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on 11 January 2010
A great escapist book that really does make you sit back and think. Yes, the cynic within me was in full flow when I read the abstract, but what Friedman does very well is place the past 100 years in context within the first chapter. This does bring a sobering reality to how the world could look in the next century and clearly shows that some of this will be out of our control. Japan attacking the US space station with meteors fired from the moon, the re-emergence of the Turkish Empire and the threat of war on the Mexico/US border! It all makes compelling reading.
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on 26 December 2012
George Friedman refers to the underlying principles of this book, as "geopolitics does not take the individual leader very seriously any more than economics takes the individual businessman too seriously". "Their actions are determined by circumstances." He further supports this view by reference to the "invisible hand" from Adam Smith. "Geopolitics applies the concept of the invisible hand to the behavior of nations and other international actors, based on "The pursuit of short-term self interests by their leaders." With this as his basic beliefs the author describes what will happen in the next hundred years.
The book describes the process as it moved forward in time. It is easier to summarize going back from the end of the war in 2050. The US policy is assumed to be that it does not accept two powers of similar size to its own in the Euro-Asia area. Two powers through their expansion were on the way to become such powers, Japan and Turkey. It is assumed that Turkey and Japan agree to attack the USA. The USA in alliance with the UK, China and Poland defeats Japan and Turkey and after that rules the world as it imposes on the other countries their exclusive right to control space leading to a golden decade for the USA.
The main events leading up to the war is Russia that tries to expand its territory regaining the territories they lost when the USSR collapsed. They are opposed by Poland supported by the USA and the Soviet Union collapses. Poland occupies a large part of Russia including Petersburg. Turkey takes control of several of the Central Asian States and invades Russia from the South. Germany in the battle of 2050 fears the power of Poland. They therefore attack Poland from the West and and Turkey attacks Poland from the south. The Poles retreat but America and the UK support the Poles leading to the defeat of Germany and Poland. Friedman writes, "This represented the eclipse of Atlantic Europe that started in 1945 and would be complete in the 2050's.
In Asia, Japan succeeded in gaining economic control over several coastal regions of China. because the Chinese living there preferred the investments from Japan over control by Beijing, Japan is totally dependent on oil and minerals transported by sea and decides to attack the USA to abolish their control over the seas. The USA together with whatever power was still in Beijing and South Korea defeat Japan.
The problems Friedman refers to are real. Russia, Japan and Turkey have been empires and there are groups that resent the loss. Zbiginiev Brzezinski in his book "Strategic Vision". "America and the Crisis of Global Power" deals with the same subject. His conclusions are the opposite, in principle and in application. He believes that leaders of countries have influence and are motivated by more than their own short-term interest. His recommendations are that the USA should actively encourage reconciliation between Japan and China and between Poland and Russia. His view is that the USA should help strengthen the European Union and support Turkey in its efforts to join and with a longer-term goal for Russia to join too. The Grand Scheme is a Western alliance of the US and an enlarged European Union. Such a group can guarantee the security of its members and no Asian development could become a threat. On the contrary, the Western Alliance could help Asian countries in avoiding violet actions between them.
The "Next Hundred Years merits five stars for presenting interesting thinking about real risks but as its conclusions are not soundly based I awarded only one star.
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on 14 September 2009
An interesting read, from someone who is obviously Pro-American. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but the author is far too optimist about America's future. He mentions that America's vast industrial capacity will enable it to win future wars. What industrial capacity? At present, the Americans have outsourced most of their industry to Mexico and China.
As for his predictions about Europe, he ignores that fact that Muslim immigration, combined with a negative birth rate of Europeans, will result in Europe becoming an Islamic entity, possibly as soon as the year 2050. This will spell disaster for the United States, which is the only nation that supports Israel.
His premise that America's future conflicts will be about mineral rights is way off base; America's future conflicts will be over it's unilateral support of the State of Israel.
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on 6 January 2014
Fascinating, informative, well constructed and argued. Of course, no-one knows precisely what will happen in the future but this all rings true. Friedman has the USA dominating the 21st century but would anyone bet against that?

Whether any of this comes to pass or not, this is a brilliant read, highly recommended for the open-minded reader.
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on 1 September 2013
I like the book - but Freidman misses the importance of the Renaissance in Europe and its role in driving the global domination of European powers from that period on. Instead he places too much emphasis on geography, which is mostly nonsense. If he can't get the past right I unsure about his views on the future. However, it's a fun read and there's some nice insights along the way.
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on 14 July 2013
Its rather heavy going and towards the end develops into a Star Wars scenario which in the time scale, is fanciful
However the early pars makes sense though as it was published about a couple of years ago some of the predictions have not come to pass

Its worth a read but I would not rush to buy it.
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on 5 January 2011
The author repeatedly makes the mistake of respectively elevating his understanding of the world outside of the US to unbearable levels, and at the same contradicting himself in lack of even the slightest scientific validation of his postulates. And this comes across already in the so called historical part of the book which by definition shouldn't be speculative as opposed to the rest of the book which could be permissible pure and interesting speculations.

Alone one fact that the author hugely treats each and every country's current and easily foreseeable demographic and political setup / shifts with blatant disregard, leaves the reader with the feeling that the author has no idea what is going on outside the US - or for that matter in the US.

It is hugely irritating to pick up a book with such an interesting title just to realize that the author is standing on his own little personal bigoted soapbox.

So, had the author made the least effort not to constantly hammer the poorly argumented opinion home that the US is the greatest in nearly every sense would have made the book more believable.
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on 29 December 2013
Good service from Amazon.

Book review: entertaining writing, but somewhat a talk up for Americans - what the author did not seem to forecast was/is the rise of China... which is a major flaw in such a forecast!
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on 2 July 2014
This was recommended to me by an economist friend and it did not disappoint.
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on 14 March 2010
Very provocative and obviously Americocentric. I have reservations about much of it, especially the dismissal of many of today's major issues as 'trivial'. It seems to be a reiteration of the 'Europe is dead, long live America' outlook, I think, and one that is stated so often in the book that I suspect the author is trying to convince himself. Isn't this called hubris? Nevertheless, it is a valuable catalyst to get one thinking (and arguing) - and that can't be a bad thing.
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