What are we to do with a book like this? The Next 100 Years is a book devoted to geopolitical fantasies in which the United States remains the world’s sole superpower, far exceeding the rest of the world in any sort of military endeavour. This is a view from atop the American throne and does not take kindly to other powers, former or future. George Friedman is logical in his rationale for why the US inherited the mantle of superpower and his foundations are firm for the most part. Control of the seas, an ability to project power anywhere in Earth, continuous unabated surveillance by invisible eyes in the sky, these all exist today. So what about the oft-touted China, or a resurgence in Russian might? All these are discussed and found wanting. Friedman nominates Japan, Poland and Turkey to be the trio to watch over the next century. Triangulating the vast Eurasian landmass between them and roughly representative of all major ethnic groups, these three will fight each other and the US at the same time.
Friedman does go into territory some of us might consider risible at times. Talk of a lunar base cryptically functioning as a Japanese launchpad for satellite destroyers robs the book of not a little credibility at times. However, if you’re into geopolitics and historical discussions, this book might fascinate you. You’ll find overly simplified explanations of major wars and regional enclaves, but I suspect that’s more because Friedman wanted to get to the matter at hand rather than a lack of historical knowledge. Everything is toned down so that you may absorb the big picture. Comparing the US of A to an angsty teenager who is just about to hit his stride as a mature adult in the coming century, Friedman paints a picture in which the USA escapes many of the pitfalls befalling other industrialized nations, while uniquely capitalizing on other opportunities available to it.
Verdict: an interesting read, some minor errors might irk you, but on the whole, quite good.