselves and unite with their neighbors, building even larger controls. Germany and Afghanistan are good examples here. Afghanistan was part of the Ottoman Empire in our recent history. A power like that could put pressure on the US.

So the question arises, if Eurasia cannot unite, who in North America can catch up to America?

What I thought: I found this book interesting but not amazing. I would suggest it to others though. I already have plans to loan it to a friend. At times, it was a bit science fiction like, but it is a projection. Satellite producing solar power and sending electromagnetic waves to power stations on land…

  1. Jeff

    What about the possibility of one country taking power through an international organization and using a global tax system? I could see the UN trying to pass a global tax on carbon/pollution…

  2. Dustin

    Good point Jeff. Friedman uses NATO and the EU as examples. If some multinational governance starts to get involved, he argues political negotiations only go so far, but with a navy fleet off your shores, you are bound to vote in a persuaded way.

    But yes, good example.