Some of you might remember a few month ago I posted my review of George Friedman’s 2010 book The Next Decade. This time I would like to spotlight his previous book, The Next 100 years: A Forecast for the 21st Century. Published in 2009, Friedman’s book is a bold, imaginative yet surprisingly plausible attempt to predict how the next 100 years will enfold. After finishing his book early this morning I’m happy to report that not only did I enjoy reading Friedman’s The Next Hundred Years but I even liked it a bit more than his 2010 book The Next Decade.
Just like he did in The Next Decade, in this book Friedman looks beyond factors as political ideology to predict how nations will behave in the future and instead focuses on more concrete determinants such as natural resources, population cycles and geography. Also like he did in The Next Decade, Friedman sees the United States as the century’s dominant superpower and over the next 100 years will take whatever steps necessary whether it be promoting alliances, providing military assistance/technology or allowing favorable trade conditions to ensure that no single nation or team of nations will dominate Eurasia. In Friedman’s future some powers will decline, (China and after a brief resurgence as a commodities exporter, Russia); some will rise to major power status (Japan, Turkey and one that will be a surprise to all, Poland); and some like Mexico and to a degree India will grow into signficant regional powers. Of course this will lead to cold wars, hot wars and everything in between.
Even though this book was written a few years before his recent book The Next Decade, I think I liked this one better. Maybe being a book about the next hundred years as opposed to the next decade made it more interesting, but who knows. Of course, in his book even Friedman freely admits that no expert, no matter how gifted in the arts of prophesy can successfully predict everything. Just remember, Friedman’s first best-seller was a 1992 book entitled The Coming War With Japan. So I guess nobody can be perfect when it comes to predicting the future.